Interview with Panos Mitsios, co-founder and COO at TEKMON
Panos Mitsios is the co-founder and COO of Tekmon. TEKMON is a B2B software company that offers cloud-based solutions to democratize digital transformation and empower deskless frontline workers to stay on top of their game. Along with the rest of the Tekmon team, Panos designs the development of the platform's features and capabilities while overseeing the company's projects. Since 2018, he has expanded the company into three markets: Greece, the UK, and Italy.
We met with Panos and talked about his entrepreneurial journey. Here's what he told us.
Tell us a few things about TEKMON. How did it all start? How did you discover the market opportunity for your technology, and where are you today?
I met Nicholas Zinas and his talented colleagues Nikos Vrettos and Sotiris Kontogiannis a few years ago. They had just developed a technology called S.C.S. "Secure Concert System" to enhance concert security and medical personnel's ability to communicate and respond to incidents more effectively.
Concerts present one of the most challenging environments for technology to operate in. Communication networks are pushed to the limit, and big crowds make processes more complex. Time-sensitive incidents can happen anytime, and the pressure to respond swiftly is intense.
Excited by the technology, I decided to join the team and promote their solution. Although it was one of the most enjoyable periods of our professional lives, we soon discovered that the economics behind the business model did not work. However, the experience taught us that the people working in the field lacked the tools to be more productive.
We returned to the drawing board and designed new features that could accommodate the needs of field teams irrespective of their working environment. In late 2018, we launched the first version of the new product called Tekmon. Since then, we have been helping dozens of field teams, such as safety, quality, technical, and sustainability, in various industries, including manufacturing, construction, transportation, and warehousing.
Tekmon's success has allowed us to expand our team to 25 individuals across three countries - Greece, the UK, and Italy. Our passion for helping people be more productive in their work continues to drive our innovations, and we look forward to seeing where Tekmon takes us in the future.
What value are you bringing to the clients and partners? What differentiates you from the rest of the industry?
Working better together is our motto. Countless hours of admin tasks, data entry, and paperwork are the pain points we address daily for our clients. We empower frontline workers, and simplify and streamline their daily tasks. We digitize pen and pencil processes; we consolidate data, facilitate interconnectivity and mobility, and we revolutionize how the deskless workforce is operating in their respective sectors.
Our platform stands out from traditional ERP systems and in-house development approaches because it offers a user-friendly interface that does not require technical expertise. Non-IT users can easily create their workflows without writing any code and do so in a matter of hours. This can help organizations become more agile and responsive to changing market conditions, leading to greater efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
How is it to start a technology company in the Greek periphery, particularly Ioannina?
Creating a technology company often entails facing global competition from the early stages. For instance, even in our first year of operations, we competed with US-based companies for enterprise contracts. Therefore, starting the company in Ioannina was not significantly different from starting it in Athens in terms of the competition we faced.
While it is true that operating costs are relatively lower in Ioannina, and the local university provides access to a pool of talented graduates, there are some limitations when compared to Athens. Specifically, there may be a smaller talent pool with specialized skills and experience, and the local market size poses challenges to the potential success of the business.
Broadly speaking, Greece is positioned at the periphery of the global market, which translates to fewer funding opportunities, a smaller entrepreneurial ecosystem, and, notably, a scarcity of success stories that can inspire confidence among the next generation of entrepreneurs. Thankfully, recent success stories of companies like Softomotive, Viva Wallet, and, most recently, Augmenta are paving the way for others to follow suit.
What would you consider to have been (or are) your biggest challenge so far?
As a company grows and matures, its most significant challenges tend to change. At first, our primary concern was creating a product that meets the market's needs. Right after, it was to build a strong customer base, establish credibility, and gain the market's trust.
Currently, the most critical challenge is to scale the business as it grows. And the most daunting aspect of successful scaling is finding and attracting the right talent to drive the company's evolution and growth.
What are the biggest learnings from your journey so far?
Through my entrepreneurial journey, I've come to realize that it's not just about making money or surviving. It's about so much more.
It's about personal growth, fulfillment, and having a meaningful impact on the world. Along the way, I've had the opportunity to collaborate with brilliant minds, gain insights into how the world operates, and unleash my creativity. These experiences have transformed me in ways I could have never imagined, leaving a lasting positive impact on my life. Entrepreneurship has taught me that it's not just a means to an end but a vehicle for self-discovery and personal evolution.