Startup Weekend Volos: Soft drinks and juice Industry EPSA from generation to generation since 1924!!!


«Delicious» EPSA

An extraordinary lemon epic, a German and his secret recipe, form the myth which accompanies the magic history of Volos soft drinks and juice industry EPSA from generation to generation since 1924.

In 2011 EPSA innovates again and creates the first Greek organic soft drinks, “EPSA organic carbonated orangeade” and “EPSA organic carbonated lemonade”. Our EPSA BIO which are produced at Agria by certified organic lemon and orange juice and certified organic sugar, will certainly satisfy even the most demanding consumers. For the new organic soft drinks the classical EPSA glass bottle is “dressed” in an elegant sleeve. The engraved rhombus of the bottle reveals after ripping a paper bag like the ones that are still used for fresh fruits packaging to traditional greengrocers. Through this finding is revealed that the new EPSA BIO soft drinks are so close to nature that draw inspiration from real life.

A few years ago, EPSA put first in the market the light soft drinks with sweetener from the stevia plant instead of sugar, lemonade and orangeade and some time later light ice tea with stevia in two flavors green tea with pomegranate – sour cherry and rooibos tea cranberry – aronia – goji berry.
The company which has become synonymous to its product, which visitors of Pelion brought in Athens as a gift to their friends, carrying boxes along with their luggage in their cars, remains a traditional family business, ‘built’ on solid foundation of the secret recipe’s myth of the German chemical engineer Otto and the high quality in which we insist, no matter the cost.


The «savoury» EPSA, makes its way in history with continuous success. The result of the accumulated experience from all these years is the natural, traditional quality, which only EPSA’s soft drinks and juices offer to the consumers.
Our factory is wonderful. It has intensely traditional style and it gives a sense of harmony as old and new coexist in a splendidly shaped space. Located in Agria, a very nice village, only 15 minutes by car from Volos.

When ever you are nearby make a call and drop by. You are most Welcome.

Arrange a tour by appointment for groups contacting our secretary +30 24280 91901.

Startup Weekend Volos: Demitrios Pournarakis as a Mentor


Demitrios is the head of product design and a co-founder of
nimbata (, an enterprise analytics company
specializing in call tracking and voice applications on the cloud.
He has previous 5 year working experience in the private sector
as an IT consultant at IBM, while currently being a Research
Associate at the Athens University of Economics and Business, ISTLab.
He holds a BSc in Business Administration from AUEB, an MSc in Information Systems
from City University London and an iMBA from AUEB and is currently in the 2nd year of
his PhD at AUEB, specializing on Brand Equity and Social Network Analysis.
Open to discussion on Web Design (HTML, CSS, Inkscape), Data Analysis (SQL, R),
Digital Marketing, Product Branding and Social Network Science.


Startup Weekend Volos: Michael Tsaoutos as a Judge

michael tsaoutos


General Manager at EPSA S.A.

Michael Tsaoutos was born in 1965 and grew up in Volos. He lives in Athens with his wife and three daughters. He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering & Computer Engineering from National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and was awarded a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Warwick Business School.

Since 2010 he is the General Manager of EPSA Soft Drinks. EPSA produces soft drinks since 1924 and its products are available all over Greece. Exports are building up and currently EPSA exports to 15 countries, including Australia, China and USA. During the last few years EPSA introduced innovative products into the market, namely Organic Lemonade and Orangeade and the “EPSA light” series, where sugar is replaced by sweetener from the stevia plant. 

Before EPSA, Michael had worked for more than two decades in Lambrakis Press. He started in 1988 as a Technology Editor for Apple products in RAM magazine. Later he became Editorial Editor for BHMARAM newspaper insert, for bit magazine and inLife magazine. He was a member of the team that started portal and organized all paid subscriptions of From 2003 until 2010 he became General Manager of (Lambrakis Press’ e-commerce site). Until recently he worked as a technology consultant for RAM and HiTECH magazines. When time permits, he still plays around with various Apple devices.

He was a member of the Greek national ski team, Greek national water ski team and represented Greece in Camel Trophy 2000 and Land Rover G4 Challenge. For the last few years he enjoys running long distance races and participating in triathlon competitions.

The World's Best Places To Launch Your Startup (Infographic)

Sure, Silicon Valley may be the first place that comes to mind when you think about startups, but is that really still the prime location to launch a startup these days?

Probably not. In fact, entrepreneurs would fare better with Bangalore, India or Boulder, Colorado or Seattle, Washington as the home base for their newest ventures. Check out the latest infographic from the WhoIsHostingThis team for the reasons why, and the full list of other cities that should be considered when launching a startup.

UP Global, Startup Weekend

The Pivot and The Top 20 Startups of All Time (Infographic)

An awful lot of successful technology companies ended up being in a slightly different market than they started out in. —Marc Andreessen, serial entrepreneur

The above quote reflects a theme that emerged through the research project we just completed at Verge®. We sorted through more than 900,000 companies that could have been considered a startup at one point in time to create a list of The Top 20 Startups of All Time. There are a few possible surprises on the list, and a couple you may not even recognize. But if you know your startup history, you’ll pick up on something that all of these companies execute very well—The Pivot.

As you look through the data in the infographic below, pay attention to what each startup originally become famous for and then think about what they’re doing now. Amazon is beyond being an online bookstore and Apple much more complex than a home computer company. It’s something you see in businesses across the spectrum, from venture-backed startups to startups launching at a Startup Weekend.

Which startups below do you think pulled off The Pivot the best? What startups not named on this list have pivoted better than others?

The Pivot and The Top 20 Startups of All Time, INFOGRAPHIC:


5 of the Best Tech Companies to Work For in the World

When employer-review website Glassdoor rated the top 50 places to work for, technology companies made up almost half the list. It’s clear that the IT sector does it better, with a focus on work-life balance and plenty of employee perks.

The Glassdoor team on Halloween. Costumes are definitely an important part of company culture.
The Glassdoor team on Halloween. Costumes are definitely an important part of company culture.


But which tech companies are leading the way?

1. Twitter: Microblogging Platform Outranks the Rest

Microblogging social media platform Twitter came out on top of the tech heap in Glassdoor’s 2014 rankings with an enviable rating of 4.6 out of 5. No wonder its employees are so happy; its San Francisco headquarters seems more like a luxury resort than an office space with its yoga studio, rooftop garden, and arcade parlour. It also doesn’t hurt that its software engineers are amongst the best paid in the United States. They typically make $142,863 annually, which is $50k more than the national average.

Twitter isn’t run by a faceless board either. Company chief executive officer Dick Costolo is particularly popular, with an approval rating of 96 percent.

“Twitter is an exceptionally transparent place,” one Twitter director told Glassdoor. “Senior team sets that bar very high. Also, we are charting our own course – not copying the playbook set out by other companies.”

2. Grafix Softech: Interactive Workplace Values Employee Contributions

Indian-born businessman Tej Kohli was an e-commerce pioneer when he founded his first company, Grafix Softech, in Costa Rica in 1998. Creating secure e-payment solutions continues to be the company’s focus, although it’s expanded its operations to provide more comprehensive business services including creative marketing campaigns and search engine optimization from its offices around the world.

Grafix Softech’s diverse interests present exciting challenges for its employees, but it’s Tej Kohli himself that makes working for this global tech company so appealing. Despite having many business interests, he continues to take an active role in his premiere company. He looks beyond credentials and evaluates potential employees on their personal strengths. He believes that nurturing his workforce’s talents is the secret to business success, so he takes the time to listen to his employees, communicate with them, and reward them for outstanding performance.

This personalized approach makes Grafix Softech workers feel more valued and happier than many others in the industry. No wonder the majority of Grafix Softech employees have worked for the company for at least a decade, much more than the average 5.4 years that most Americans spend in any one position.

3. Riot Games: Popular CEO Heads Leading Games Firm

If computer games are your passion, a position at Riot Games should be at the top of your wish list. Its standards are high, but if you can keep up you’ll embrace the opportunity to learn and grow under beloved CEO Brandon Beck. He is so well-regarded that he has a virtually unheard of approval rating of 100 percent.

Beck’s popularity may have something to do with the enviable workspace he’s created for his valued employees. It includes a fully stocked kitchen and bright office space to maximize productivity. Riot Games also strives to offer a good work-life balance to its employees who enjoy flexible working hours.

All these benefits led one employee to comment on Glassdoor, stating “Everyone here is immensely passionate about what they do, and if you aren’t learning something every day, you must be in the wrong office. The company takes ridiculously good care of us, and tries every step of the way to make sure we’re engaged culturally, intellectually and socially with the industry and each other. It’s by far the best place I’ve ever worked.”

4. Google: Setting the Standard

Google has always been regarded as one of the best tech companies to work for. The world’s largest Internet search engine and the creator of the Android mobile platform has featured prominently on Glassdoor’s list for the last six years. Business networking website LinkedIn also names Google the world’s most in demand employer.

The standards are high but employees who meet them are rewarded with plenty of perks. There are more than 15 cafes on the main campus in Mountain View alone, and all snacks, drinks, and meals are provided free of charge.

Workers also enjoy complimentary onsite haircuts and the use of laundry and gym facilities. If the stress of the job ever becomes too much, employees can unwind with video games, table soccer, and ping pong.

Anyone serious about their craft will appreciate the opportunities to learn at Google just as much as the enticing extras. “The older teams, such as infrastructure and apps have people who can teach you more in an hour than you learn many places in your entire tenure,” one Google software engineer posted at Glassdoor. Its innovative 20 percent time program also gives employees the chance to balance their regular tasks with fulfilling work on special pet projects.

5. Atlassian Software Systems: Paving the Way Down Under

Atlassian Software Systems might not be an international household name, but tech workers around the world hold this Australian company in high esteem. In 2013, leading Australian business magazine BRW named the local tech company the second best place to work in Oz. It was also the top information technology firm on the prestigious list.

The Atlassian team has developed software for some of the world’s leading companies including Facebook, Netflix, eBay, and Twitter. Workers at its Sydney, San Francisco, and Amsterdam offices are encouraged to “build with heart and balance” and “play as a team.” Those employees who go the extra mile are rewarded for their efforts with Kudos in the form of gift certificates to Amazon, iTunes, and local retailers.

All “Atlassians” enjoy plenty of perks including five paid days off a year for charity work, study programs, and a 20 percent pet project scheme similar to Google’s initiative. All Atlassian offices also offer on-site yoga classes, bike facilities, Xbox consoles and billiards tables, and fully stocked kitchens. A good work-life balance and a long-term commitment to the company is encouraged with employees receiving a paid trip, to the value of $3,000 for Aussies and Americans and 2,300 euro for Dutch employees, after five years’ service.

A career with one of these innovative, employee-focused tech companies will deliver the security you need with the job satisfaction you’ve always hoped for.


The Telephone: Lessons on marketing something that’s never been marketed before

One of the most exciting aspect of starting a new company is taking on the challenge carving out a niche for a something that may not even have a market yet. But, then this leaves the question of how do you market something that’s never been marketed before?

There are the obvious first steps that any business student has memorized; identifying who your customers are and the role that this service and/or product can provide for them. These first two steps are important because if you can correctly identify these elements, then your marketing strategy can almost write itself. If your strategy is a success, then people will find out about your new company, they’ll buy whatever it is you’re selling and you’ll live happily ever after as the founder of a successful start up.

But, what if things don’t work out that way?

What if you were wrong about aspects of your marketing strategy? It’s ok, you can actually benefit from this!

Some of the most popular products in the world started out as some the worst marketing disasters in history. One such notable disasters was the telephone.

Startup Weekend

After Alexander Grahm Bell first patented the telephone in 1876, it was introduced to the public as a replacement  for the telegram and marketed solely for purpose of business communications. The telephone that many of us remember, the one that was used to gossip with friends or  call grandma was not in the original marketing strategy. Early advertisements even went as far as to portray using the telephone for socializing as frivolous and inappropriate.

Startup weekend

Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend

The early marketers telephone did an excellent job sticking strictly to their marketing strategy, so much so that they slowed the growth of their own product. It wasn’t until the late 1920’s, that marketers started to realize the potential in encouraging the social aspects the telephone.

Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend

It was this unintended social use that brought the telephone to almost every home in the Western world. This didn’t happen because marketers thought it was a good idea, this happened because thats how people had been using the telephone all along. It just took marketers nearly 50 years to catch on.

So what can be learned from the mistakes of the telephone? Be prepared for things not to go according to plan and be ready to adapt. Marketing new products should not be looked at in just terms of  failure vs success, but as a process. As important as it is to have a marketing strategy it is just as important to have an open mind and be able to grow with new developments.

*If you like to read more about the history of telephone read get the book                     America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940 by Claude Fischer