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Driving an idea from concept to product

16 July, 2014

“You have an idea for a business, it does not need to be a mind-blowing innovation; it just needs to solve a problem you understand well”. Yiannis Gavrielides, a Cypriot entrepreneur, was working as a Consultant for a large corporation in London when he realized that one of his colleagues spent valuable time looking for a “warm” contact at a potential client to pitch to, without knowing that Yiannis already knew a senior person that could open the door. Yiannis found a problem and an idea on how to solve it. “Bounce your idea off friends, build a group of people that can help you deliver it, create a business plan, find capital, and ask for lots of help along the way; get out of your comfort zone, be decisive, well planned and determined” Yiannis advises.

Together with his partner, Alex Protogerellis, they founded Covve, an online application that reinvents the professional address book; it empowers contact owners and enables companies to extract business value from their informal contact network. Through a highly intuitive interface for contact network visualisation, Covve enables the professional to better understand the reach and power of their address book. It then extends this reach through a company-wide, anonymous view of colleagues’ contacts; and because no-one’s address book is perfect, Covve’s innovative tools make sure it is always as complete and up to date as possible. Recognising the sensitivity of the personal address book, Covve was designed with privacy and data protection as a top priority.

Covve comprises of a team of diverse, highly qualified and driven individuals who bring collective experience across geographies and across sectors including strategy and technology consulting, deep technical delivery, UI and UX design, management and entrepreneurship. The product has been designed for and was tested by professionals. After a successful alpha release in a law firm, Covve is being publicly launched this month.

Covve received structural EU funds and support, now provided within the framework of Startup Europe, the European Commission Digital Agenda action plan, supported by Vice President Neelie Kroes. The team also secured investments through an early stage venture fund, DataElite, backed by big Silicon Valley investors and leading technology advisors, and other private investors with relevant experience and strong professional networks.

Yiannis points out that we are experiencing a new industrial revolution, where the dissemination of knowledge, the dissolution of national barriers, and the significantly lower capital expenses in starting up, allow for smart, driven individuals to become part of the revolution and drive change. “The appetite for investment in startups is high and so are government grants aiming to boost innovation and entrepreneurship. All these leave few excuses not to consider entrepreneurship in technology” he adds. If you have an innovative ICT/web idea and you are interested in entrepreneurship in Cyprus, Yiannis and another Cypriot entrepreneur and investor Theo Middleton can help you get started. Together, they founded Invelopment Partners, a Cypriot company through which they partner and invest in young talented individuals helping them to set up businesses. Information can be found at www.invelopmentpartners.com
For further information on Covve please visit www.covve.com | www.facebook.com/covve | @covveapp  

Other options that can get you started in entrepreneurship in Cyprus include:
- Benefit from a funding like the European Commission funding for SMEs under Horizon2020. The European Commission is hand-picking potentially disruptive businesses to invest and support as part of the SME Instrument. Your business could receive up to €3 million in funding, and world-class business support and mentorship. In total, more than € 2.8 billion will be allocated for the SME instrument from 2014 to 2020. Apply today: http://ec.europa.eu/easme/sme_en.htm
- If you have a clean tech idea, apply now for Europe’s largest business idea competition CleanLaunchpad Competition (www.cleanlaunchpad.eu/)
- Contact one of the organisations in the local startup community: Cyprus Business Angels Networks (http://cyban.com.cy/), Cypriot Enterprise Link (http://www.projectcel.com/), Chrysalis LEAP (http://chrysalisleap.com/), Repower Cyprus (http://www.repowercyprus.com/)

The Startup Europe Initiative is the European Commission action plan to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs in Europe and contribute to innovation, growth and jobs. This initiative contains a wide range of activities to support European web entrepreneurs.