Exploring Founder Liquidity — In conversation with Thanos Papangelis
I n 2007, in the middle of his Ph.D. in Computer Science, Thanos Papangelis left it all behind to focus on Epignosis. Being the founder of a tech startup was not only uncool in Greece back then, but also almost unheard of.
At a time when learning management systems (LMS) were clunky and took months to roll out across organisations, Epignosis was building a product that focused on delighting the end user — with one click setup and at a fraction of the cost. Frustrated business unit managers, tired of waiting for the corporate-wide LMS rollouts, could now just simply expense it on their business credit card. And so their flagship SaaS LMS product, TalentLMS, was born.
Beacon’s founder, Maria, was approached by Thanos and his co-founder, Dimitris Tsingos in 2015 to invest, join their board, and help them scale. It was the beginning of a relationship that would shape both the company and Maria’s views on how investors needed to support talented founders, especially when they were coming from Europe’s peripheral economies. Today, despite Maria having exited her investment to Insight Partners, she remains on the board in an advisory capacity, and Thanos has since become an advisor and investor in Beacon.
While the Epignosis’ corporate story is well known within the investment community, Thanos’ personal story remains a secret and deserves to be shared. It was his story that helped inspire Beacon’s founder liquidity strategy, and one of several examples that showed us the importance of offering financial freedom to founders early on to give them the mind space to think big.
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