For the first time since 2009, Startup Weekend made it to Vienna to celebrate 54 hours of brainpower and work stamina at sektor5. The event gathered about 60 ambitious enthusiast and helps them to put their idea into practice, find new team members and launch world changing projects.
Busy teams at sektor5; Photo credit: Teresa HammerlThe opening day on Friday kicked off with Martin Bittner, serial entrepreneur and frontman of the Cisco EiR programme, giving a talk on the rather unsuccessful parts of his career and shared experiences to learn from on stage. During the event, experienced Austrian entrepreneurs such as Thomas Schranz (blossom.io), Bernd Gruber (indoo.rs), Franz Enzenhofer (fullstackoptimization.com) support the team as mentors. “The mentors have been working with the teams to help them advance with their ideas. I can’t wait to see the final presentations. The Startup community in Vienna is one of the best in Europe,” said event host and inventures’ scout Adrian Pica and added “I am amazed to see a fantastic crowd. There are people from at least seven different countries, the energy and creativity go through the roof and the teams are working on awesome projects”.
Moreover, session with business modelling expert Christopher Kronenberg or crowdfunding consulting with Wolfgang Gumpelmaier or ad hoc pitching trainings on stage made sure the participants were able to take home freshly gained insights.
That passion! I am so grateful for all the great mentors volunteering and really helping the teams lift their ideas to the next level.Floor Drees, sektor5
“One highlight was definitely the kick-off event on Friday, seeing the bravest of the brave line up to pitch their startup idea and defend it to the bone during the voting round,” said Floor Drees from sektor5 and added, “That passion! I am so grateful for all the great mentors volunteering and really helping the teams lift their ideas to the next level.”
After the first pitch on Friday, nine teams were selected by the audience to present their projects to a critical panel of judges on the closing session of the event – but until then there are were still some things to be learned and tasks to be done. While Saturday was packed with forming teams, setting up the workspace and experimenting, the hard work paid off and the fruits of the efforts could be harvested at the final pitch on Sunday.
The winners take it all
After presenting their projects and proving what they have learned over the weekend, the teams could hardly wait for the jury’s comments. The team of Second Chance, a startup that made it their goal to make ex-convicts familiar with coding and teach them the IT skills for a fresh start took home the exclusive 3D-printed Startup Weekend Vienna Trophee for the first prize (check back soon for an exclusive interview on inventures.eu).
The second prize was given out to a service for finding flatmates online with the catchy name whoshowersfirst.com. Their tag line “life’s too short for bad flatmates” as well as their potential exit and break even in 1.5 years convinced the jury. Last but not least, Bat suite presented their smart bracelet as the new cane for blind people and got the bronze prize in the pitching competition.
The jury included Cloed Baumgartner (innovation manager), Angelo Laub (founder of Mjam), Ludovit Garzik (Council for Research and Technology Development), Gregor-Robert Posch (Vienna Business Agency) and our very own cofounder Claudia Käfer evaluated the presentations and selected only the best teams and ideas.
“The overall quality of the pitches was fantastic and some teams displayed great energy and proved that they take their pitches seriously. What’s more, some of them might already make a potentially good story for a startup magazine like inventures!” stated inventures cofounder Cladia Käfer.
An event that calls for a round two
Claudia Käfer among the criticalJury; Photo credit: Teresa HammerlThe many prizes included tickets for FounderTalks, project support from the crowdfunding platform wemakeit.at, workspace at sektor5 and an exclusive interview with inventures.eu.
“Of course the finale itself was tense, but after the award ceremony teams started mixing and mingling again and pacts for the future were made. I even overheard some people planning to attend a next Startup Weekend as a team, rather than an individual,” Floor Drees summarised.
The first Startup Weekend Vienna was a successful gathering of projects including all female teams (Hey Beauty), hardware products (Bat Suite), educational programmes ( Second Chance, Slearn), entertainment startups (Ask Alfredo), healthcare (Heart Shield), tracking services (TrackIT) or matchmaking tools (whoshowersfirst, snap card). Stay tuned for the interview with the winning team and hopefully a second edition of the 54-hours power weekend.