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As investors and founders mature, Vienna emerges as a European startup hub – TechCrunch

In line with Austrian Startup Monitor, entrepreneurs have based greater than 2,200 startups in Austria since 2008, with the variety of tech corporations rising 12% per 12 months since then, considerably sooner than the three% progress fee for conventional corporations.

House to roughly 50% of Austria’s startups, Vienna has a plethora of VC, company and college buyers. Prime VCs embody 3TS Capital Companions, AC & Pals, Cudos Capital, FSP Ventures, Hansmen Group, i4g Funding, i5invest, LilO Ventures, subsequent.march, primeCROWD, Speedinvest and Venionaire Capital, amongst others.

The native ecosystem advantages from a number of initiatives, together with the Social Affect Awards, Vienna Startup Awards, Design Week, Local weather KIC Stage, Innovation Incubation Heart and INiTS Accelerator. The well-run Pioneers Competition contributed massively to the ecosystem for a number of years after a sure PJDM editor-at-large gave the organizers an excuse to broaden on a easy PJDM meetup. However the competition was shuttered last year after its sale to an area accelerator meant that the occasion itself ran out of steam. Maybe it was simply as effectively, given this 12 months’s pandemic.

State help for startups can also be there. The Austrian authorities created a complete startup program in 2016 to make the nation extra enticing to startups establishing there.

Standout exits embody health app maker Runtastic, acquired by Adidas for $240 million in 2015, in addition to listings market Shpock, which was acquired by Norwegian publishing conglomerate Schibsted in 2015. Different notable startups initially from Vienna embody mySugr, wikifolio, kompany and Codeship.

There have been jitters on the best way, nonetheless. The Austrian Personal Fairness and Enterprise Capital Group’s 2019 report discovered that Austria’s startups noticed €237.6 million invested in 2018, however, this quantity fell 8.2% to €218 million in 2019; the variety of offers exceeding €500,000 additionally dipped by 8.7%. International funding additionally slowed in 2019 after a couple of years of a bull run — between 40% and 63% of offers sized €0.25-€1.99 million have been considerably funded by overseas buyers in 2018.

Regardless of the decline, native buyers have began to choose up the slack, boosting the variety of funding rounds over €5 million to 12 offers in 2019 from 11 in 2018. In each years, all however a type of offers drew a considerable a part of the funding spherical from overseas buyers.

We count on extra to emerge from Vienna’s tech scene sooner or later. The Pioneers Competition (RIP) proved that Vienna is an enchanting bridge between Western European capital and entrepreneurial tradition, and East European entrepreneurs and expertise, which it is going to little doubt proceed to learn from in years to return. However — simply as will occur with Lisbon this 12 months and the lack of Net Summit — the lack of a serious convention in Vienna to shine a light-weight on the town and ecosystem, mixed with the pandemic, might have cooling results for the subsequent couple of years.

Notable Vienna startups:

  • Newsadoo: Makes use of synthetic intelligence to personalize information.
  • Cashpresso: Hyperlinks prospects, retailers and banks to supply client financing choices.
  • Jobrocker: An internet job search portal that connects candidates’ CVs with job openings.
  • Storyblok: A headless content material administration system.
  • Byrd: First-mile transport service that enables prospects to ship gadgets hassle-free.
  • Music Traveler: A market that centralizes areas with musical devices and gear.
  • PAYUCA: Offers versatile entry to parking areas in personal workplace and residential buildings.
  • Refurbed: Quick-growing market for refurbished electronics, throughout the German-speaking world.
  • Presono: An internet platform for creating, managing and exhibiting displays in corporations.
  • Blockpit: Develops software program for portfolio monitoring, tax calculation and compliance reporting of transactions for cryptocurrencies and crypto belongings.
  • Robo Wunderkind: A robotic for youths to construct and program.
  • Medicus: Converts well being information with their cryptic numbers and medical language into an easy-to-understand visible expertise.
  • Cybershoes: VR accent that permits you to stroll by your favourite VR video games.

Right here’s who we interviewed:

Eva Arh, principal, Capital 300

What traits are you most enthusiastic about investing in, typically?
B2B software program, robotics, no/low-code automation, AI-enabled vertical options, e-health, corporations enabling others to rent and have interaction expertise remotely.

What’s your newest, most enjoyable funding?

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the business however don’t? What are some missed alternatives proper now?
Corporations that allow others to handle and automate billing even additional (e.g., per API name), next-gen video conferencing, options guiding ladies by menopause, offering options that assist corporations to supply psychological well being companies to distributed groups, bringing cloud kitchens to the subsequent degree (not operating central kitchens).

What are you on the lookout for in your subsequent funding, normally?
As all the time, formidable, good, hard-working groups keen to construct a class chief in an enormous market.

What different forms of merchandise/companies are you cautious or involved about?
Involved about options that leverage behavioral information to affect folks for the sake of optimizing revenue, overload of gross sales and advertising and marketing tech, overload of chatbot suppliers. [It is] exhausting to compete with gamers which have benefited from big community results equivalent to meals supply.

How a lot are you centered on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or all over the place) normally? Greater than 50%? Much less?
We deal with German-speaking areas and Central Jap Europe. Opportunistically we might additionally make investments outdoors of the area, nonetheless in Europe.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear well-positioned to thrive, or not, long run? What are corporations you’re enthusiastic about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Austria — no particular business focus inside software program. Nevertheless, well-positioned within the biotech area, CEE — given the sturdy presence of IT outsourcing corporations, the area is well-positioned to construct options within the business-process automation, dev instrument area. Storyblok (our portfolio). Others to observe: Anyline, Adverity, Bitpanda, PlanRadar, Refurbed.

How ought to buyers in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?
Concerning Vienna — we’re seeing the primary era of entrepreneurs constructing world corporations. Their and their workforce expertise will probably be at utmost worth creating a brand new wave of tech corporations that compete on a worldwide degree.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies outdoors main cities within the years to return, with startup hubs shedding folks because of the pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?
Sure, we already see this — thrilling corporations popping out of small cities in Poland, Germany, and so forth. and firms going distant.

Which business segments that you just spend money on look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in client and enterprise habits due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups could possibly faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?
Telemedicine, on-line schooling has been accelerated. We see a shift that in any other case would have taken years, particularly within the comparatively conservative German-speaking space. As talked about beforehand, psychological well being options, hiring and using remotely are a number of the alternatives highlighted by COVID-19. Corporations which are closely uncovered are these which were serving the lengthy tail of corporations, small retailers, and native companies that have been closed down or skilled a lot much less visitors in previous months and therefore are extraordinarily delicate round their value base, discontinuing companies that aren’t 110% important.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the largest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What’s your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?
We now have all the time been very selective and centered, partnering up three to 4 occasions a 12 months. We proceed on the identical tempo. The businesses that carry out effectively regardless of COVID-19 are nonetheless in a powerful place for attracting exterior capital. After all, we assist our portfolio to safe a runway and have a dialogue how/whether or not the scenario has impacted their providing/GTM. Some corporations must rethink their worth proposition, some rethink their goal teams both to make up for slower gross sales cycles or then again to leverage and profit from the present scenario.

Are you seeing “inexperienced shoots” concerning income progress, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Sure, we see that Lokalise is rising closely with the present buyer base as their prospects broaden to new markets, prone to make up for slower income progress of their present markets. We see that Nethone (fraud prevention) is ready to double down on e-commerce. On-line fraud and on-line transactions are skyrocketing as folks spend far more time on-line. (Then again, their airline prospects in fact present a unique trajectory.)

What’s a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This may be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.
It’s inspiring to see how founders undergo the present scenario, act as an alternative of reacting, particularly in these international locations the place there may be much less authorities help incentives in place. Personally, I’m additionally comfortable to see that individuals use the make money working from home time to rethink and introduce more healthy habits.

Every other ideas you wish to share with PJDM readers?
Because the world has gone on-line and the situation issues a lot much less, there is a chance to distribute the created worth and wealth extra evenly — be it an organization based in a “non-tech-hub” location or be it expertise employed remotely.

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Mike Butcher