Pioneers Festival: Two founders, a palace and startups galore

Gathering together 2,500 international guests and speakers, including Charles Adler (Kickstarter co-founder), Adam Cheyer (Siri founder) and Chris Barton (Shazam co- founder), Pioneers successfully pulled off another Pioneers Festival, the second event of its kind. Pioneers Festival kicked off at the House of Industry on Tuesday with its infamous Investors Day, while the actual Festival combined history and technology at the Imperial Palace the following two days.

The Investors Day

The Investors Day on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 in the House of Industry was devoted to the Top 50 startups of the Pioneers Challenge and key investors including Sequoia Capital, Earlybird, and Accel Partners. Each startup was given three minutes to pitch their company to high class a jury. More than 670 startups from around the globe had applied to take part. At the end of the day, only 16 were chosen to present their ideas on the conference days.

History and technology come together in the Imperial Palace

On Wednesday morning the Imperial Palace opened its doors for more than 2,500 tech enthusiasts in an environment combined with history and future technologies. After the official welcome by the two founders Andreas Tschas and Juergen Furian, the program was officially kicked off.

It was up to the participants to decide what their individual Pioneers Experience should be. While inspiring talks and technology demonstrations by speakers like Phil Libin (Evernote) or Charles Adler (Kickstarter) captured the audience in the Arena, the Academy provided the school lessons for entrepreneurs they were asking for. Supported by Konica Minolta, high-caliber mentors such as Dave McClure (500startups) and Chris Barton (Shazam) taught attendees what daily business really looks like.

Nobody can beat Babywatch, the finest of the Top 50 Startups

The Startup Challenge Finale topped off the last day as the Top 8 startups took the stage and presented their companies. The young entrepreneurs battled it out in the Pioneers Challenge – in the end Babywatch, the home ultrasound device startup from Croatia took home the victory prize, winning the Pioneers World Tour sponsored by Coca Cola with stops in Shenzhen, Singapore, Atlanta, New York and San Francisco, and the Pioneers Award 2013.

Some impressions:

Brigitte Jank explains the constant growth of the startup scene in Vienna and acknowledges the Pioneers Festival as one of its reasons: The Pioneers Festival provides a significant contribution here, being a platform bridging the contact between startups and potential investors, and turning Vienna into Europe’s creative capital city, explains Brigitte Jank, President of the Chamber of Commerce Vienna.

Christoph Leitl, WKO-President was impressed by this year’s event and pointed out the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit for Austria’s economy regarding the valuable contribution of domestic founders to Austrian business location: Even in challenging times Austria remains an attractive business location. This is clearly proven by recent numbers on newly created companies: 114 start- ups per day contribute significantly to the employment record in Austria. That brings great dynamism to our country!

Andreas Tschas reflects on this year’s Festival: I am extremely happy about our results after one year of hard work and would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who supported us. There are too many people to name, however I would like to point out Konica Minolta and Pro7, Sat1, Puls4 as our Global Partners and their support of young entrepreneurs as a part of their corporate responsibility, as well as the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth, the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology, the Austria Wirtschaftsservice, the Chamber of Commerce as well as the Vienna Business Agency.