The Start-Up Scene in Austria: Event Recap

Bridges vol. 39, May 2014 / Noteworthy Information 

ABA (Invest in Austria) and the Office of Science and Technology Austria (OSTA)-Washington joined forces to organize another successful “The Start-up Scene in Austria” tour, with events hosted in San Diego and Palo Alto earlier this year. The goal was to inform the audience – who turned out in record numbers – about the vigorous and dynamic start-up scene that has developed in Austria in the last couple of years.

Hans Nagl from ABA and Philipp Marxgut from OSTA introduced Austria to the participants and started off with some facts about Austria. Located in the center of Europe, the country offers a world-class infrastructure, a sound legal system, smart and motivated people, a low corporate tax rate, and one of the highest quality-of-life rankings in the world – in fact, Vienna has topped Mercer’s Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings for four years now.

Michael Moll and Thomas Nennadal from the Hightech Incubator accent in Lower Austria, informed the audience about the attractive incentive systems for research and development (R&D) activities in Austria, featuring substantial pre-seed and seed financing options for start-ups, along with up to 80 percent cash grants for later-stage companies. Accent and the other incubators of the AplusB network, which is supported by the Austrian federal government (BMVIT), provide office space, mentoring, grants, and loans.

Georg Führlinger, from the Austrian Institute of Technology, highlighted the numerous activities of coworking spaces in Austria, such as Metalab, LOFFICE, or Sektor5. Also a member of the Entrepreneurship Center Network, he presented innovative and successful start-ups from Austria such as blossom, Jumio, Blue Danube Robotics, Activartis, or ResselTech. This also underlined the broad spectrum of areas in which start-ups in Austria are active.

Georg also showcased the annual Pioneers Festival in Vienna – a “future tech conference,” that “makes Europe a hub for the best minds in tech, science, design, AI, smart homes and transportation,” as Forbes put it. The presence of 2,500 participants from all over the world, including entrepreneurs, investors, accelerators, and incubators, as well as corporates, students, and media, make the Pioneers Festival a unique place in the start-up field.

The Roadshow ended after a dinner reception at which participating members were given the opportunity to network and converse about future collaborations.