The domestic start-up scene is waiting for the first with a billion euros or dollars rated start-up companies. In the US, these companies are also called “Unicorns”. The largest exits in Austria to date, each with a sales price of more than € 200 million, have been created over the past decade by the run-app Runtastic, the classified advertising platform Shpock and the biotech viral therapeutics.
The best way to a “Unicorn” billionaire rating, the Corinthian streaming start-up Bitcoin and the Vienna travel platform Tour radar said Oliver Hollie from venture capitalist Speed invest on Friday at the Bioneers conference in Vienna. Speed invest holds shares in Bitcoin and Tour radar. Industry observers also see great potential in the social trading start-up Wiki-folio, in Any line (text recognition), Tr-active (pet tracking) and in the Bit-panda crypt platform.
A lot is happening in the domestic start-up scene
In recent years, a lot has happened in the Austrian start-up scene. More founders hit more and more investors, and domestic politics increased the incentives for start-ups. “Ten years ago, there was the first big start-up pitch event in Vienna,” said the president of the Austrian Angel Investors Association, Selma Prodanovic, at the Pioneers. In 2010, investors were still able to choose the start-ups, there was no competition, recalls the venture capitalist Johannes Hansmann. He was on board as a business angel with MySugr, Runtastic and Shpock and sold his shares in the exits profitably.
Hansmann locates four points on why the Austrian start-up scene has not grown stronger. Talented professionals from outside the EU can not easily get to Austria, the GmbH legal form is suboptimal for start-ups and there is no tax relief for venture capitalists. In addition, Austria needed more successful founders who sold their businesses and then reinvested in start-ups.
“Vienna has too few good start-ups” “Vienna has too few good start-ups
for the size of the city,” said venture capitalist Holle. His fund Speedinvest also invests heavily outside of Austria in European founders. A missed opportunity for Vienna is N26. Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal founded their bank start-up Number26 in Vienna in 2013, but moved their headquarters after just one month to Berlin. Above all, the availability of qualified employees was one of the main reasons for moving to Berlin, it said. With a rating of $ 2.7 billion recently, the smartphone bank N26 is one of the most expensive start-ups in Germany. In April, however, N26 announced a tech location with 300 employees in Vienna.
At a panel discussion at the Pioneers conference, the founders of MySugr, Runtastic and Shpock agreed that there was no need for high-volume funding (series B, C) for start-ups in Austria. The US competitor has received from investors a $ 100-million investment, MySugr around 7 million, said MySugr co-founder Frank Westermann. For Runtastic founder Florian Gschwandtner, newly founded start-ups in Austria would receive “almost too much money”. To be successful, it needs “a good team”.
Minister announced start-up package
In order to close the funding gap for rapidly growing technology companies, Minister of Economic Affairs Margarete Schramböck (ÖVP) announced on Wednesday a digitization and growth fund with a funding of 100 million euros , which should start in summer or fall. This new fund of the promotional bank aws aims to mobilize private venture capital of 500 million euros.
Chamber of Commerce President Harald Mahrer also wants to push the domestic software industry. “Europe has more developers and programmers than the US. We have great potential, “Mahrer said at the Pioneers conference. In Europe, there are still problems with the regulation and financing of start-ups.