Since Reload Greece was founded back in 2012, our community of entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, partners and volunteers have never ceased to motivate and inspire us. The dedication of our volunteers has been particularly invaluable in helping to build and scale the organisation and the power of community has always been clear. When founding Reload Greece, our key aim was to build a community of like-minded people and to create meaningful opportunities to enable members to gain strong mentorship, learn from each other, network and be inspired by a diversity of ideas, knowledge and experiences. Bringing like-minded people together has built a strong RG support network. It has been amazing to see so many lasting connections, collaborations and friendships being formed and being able to follow the entrepreneurial journeys of our community members is especially inspiring. We love hearing the personal stories of our community members and in our latest blog we’re catching up with one of our longest serving volunteers Aris Mastorakis.
Building a Startup Remotely
During the covid crisis, Aris, now based in Greece, has created a fintech startup with his co-founder David, who is based in Tel Aviv. Due to the crisis, the two Co-Founders have never actually met but with an entrepreneurial spirit, common values and the power of remote teamwork, they launched their startup Darian in March 2021.
Making a Difference as a Long Term RG Volunteer
Aris joined the RG community back in 2012 when we were holding our first ever conference. Aris said: “In early 2012 I was living and working in London and I had the luck to participate in the very first RG conference. It was so inspiring to see a group of young people with this vision from the very beginning to bring together young entrepreneurs from the diaspora and support them in growing and making a real impact to their community and country. Something very promising had just been born.”
Towards the end of 2012, against the ‘brain drain’ phenomenon, Aris left the UK to return to Greece to work and then in late 2015 he returned to live in London. “I was so eager to meet the whole RG family and get involved as I could totally empathise with the vision and was inspired by it. I felt that it was my duty as a Greek having spent so many years in the UK, away from friends and family and to support by any means the mission and have a true impact along the way.”
In early 2016 Aris joined the RG team as a part time volunteer supporting on various operational tasks. “Within the first months, along with 3 others (Anthony Danon, Kalliopi Baratsis and Savvas Akritidis), we formed the ‘investor relations’ team under the close supervision of RG CEO Effie Kyrtata, to identify ideal investors that could be interested in investing in the finalists of the RG Challenge programmes. The knowledge sharing between us was enormous and we could all see we had a positive impact on the rest of the team. I personally felt able to freely share my experiences and also be able to gain valuable lessons from the other team members.”
In 2018 Aris became a RG Buddy for 3 finalist startup teams in the RG YEP pre-accelerator programme. “One of my teams – Racecheck – and with great mentorship from their dedicated mentor Angelos Baxevanis, ended up winning the top Rising Star Award and the startup is still growing substantially! I’m so glad for Alexandros and Katerina Tanti for their hard work of turning a bright idea into a viable business! ”
Aris also assisted in the preparation and organisation of the RG Connect18 and RG Connect19 conferences, making intro speeches and looking after guest speakers. “As with all other active RG volunteers, despite our daily working schedules, when it came to RG activities and meet-ups we had unlimited reserves of energy and love to support in any way. The RG team was a second family for most and for myself personally.”
In May 2018, while Aris was working as a Finance Manager at Revolut (the unicorn digital bank), he gave a speech to 50+ people at a RG Challenge event. Aris spoke about his involvement in the Revolut team (that had grown from 60 to 1000 employees in the London HQ offices in just under two years) and the company’s growth plans. “My aim was to pass on the knowledge I had acquired so far to other aspiring entrepreneurs, so I talked about the challenges and learning opportunities to be working in such a high growth team and about the ‘get shit done’ mindset that any ambitious young entrepreneur should have.”
A Calling into Entrepreneurship
Fast forward to June 2020, Aris was living in London and after almost 3 years working at Revolut, he was looking for a new challenge and he was keen to follow an entrepreneurial path. Aris came into contact with his co-founder David through mutual friends. David, a Startup CFO with a passion for fintech was living in Tel Aviv and after several calls the pair decided to start researching and collaborating with an aim to launching a startup to help companies source the best financial software technology.
Starting a company remotely with someone you’ve never actually met was in many ways a leap of faith but with an entrepreneurial mindset they worked hard to make it work and their French and Greek origins helped them to build a very European vision of tech. In September 2020, just before the second lockdowns in Israel and Europe, Aris flew from London to Athens and they continued to explore the fintech industry, making connections and completing two remote startup acceleration programmes. Aris and David have still never met physically, mainly due to the travel restrictions, but with a strong motivation to create a company, they launched Darian Fintech in March 2021.
Aris says: “I can say with certainty that every single step in my professional career, including my involvement in the RG community, has equipped me with valuable knowledge and skills but above all confidence in myself to try out new things! There is never a perfect timing for when to follow your entrepreneurial ambitions. For me it came in the midst of the first lockdown in early 2020 when I was introduced to my current business partner David and we started forming what is now Darian Fintech. Darian operates in the fintech space, supporting startup founders and finance professionals to choose the right fintech tools based on their current needs, resources and future plans. We know we are still at the beginning of this journey and despite the challenges of operating completely remotely and building a business from scratch, we are certain that by trusting each other and listening to the various stakeholders we will be able to provide value and have a real impact in the fintech world, similarly to the significant impact that RG is having on young entrepreneurs and its community!”
Thank you to Aris for sharing his inspirational story. It’s so encouraging to hear the entrepreneurial story of one of Reload Greece’s longest standing volunteers and to see how Aris’s involvement in the RG community helped to inspire him to launch his own startup. We wish Aris and David all the best in the next step of their exciting journey and we look forward to seeing the first photo of when they finally meet face to face! To hear more about Darian click here, to contact Aris direct click here and to join the RG community, please follow the Reload Greece LinkedIn page.