The monthly Startup Lounge event is a favourite among the Vienna startup scene. At last week’s Christmas Celebration four startups were competing for free office space and Leo Widrich made a special guest appearance.
With the jolly season in full swing, some of us may already be overdosing on Glühwein (mulled wine) and gingerbread, their feet tired from running from one Christmas get-together to the next. Nevertheless, the Startup Lounge Christmas Celebration last Thursday held one or the other surprise.
The monthly networking event organised by STARTeurope and, for the first time, hosted at the Vienna Hub saw young entrepreneurs and startup aficionados mix and mingle, eager to exchange ideas and contacts, as a well-known Austrian export entered the scene: Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer (inventures.eu recently met him in his San Francisco home. Read more here as well as a German version of the article on derStandard.at). As guest speaker, the 22-year old marketing wunderkind kicked off the event by sharing five lessons from his experience with Buffer.
What’s more, two web startups had the chance to win office space for twelve months and up to ten employees provided by Herold, the Austrian Yellow Pages (applications for three additional office spaces are open until the end of the month, see here).
“Everyone should have a one line pitch”
Of the five lessons Widrich shared with his audience, “everyone should have a one line pitch” might have been the most memorable one – and not just with respect to the 90-second pitches that followed his speech. What became obvious during Widrich’s candid presentation is that a good intuition for communicating with his audience could certainly be part of his one liner. Moreover, he emphasised the somewhat paradox fact that he joined a web startup as someone who couldn’t code, thus giving hope to other non-coders looking to make it in the field. (Of course, it wouldn’t be Leo Widrich, if he wasn’t already working on that alleged shortcoming – he is teaching himself how to code.)
Leo Widrich: learning to code. Photo: Andra Muresanu
His talk of the serendipity he experiences in the Bay Area, however, may – unintentionally – have reminded some of his fellow Austrian entrepreneurs that they might still be on the wrong continent, leaving us with his credo: “Never wait until you start doing something.”
Winners: Shpock and Troutloud
Following this intro, the stage was left to the four startups competing for office space, who appeared to be just as committed to their businesses as Widrich – if slightly more nervous – as they pitched their business models before a jury consisting of Widrich, STARTeurope CEO Andreas Tschas, as well as Georg Koch of Herold.
Alongside the well-known Shpock, Finderly’s flea market app with more than 50.000 downloads (read about the Finderly founding team here), the job search platform NGO Jobs and Troutloud, a new approach to marketing by crowdsourcing – all based in Vienna, there was even an entry from Bratislava. With the claim of making conferences more interactive, Slovak startup Instando, who were among the finalists at last month’s Startup Awards.SK, entered the competition for an office space in Vienna, arguing it would take them about the same time to go to Vienna as to central Bratislava.
One of the winners: Sebastian of Shpock. Photo: Hub ViennaIn the end, it was Shpock and the early stage Troutloud, who managed to convince the jury that they were most deserving of the office space in Vienna’s 12th district.
It was a good year for STARTeurope
The prize-giving was followed by the obligatory ritual of the season: an end-of-year-review. With the Pioneers Festival as their highlight (see inventures.eu’s recap of the event here), 2012 was indeed a successful year for STARTeurope. Naturally, CEOs Tschas and Furian seek to continue their efforts for growing the European startup community in the next year, Furian exclaiming what seems to be his one line pitch: “Do stuff that people love, stuff that inspires people”.[A1]
The next Startup Lounge will be hosted at Sektor5 on Thursday, 10 January 2013.
Applications for three additional office spaces provided by Herold are open until the end of the month. More info here.