Is Austria The New Place To Be For International Startups?

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Austria has taken many steps to nurture & support its startup ecosystem. Learn what makes international young businesses settle in the alpine country & how it aims to attract them:

In a previous article we discussed the progress of Austria from an imperial country to startup hotspot. What we missed in that article was what foreign young companies have to say about it themselves and what makes them choose Austria as their founding country. So let’s have a look:

Austria’s Pioneers Festival As Anchor Point

The governmental agency ABA – Invest in Austria (ABA) has proven to welcome founders who want to realize their dreams in Austria with open arms. And that’s what they also did at this year’s Pioneers Festival. The event that took place in Vienna’s most imperial sight, Hofburg (ok, maybe Schönbrunn takes the lead but you get the idea), turned into a meeting point for innovation and progress.

Birgit Reiter-Braunwieser, ABA Director for CEE, mentions that the startups present at the festival confirmed her impression of Austria as an emerging hub: “International young companies perceive Austria as an attractive site for founding due to the dynamic ecosystem here. Exciting things are happening, financial as well as political support for startups has been growing steadily.”  Franz Salzmann, CEO of Lock8 used this situation to his advantage: “I am from Vienna, ended up in the UK after staying in Hungary and Germany, but then returned to Vienna in order to launch an innovative product in Austria.”

Financial & Political Support On The Rise

Support has and still is one of the main factors for starting businesses to decide where they want to settle. The ideal environment, be it economically, finanicially or poltically, is not easy to create nor to maintain. Still, all these benefits mean nothing as long as startups are not willing to increase mobility. The good news? They are! CEO of Next Society, Peter Stebe, states his reason for founding his business in the alpine country: “The Austrian scene is young and fresh, mobile and attractive. And the quality of life is one of the best in the world.”

For founders who still have to be convinced, the main question is: What’s in it for me in Austria? What kind of assistance can I get and where can I get it from? At Pioneers ABA answered these questions with personal meetings. In case you missed them at the festival, you can also set up an appointment in their Vienna HQ or ask them for virtual support (even for free!).

Working Together For A Colorful Ecosystem

What we can definitely say is that startups who choose Austria as a country to found often choose it due to location, workforce, funding support, cost structure and a lot of additional soft factors. These soft factors, like a personal connection to Austria (partner, previous visit etc.) may be the one thing that really makes a founder come to the decision whether to move their business here or not. Although this can hardly be influenced an increasing number of high-tech startups with an Austrian background and global business perspectives are selecting the Austrian business location as their launching pad.

A broad range of funding instruments, well-developed channels of know-how transfer between the scientific community and companies, a high quality of life as well as a young founder scene craving for more make Vienna in particular a fruitful biotope for innovative Austrian returnees and foreigners that want to become familiar with the country and its startup scene.

Reiter-Braunwieser sums up: “Austria can only profit, the more colorful the startup environment becomes and the more young businesses choose to found their business here.” A statement we can only agree with.

Editor’s Note: In case you want to learn more on how the Viennese startup community and its organizations look like, check out our Vienna City Guide.



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Photo credit: Nagesh Kamath via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA