What happens when 500 startups are gathering together for two days? Just look at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna, a yearly event that brings together technology and business to realize new steps towards the future. For international as well as local startups an important date in their diary and can’t be missed – at least for the lucky ones making it among the 600 chosen startups.
Why is the Pioneers Festival so important for startups?
Networking & matchmaking: A big variety of startups, investors, companies and renowned representatives of the tech and innovation scene meet at one spot. For startups it’s a unique opportunity to meet investors and secure their funding. The festival is crucial to find new possibilities for cooperation with other startups, companies as well as to get attention for their projects within the expert audience. Therefore it’s all about the right “matches” during the two festival days.
But which matches are the most promising?
The answer lies in diversity and the resulting new combinations. This indicates that the most interesting matches often result from the clash of unexpected and at first sight not related fields. Therefore a lot of startups at the festival were looking for intended uses they haven’t kept an eye on yet but for which their technology represents a solution. So networking becomes a crucial function for inspiration and „creative brainstorming“, how you hear it from the participants.
How was diversity created at the festival?
The importance of diversity was reflected through several levels of the festival starting with the location and the atmosphere: While the historical building reminded you of the past, robots, virtual reality glasses and self-driving cars seemed to act as carriers of the future. The resulting contrast created an atmosphere of departure and pioneering spirit.
Furthermore the diversity was reflected in the thematic fields represented. In contrast to other startup festivals the pioneers unites several technical disciplines – from biotech, artificial intelligence, robotics, cyber security to space tech. So you found startups revolutionizing cancer research, developing swimming maritime drones or indicating future nutrition through mealworm farms.
On a third level the diversity of topics prevented participants from only engaging in discussions dominated by technical details. Rather general and business-orientated topics came up concerning challenges for startups like marketing, patents, support tools for several business processes, design or consistent focus on customer value. Eventually it’s not done simply by an idea or technical invention. Valuable realization and building a successful corporation goes much further.
How can networking and matchmaking be effectively organized?
All this diversity raises the question how the right matches find together in all the hustle and bustle of the festival. The Pioneers Festival managed to optimize this matching process by an online Match & Meet Service. It allowed participants to easily arrange meetings for the two days. A digital assistant provided personalized suggestions, handled requests and organized time and place for the meetings aligning to personal timetables. Through Match & Meet 2800 meetings between startups, corporations and investors were conducted on the two days of the festival. Not counted here are all those random meetings at talks, booths and countless side events. It remains to see what resulted out of all this new matches. Some of the startups might soon become successful corporations, interesting projects might be realized thanks to investors and promising cooperation as well as problems might be solved through new technologies in new industries.
By Sabrina Peterer