Despite the tropical temperatures, around 120 startup founders, investors, techies, and more joined Pioneers Unplugged at Chaya Fuera in Vienna last night. Pioneers Unplugged aims to connect the startup scene between the annual Pioneers Festivals, and celebrate the “new age of pioneering” on a regular basis. Like at the first Pioneers Unplugged (see our coverage here), Can Ertugrul led through the evening, which included keynote, academy, demo and pitch.
Ars Electronica Future Lab – Live long and prosper!
Ars Electronica Future Lab explores future scenarios at the intersection of art, technology, and society through art-based, experimental research and work. Co-Director Christopher Lindinger presented their conceptual work on Spaxel: a pixel in real space, making virtual reality come alive. The team developed a prototype – a fleet of 50 quadcopters, each equipped with a light bulb, is being configured as a swarm by a 3D studio grid.
The swarm hummingbirds receive a lot of attention from architectural competitions, requesting to have plans for buildings and bridges visualised in space. But also from Paramount Pictures: Christopher and his team successfully visualised the Star Trek Logo over the London Tower bridge as a promotion for the new Star Trek movie. We say: live long and prosper Future Lab and are looking forward to more secrets to be unveiled in December!
Markus Pichler of DailyDeal, and his lessons learned
For the more educational part of the evening, Markus Pichler was invited to share his lessons learned from being an entrepreneur. Pichler co-founded DailyDeal in Austria and Switzerland, which is known for its 114-million-dollar exit (including DailyDeal Germany) to Google in 2011. Markus explained how he, more or less fresh from university, where he studied at the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, founded DailyDeal Austria as his first startup. And here, a few words of wisdom:
- Build relationships with experienced experts and get yourself a mentor. Pichler admitted that he lacked experience, and also acknowledges that he was not too open to taking advice from others.
- Take time to reflect and listen to others. For one and a half years, he worked 24/7, gained 15 kilos by cutting down on his workouts, and got physically and emotionally drained. He advised entrepreneurs to manage their energy better, to take responsibility for their own learning and reflection, and to be open to criticism.
- Stay humble after your exit. It’s easy to see yourself as the king of the world after such an exit, however, Markus advised participants to get back to earth ASAP and stay humble – after all, “there are many great people developing great things out there.” Overall, a very genuine and clear presentation of the lessons he learnt on his entrepreneurial journey.
Markus founded and currently works for Alps Ventures, an “international venture builder in Vienna and Singapore”.
Flowstudiogames from Prague are already a familiar face: They were also part of Pioneers Unplugged Prague (see our coverage here) in May, where they rocked crowd with their demo of the leap motion controller. Leap Motion is a San Francisco-based startup that developed a device sensing the movement of your fingers and hands, and as such allowing you to point, move and grab things on your screen. Flowstudiogames, one of the teams that got one of the 12.000 developer units, are now working on their edutainment game Sortee as an app to be used with the leap motion controller. Participants were able to have a closer look at the device and get more information from co-founders Peter and Richard over a beer or two after the presentations – an opportunity many took!
Vidzor and the future of video
Vidzor promises us the marriage of web and video, allowing everyone to create interactive videos, hence creating a new platform for communication. Vidzor is the brainchild of Pulilab, a creative software agency based in Budapest. Unfortunately, the pitch was below expectations – the guys were left hanging when the demo video did not play. (You can still watch the video here). At least their four-hourdrive to Vienna in the heat (damn was it hot yesterday) was eased by some cold Pioneers Pints.
Jürgen Furian, co-founder and organiser of the Pioneers Festival, closed the evening by announcing further speakers for the festival, which has shifted its focus to innovative future technologies and entrepreneurship. Earlier during the night, Tschas elaborated: “While we still stay the forum for web and mobile startups, we want to expand into hardware startups that develop life-changing technologies”. Furian shares the vision of an “innovation wonderland” at Hofburg Vienna, the event’s location. This year’s Pioneers Festival expects 2.000 participants and around 60 speakers, covering innovations in robotics (e.g. Ekso Bionics), virtual personal assistance (e.g. Adam Cheyer, co-founder of Siri), the makers movement (e.g. Jim Newton, founder of TechShop), online payment solutions (e.g. Patrick Collison, cofounder of Stripe), and many more.
Pioneers Unplugged is being rolled out as a bi-monthly event series all over Europe. The next ones will happen in Copenhagen, Zurich and Sofia. The next get-together in Vienna is planned for the end of August.
The outcome of the second Pioneers Unplugged in Vienna? An overall successful evening at the air-conditioned Chaya Fuera with interesting input, and a good after party!
Previous coverage on Pioneers: