After a number of pitching events in January and February, among those Startup Live Vienna and Startup Weekend Klagenfurt, March started off with another opportunity for startups from Austria and CEE to present their entrepreneurial ideas, and receive guidance as to how to develop them. Betapitch Vienna took place on 2 March at Sektor5, and provided 10 already assembled teams with a one-day platform to pitch their business concept to a panel of experts.
“A big part of the audience as well as a few of the pitching startups joined us from Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic,”said organiser Kathrin Folkendt, and described the tendency as positive. “We’re very dedicated to building up an ecosystem and enabling knowledge exchange and best practice sharing between the different countries and startup hubs.” The teams who were not among the 10 finalists did not go home empty-handed, as they received a feedback session with the head of the jury, Klaus Matzka.
For those selected, though, the actual pitching event was preceded by a day (1 March) of pitching trainings, which according to Folkendt, “really made a difference in the pitches on Saturday.” More than half of the final 10 were from Austria, however, several came from neighbouring Slovakia. The last two teams standing – the two winners, that was – happened to represent this blend of nationalities. Networker from Slovakia is, as the name implies, a networking tool that allows organisers to create a visual identity for their event, and provides them with reports on their attendees’ needs and preferences. Austrian Flatout, on the other hand, is focused on “revolutionising the Smart Home industry,” in which it enables users to operate their home devices through a smart phone or a tablet, and from any location.
The two startup teams will compete separately against the winners of the other Betapitch editions at the global final in Berlin in July. The event is scheduled to also take place in Barcelona, Sofia and Munich. Betapitch’s goal seems to be to bring together entrepreneurs from all over the continent, and this trend was well summarised by Folkendt’s observation from the event in Vienna: “We need to continue to bring people together cross-border. If we don’t, we’d be missing out on a lot of opportunities.”