Start-ups made in Austria III: AustrianStartups

Vienna on Aug 12, 2014

To get a deeper understanding of the Austrian Start-up scene it is good to have a look at the community as a whole. That’s why this month we are introducing you to AustrianStartups.

 Our August pick: AustrianStartups

Austrian Startups is a platform that aims at supporting start-ups in Austria and wants to create significant impact. The independent association is based in Vienna and has local representatives in all nine Austrian states.

by AustrianStartups

by AustrianStartups

What is a start-up?

Not every newly founded company can be defined as a start-up. Put in a nutshell, start-ups have very high potential for growth and are looking for a scalable business model. A lot of start-ups are technology oriented, although you can find start-ups in many different business areas.

How did AustrianStartups start?

A bunch of people actively involved in the start-up scene saw the need for an initiative, that would bundle the interests of start-ups in Austria and at the same time function as a platform where people could feel at home. So in 2013, Christoph Jeschke together with the other 5 board members founded AustrianStartups as an independent, not-for-profit association. Shortly after the foundation AustrianStartups developed a vision for start-ups in Austria in cooperation with stakeholders and the whole community, which was subsequently presented to the relevant political decision makers.

And what is AustrianStartups doing?

1. AustrianStartups as community: The goal is to become a nation wide online and offline community for everyone who affiliates oneself with the start-up scene. There are no membership fees. The online platform offers a wide range of information that everyone can profit from. The offline community organizes various events in the different Austrian states. The “AustrianStartups Stammtisch” in Vienna is held under a different motto every month at the Sektor 5 co-working space. The informal gatherings start with interesting input to the chosen topic and are followed by Q&A sessions. Conversations and networking are the main focus of those events. The next “Stammtisch” will be held on 19th August.

AustrianStartups Stammtisch © Teresa Hammerl

AustrianStartups Stammtisch © Teresa Hammerl

2. AustrianStartups as common voice: The Austrian start-up scene was given a face by Christoph and his team. The association advocates the needs and interests of start-ups on a political level. For companies and media representatives planning to position themselves within the start-up scene AustrianStartups incorporates a one-stop-shop.

3. AustrianStartups as source of information: The association provides relevant information especially to entrepreneurs. The new website, for example, will give a comprehensive overview concerning different funding options.  

How is the not-for-profit association funding itself?

AustrianStartups is supported by sponsors who in return get visibility in the association’s social media channels and its newsletter and is dependent on funding from the Austrian government. Government or EU funding not only poses a challenge to this association, many start-ups are dependent on receiving official funding. To find the right program and submit an application presents itself as time consuming process. In addition, most funding programs are linked to specific goals rather than being process-oriented. Here is an easy, probably not very representative example: Start-up X comes up with a great idea about the purple product Y. X applies for funding. During the development of product Y, the start-up realizes that the product would sell better if it was red instead of purple. The funding they applied for unfortunately is linked to the purple product. So instead of producing the more profitable red product, X has to produce the purple one to being able to receive the funding that they already calculated with. Not very efficient, but often the reality.  

Who represents AustrianStartups?

Christoph Jeschke © Teresa Hammerl

Christoph Jeschke © Teresa Hammerl

Christoph Jeschke is AustrianStartups representative. He is the face of the association when communicating with involved stakeholders and runs its daily business. With a background in arts management, asset management and events management he specialized in online and social media marketing in 2010. 2013 Christoph got the chance to head into a new direction by becoming managing director of AustrianStartups. A good decision, as he says. “The best part of my job at AustrianStartups is definitely that I get to know a lot of interesting new characters every day.”