Why Austria Is Becoming A Melting Pot For International Startups

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For a few years now, Austria has made a significant effort to step up its game on the international startup scene. Now, the first results are in - and they're worth a closer look!

A little over a year ago Austria’s government publicly committed to making startups and their founders a major priority in order to position the country as Europe’s biggest entrepreneurial hub. We’ve reported on Chancellor Christian Kern’s personal mission in the matter and TechCrunch has devoted an entire article to Austria as the up-and-coming early-stage investment capital of Europe. This year, the governmental organization ABA – Invest in Austria has seen an impactful rise in international startups interested in settling in the country – making it a melting pot for innovation.

International Startups Joining The Party

Why Austria Is Becoming A Melting Pot For International StartupsIn June, Pioneers Festival, one of the most renowned entrepreneurial festivals in Europe, gathered a multitude of international startups in a more mature stage, speaking for a higher quality not only of the teams but also the ideas themselves. “The nature of startups, as well as investors and corporates, has improved significantly. This proves that Austria as a location has advanced to a recognized innovation hub that has a lot to offer”, as Birgit Reiter-Braunwieser, ABA Director for CEE and Startups, observed.

Bigger players in the Austrian corporate landscape seem to have noted the great potential of young companies too. Raiffeisen Bank International, for example, has announced its FinTech accelerator Elevator Lab, with the aim to work together and support national and international FinTech startups on a long-term basis, extending their own product and service portfolio.

AVL is another example for an internationally successful Austrian company to partner with startups. The organization is the world’s largest independent company for development and testing technologies for powertrains. They recently opened the CREATORS EXHIBITION with the aim to promote mobility, big data, and AI startups allowing for a collaborative partnership.

Initiatives like these not only benefit the corporation but the location as a whole, making it more attractive to new startups seeking to develop and evolve.

Utilizing Synergies In The Ecosystem

As politicians and industry players alike are aware of the necessity to collaborate to strengthen the country’s standing it is not surprising that free governmental support is available to international startups seeking to settle in the alpine country. Organizations like ABA – Invest in Austria offer free consulting on critical questions like on the kind of assistance and grants available, provide a comprehensive pool of information and are dedicated to sustainable support and service. With the mobility of founders increasing continuously, services like this contribute to a dynamic startup location that is welcoming people seeking to expand their business with open arms.

From a governmental point of view, efforts to bring more international talent and innovation into the country has resulted in the Startup Package that, once fully in place, is expected to have a great effect. Many startups present at Pioneers Festival have already heard about this as Birgit Reiter-Braunwieser explains: “The 30 founders we’ve actively consulted during the festival have already had a broad prior knowledge of what Austria offers as startup location. What we did now, is to support them with more detailed questions leading to a more probable likelihood of them expanding to Austria as all benefits have been laid out clearly”.

Knowing about all advantages of a location is, however, not the only essential decisions founders have to make. Mobility, as previously mentioned, is just as important. Despite the hype around Silicon Valley as the place to be, more and more entrepreneurs find the site to become obsolete. Ironically, the reason behind this are tech giants like Google and Mircosoft, who foster startups on one hand, but on the other hand, compete with them for tech talent – a race early-stage startups are not likely to win. With the global war on talent having a higher impact, the European Union becomes a more attractive partner due to its advances in free movement and residence.

Robo Wunderkind & Medicus Are Successful Examples

Two examples of successful startups founded by foreign entrepreneurs in Austria are Robo Wunderkind and Medicus.

Why Austria Is Becoming A Melting Pot For International StartupsRobo Wunderkind’s aim is to change the way children learn about technology. Having raised 700.000 Euro since 2015, the robot developed by the startup is an easy way for kids aged 5+ to learn coding as well as the basics of robots.

The eHealth startup Medicus was founded by aWhy Austria Is Becoming A Melting Pot For International Startups Syrian in Austria, empowering people to easily understand their medical health info by using a user-centric approach to their solution. The startup converts health data into a visual experience, providing understandable health insights and actionable recommendations.

For Austria, to further grow and progress as an international startup hub, it needs more international startups joining the melting pot of innovation that is developing at the moment. The access to talent is arguably the most crucial factor driving this innovation. With more and more highly skilled professionals relocating to Austria, the stakes of becoming an international startup hub are rising in the country’s favor.



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