About us

The story of inventures

2009 – About hammer and chisel & a significant realisation

Claudia has just been rewarded at the SIA for one of her business concepts when she meets Impact Hub Vienna cofounder Matthias at the award ceremony for the first time. Matthias and his team are in the middle of renovating the Hub office and Claudia helps out amongst others. The two of them not only form a brilliant DIY team (the Hub looks lovely till this day!) but also share the same thoughts about the current status of the startup scene: although it's full of innovative entrepreneurs, it only receives little understanding from the outside world. They agree that this should change rather sooner than later.

2010 – About an inspiring poster & the search for a name

But yet they don't know how. Matthias and Claudia put up a poster at the Hub saying Ich gründe trotzdem ... (I'm founding against all odds...) on which everyone is invited to share their thoughts. Looking at the feedback on the poster and their own experiences a little later, things suddenly become clear. Claudia and Matthias decide to found a media company that not only talks about facts but also tells stories about entrepreneurs (in other words individuals) and ventures of the CEE startup scene. The idea of inventures is born.

2011 – About the first concept & first supporters

Claudia and Matthias put together the first concept of inventures. They want to provide background information for news (StartupNews); they want to show how successful founders 'did it' (How to...); and they want to tell the stories of the people behind a company (Profiles). The concept is well received and Austria's aws supports inventures financially for a period of two years. Claudia and Matthias found inventures with Impact Hub Vienna as an additional shareholder.

2012 – About an important London connection & the big launch

Content production starts with inventures' first content manager but yet there is still something missing. Through a friend of a friend of friend of a... – well, you know how it works, Claudia and Matthias get introduced to Ondrej, at that time Strategy Development Manager at Sony in London. It is business-love at first sight and a few months later Ondrej moves to Vienna with his family to join inventures as a CEO. Three months later, in November 2012, inventures.eu goes live in English.

2013 – About a growing family & business

inventures is growing fast. Over the next year it would
- cover 1000 startups from 15 countries by launching 11 articles per week on average
- build up a pool of international clients as well as a pool of editors in 7 different countries
- become media partners with startup events across CEE
- publish their first issues of the print magazine "inventures“.

But 2013 is also the year, inventures meets some of its most important companions so far. Some of them have moved on by now, some of them are still with the team - but either way, they all helped to make inventures what it is today for which we want to thank them at this point.

2014 – About taking it to the next level & becoming a Media House

While the reach of inventures continues to grow, the inventures family is growing as well. Scouts from 7 countries join the team (for an even faster news reporting), whilst the team in Vienna welcomes Eva as an editor and Christina as Head of Publishing. Together they take it to the next level: on 8 September the new online magazine launches, introducing not only 40% more content but also a new Media Base, a Media Academy and new services for clients. And there is more to come: later this year inventures will publish its first book, details to be announced soon.

We want to thank …

Doris Fröhlich, Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws); Team of Impact Hub Vienna; Lisa Stadler, Der Standard; Thomas Seifert and Wolfgang Renner, Wiener Zeitung; Florian Zangerl, Industrie Magazine Verlag; Tobias Neugebauer, TOSA Design; Cezar Neaga; Christian Mathes, VetMed; Werner Hölzl and Gerhard Schwarz, WIFO

Inventures Alumni who contributed to our success along the way:

Bernhard Thalhammer, Georg Grawatsch, Alena Schmuck, Madeleine Geibel, Mina Nacheva, Floor Drees, Stefanie Rauchegger, Georg Gassauer, Ana Dimitrova, Karin Schneck, Sebastian Höfinger

 

Meet the team


Ondrej Gandel
CEO
Ondrej 's first career as a guitarist back in his hometown Námestovo, Slovakia wasn't going too badly, yet he decided to move on – literally. First, he moved to Prague to study economics, followed by Rotterdam (in Corporate Relations at AIESEC International), Salzburg (for an assignment abroad with Sony DADC), London (as Strategy Development Manager at Sony Electronics) and finally Vienna to join inventures as CEO in 2012, with the goal to "use the high potential of inventures and turn it into a successful media house.“ To inventures Ondrej not only brings several years of international business strategy experience but also delicious jam and fruit from Slovakia on a regular basis (which is highly appreciated by his team!). Ondrej is also fluent in four languages – Slovak, Czech, English and German – but admits that his 18-month-old son Martin "already has the stronger Austrian accent.“

Claudia Kaefer
Cofounder and Business Development/Sales Director
Claudia is one of two cofounders of inventures and responsible for Sales and business development. "There is already a high demand for content marketing in the international startup scene and the trend is upwards. Startups as well as their supporters often don't have the time to look into proper PR and media coverage - that's where we come in with expertise and know-how.“ Claudia's own expertise is comprehensive: after her studies of Economics & Business Administration, Master of International Management and a doctorate in Sociology, Claudia lived in the US and Copenhagen before she took a real corporate role at Austrian Post until 2009. Shortly after, Claudia founded her first company FRINK, an agency with focus on customer insights research. To air out the synapses, she loves crafting furniture, backpacking, reading books and, to our delight, writing stories for inventures from time to time. "Every single founder has a good story to tell. That's why we've founded inventures in the first place.“

Christina Forster
Head of Publishing
Christina joined inventures in 2014, only weeks after she had returned to Vienna from a seven-year stay in the UK. From London, she not only brought back experience in online marketing and e-commerce, but also a rather strong English accent (indeed!) as well as very high expectations concerning the Austrian weather. Knowing from the age of six, that she wants to work in media, Christina started working as a journalist during her studies of Communication Science and was later writing for sports and music magazines in Vienna. A couple of years later, she followed her passion for the web and moved on to the online business as editor and content manager, working for clients such as Red Bull. The startup scene Christina sees as an "exciting and massive opportunity. There are so many stories out there and every single one is unique, special and just waits to be told.“

Eva Thalhammer
Editor/Scout for Austria
Eva has a strong passion for four things: Kung Fu, Metal music, the English language and the startup scene. The latter because "I really enjoy meeting so many different people, all believing in their ideas even if it seems difficult. Plus: it keeps me updated about all the tech stuff out there which feeds the little geek in me.“ Before joining inventures, Eva studied English and Communication Science in Vienna and Utrecht, Netherlands. Later she stopped by in Dortmund, Germany, to gain first journalistic experiences at a music magazine (yes, a metal music magazine!). Back in Vienna she found additional challenges in Kung Fu and – lucky for us – inventures, to which she not only contributes as an editor but also as leading scout for Austria.

Matthias Reisinger
Cofounder
Matthias is not only co-founder of inventures but also a perfect example for a so-called serial entrepreneur. After his studies in Business Administration and Technology and graduating with a CEMS Master in International Management he became a founder: „I simply couldn't find the job I wanted to do. So I decided to create it myself.“ A decision with comprehensive results. Firstly, he co-founded emersense, an organization with the aim to provide a support network for ‘value creators'. A little later, in 2009, the same founding team launched Impact Hub Vienna, which supports impact entrepreneurs to realise their ideas and which is also the lovely home to the inventures team. In 2011, he was involved in the founding of inventures and Three Coins, a startup teaching financial literacy to teenagers. Highest priority for all these projects: impact. „For me that's what it really is about. Everyone can make difference and the same applies for inventures.”

Meet our scouts

Nationality: Romanian
Lives in: Arad, Romania
Joined inventures: in August 2014
I became a scout because: I believe that the startup community in the CEE can get stronger if we get to know each other and work together.
Favourite quote: "If you're playing it safe, you're taking big risk" – Seth Godin
Favourite book: Tribes – Seth Godin. The only trick was choosing just one of his books.

Nationality: Slovakian
Lives in: Pezinok, Slovakia
Joined inventures: in August 2014
I became a scout because: I'm passionate about innovative ventures and would like to help promote the local startup scene.
Favourite quote: "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" - Ben Franklin
Favourite movie: Rock'n'rolla. It is an amazing piece by Guy Ritchie about London´s underworld full of sarcasm and great music.

Nationality: Czech
Lives in: Brno, Czeck Repbublic
Joined inventures: in August 2014
I became a scout because: I love to explore new projects, people, ideas and this is an other opportunity how to broaden my horizons.
Favourite quote: "Everything is possible."
Favourite band: My favourite band is Lake Malawi. They are super cool people and my close friends as well.

Nationality: Serbian
Lives in: Novi Sad, Serbia
Joined inventures: in August 2014
I became a scout because: Being a part of this family of media heroes who love the world of startups is awesome!
Favourite quote: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” - Dr. Seuss
Favourite book: I like going back to reading Friedan’s Feminine Mistique every now and then.

Nationality: Macedonian
Lives in: Skopje, Macedonia
Joined inventures: in August 2014
I became a scout because: I want to share stories about startups from Macedonia and be part of an organisation that promotes startups from CEE internationally.
Favourite quote: "It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.“ - Mother Teresa 
Favourite movie: "The pursuit of happyness“ – Real life story that shows if you set your mind into accomplishing something you will get there.

Nationality: Latvian
Lives in: Riga, Lativa
Joined inventures: in September 2014
I became a scout because: I'm always up to expand my horizon and love to get my feet into life start-up scene in Latvia.
Favourite quote: "Who loves best lives best."
Favourite band: "Gogol Bordello“. I got addicted to their music by coincidence after going to their concert with my amazing friends last year.

Nationality: Estonian
Lives in: Tallinn, Estonia
Joined inventures: in August 2014
I became a scout because: It's a great way to promote the Estonian startup community and get international like-minded contacts.
Favorite quote:  "In the end, everything will work out!“
Favorite movies: My favourite movie genre is ... romantic comedy. For some strange reason I like happy endings!

Meet our editors

Nationality: Bulgarian
Lives in: Vienna, Austria
inventures and I met ... I got a call from then-editor Mina Nacheva to help with an event in Sofia. Caught the startup bug and have had it since.
The story I am most proud of: Every last one – they are all like my babies.
Favourite quote: “People who didn't need people needed people around to know that they were the kind of people who didn't need people” –  Sir Terry Pratchett in Maskerade
Favourite book: "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". It was the book that sparked my love for sci-fi and it's one of Robert A. Heinlein’s best books.

Nationality: Bulgarian
Lives in: Rotterdam, Netherlands
inventures and I met ... at an editors’ meeting in Vienna. That was back in December 2012 and it gave me a push to later become inventures’ managing editor. I now work as a freelance contributor.
The story I am most proud of: That’s easy! It’s the one that painted the reaction of the Ukrainian startup scene to the revolution in their country. You can read it right here.
Favourite quote: “If someone ever says you’re weird, say thank you. And then curtsy. No, don’t curtsy. That might be too weird. Bow. And tip your imaginary hat. That’ll show them.” – Ellen Degeneres
Favourite movie: Apollo 13. I’m a bit of a space geek.

Nationality: French
Lives in: Berlin, Germany
inventures and I met … Oddly enough, our story began about 8900km away, at the journalism school of the University of Hong Kong, over two years ago. As I was about to graduate and thinking of working in Europe, an Austrian friend connected me to the editor-in-chief of inventures.
The story I am most proud of: simply the first one, it kicked off our collaboration
Favorite quote: “I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring” - David Bowie (because it applies pretty well to graduating in journalism)
Favorite book: I always have books from Will Cuppyor Dorothy Parker around for a refill of wit and sarcasm.

Nationality: American
Lives in: Vienna, Austria
inventures and I met... after seeing a call-out for freelance editors in the Hub Vienna newsletter in December 2012, I attended an editorial orientation session and hopped onboard!
The story I am most proud of: My profile of Ali Mahlodji, founder of Whatchado, called Storyteller
Favorite quote: “I hate writing, I love having written.” - Dorothy Parker
Favorite movie: The original B&W "Of Mice and Men" (1939) is my favorite film. A musical score by Aaron Copland and is the only film based upon a book that's better than the book!

Nationality: Romanian
Lives in: Berlin, Germany
inventures and I met ... over Facebook back in 2013, when the managing editor shared a call for writer.
The story I am most proud of: The Slovenian startup scene gains momentum
Favorite quote: “Sometimes you can read a book and it fills you with this sweet evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read that book” – John Green
Favorite book: “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell. Those stories of success carried me through the moments when I needed encouragement and a dose of motivation.

Nationality: Romanian
Lives in: Bucharest, Romania
inventures and I met... when I met Claudia, one of the co-founders, at a conference in Vienna a few years ago. She told me about inventures when it was still in its inception phase and the rest is history!
The story I am most proud of: Always the next one
Favorite quote: "Travel light through life"
Favorite book: "Great Expectations" because Dickens is the greatest storyteller of all times.

Nationality: Bulgarian
Lives in: Vienna, Austria
inventures and I met... a friend of mine introduced me to Mina Nacheva, a former managing editor of inventures. This meeting set the beginning of my cooperation with inventures.
The story I am most proud of: In every story I put a piece of me, so I kind of like them all.
Favorite quote: "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." – Albert Einstein
Favorite artist: Robbie Williams. Not only a great musician but also an impressive artist and scene performance.

Nationality: Austrian
Lives in: Vienna, Austria
inventures and I met… two of my best friends were working for inventures and encouraged me to submit stories. That’s basically how I got sucked into the startup world. 
The story I am most proud of: The profile of Dorothee von Laer, the founder of Vira Therapeutics (“I have more ideas than time”) because Dr. von Laer is such an impressive character and her work on a cancer treatment is truly inspiring.
Favorite quote: “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life” - from the Walter Mitty movie
Favorite book: everything by Ryszard Kapuściński – such a phenomenal journalist and writer.

Nationality: Romanian
Lives in: Chicago, USA
inventures and I met... in the fall of ’13 when I was lucky enough to be introduced to this industry and this platform by one of my best friends (who is also a freelance journalist). To put it in a few words – it was love at first sight.
The story I am most proud of: Refinder closes down
Favorite quote: "Action is the foundation key of all success“ - Pablo Picasso
Favorite movie: "A good year” with Russell Crowe - wine, romance and Provence!