OST Scientist Network and ASciNA Activities

bridges vol. 29. April 2011 / News from the Network: Austrian Researchers Abroad

The OST network of Austrian scientists & scholars abroad was established by the Office of Science & Technology (OST) at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, DC, and focuses on the outreach of government-related agencies to Austrian scientists in North America. Its main objective has been to support the scientific community with information and specific advice wherever necessary and requested.

Encouraged by the OST, an independent association - ASciNA (AustrianScientists and Scholars in North America) - was founded in 2002 with local chapters being established throughout the US and Canada. For further information about ASciNA please visit: www.ascina.at

Start Your R&D Business in Austria – Workshop Series Held for Austrian Scientists in the US

Having tapped trusting family members and friends for funding, and having seen the numbers in their bank accounts dwindle, scientists-turning-entrepreneurs are often confronted with one of the most challenging aspects yet: securing funding – a necessity for the journey from developing the first great idea, proudly scribbled on a scrap of paper, to a flourishing successful and profitable business.

With that challenge in mind, the Austrian Business Agency (ABA) and the Office of Science & Technology (OST) at the Embassy of Austria deployed to California in February and to Washington, DC, Chicago, and Pittsburgh in April. In their luggage was the workshop “Start your R&D Business in Austria.” The event series was designed to provide an insight into Austria's advantages as a business location for R&D start-ups, as well as to offer scientists, entrepreneurs, and company founders an overview of the government support, competitive incentive systems, and funding opportunities available in Austria.

{access view=guest}Access to the full article is free, but requires you to register. Registration is simple and quick – all we need is your name and a valid e-mail address. We appreciate your interest in bridges.{/access} {access view=!guest} Part of the team setting out on the road trip were Austrian entrepreneur Alexander Krajete and funding experts Markus Costabiei and Michael Moll. Krajete is the founder of a biotech start-up that focuses on biological electricity storage as natural gas. He might be considered a poster child of the “how-tos” by the more than 120 attendees of the workshops – an international medley comprised of researchers, entrepreneurs, and business people.

Krajete shares his story: from the unsuccessful attempts to raise funding for his pioneering idea in both Norway and Austria, to establishing contact with Markus Costabiei, CEO of the Upper Austrian Business High-tech Incubator “Tech2b,” and Michael Moll, cofounder of the consulting platform “Entrance.” Working with them changed the game for him. With expert support, Krajete was able to obtain funding within three months, leading to a total of €400,000 from various Austrian funding sources in the next two years. Having bypassed formal business education, and acknowledging that he feels more comfortable in the lab than behind a desk, Krajete was also able to tap into coaching services, expert support, and professional infrastructure to create a solid business plan and strategy and to forecast financial information.

During the workshop, Costabiei and Moll also address the advantages of setting up shop in Austria compared to start-up Meccas such as the San Francisco Bay Area. They introduce some of the most attractive incentive systems for R&D activities in Europe, featuring substantial pre-seed and seed financing options for start-ups along with up to 80 percent cash grants for later-stage companies, and also provide an outlook for new equity instruments to be introduced in the near future.

For further information on how you can start your R&D business in Austria, please visit http://aba.gv.at/ or get in touch with ABA’s North American office in New York City:

ABA-Invest in Austria
120 West 45th Street,
9th floor
New York, N.Y. 10036, USA
Tel: +1-212-398 1221
Fax: +1-212 398 1511