One of the biggest startup events of Central European region has recently took place in Vienna. For the 5th time, the Hofburg Imperial Palace hosted this celebration of innovation, creativity and technology called Pioneers Festival.
In the following lines you will find a summary of the most interesting features of the festival: speakers and their topics, main highlights and last but not least a special invitation for this summer.
One of the first speakers at the main stage was a philanthropist and founder of Living Essentials, Manoj Bhargava. He started his speech with his own experiences as a founder of a company and then continued by giving several advices for young entrepreneurs. To sum up, here are two key points:
One of the most important things is to focus on solving problems. For example, if you wanted to increase literacy in the third world countries, what would you do?
But …what happens after the sun sets down in these countries? Have you ever thought about that? You can teach people to focus on their education during the day but they will struggle to use the same time to secure food and water for themselves. When the sun sets down their time to learn is gone.
Therefore, you should provide them with electricity, so they can read when there is no sunlight – there is no need for thousands of new books. You should give them a chance to charge and use their tablets for more than just those few hours at school.
That provides a sustainable solution Manoj hopes for and supports with his Living Essentials LLC.
If you don’t understand human nature and people’s needs, you will never sell anything. – Manoj Bhargava
He also talked about moving from profit business through a non-profit up to zero-profit business. Manoj has more than a successful career to back him and pledged 99% of his wealth to philanthropic activities. He says that with everything we have today, the best thing we can do for the world is to help those who have less.
Young entrepreneurs could have improved their PR skills thanks to Academy stage with Conrad Egusa. With practical demonstrations at the event he aimed to help young businesses in how to present their projects.
Conrad is an investor and the CEO of Publicize which tries to make communication between media and startups more effective saying that media are the first that need to “buy a story” of innovative startup projects.
His knowledge of effective communication is backed by his past co-operations with The Financial Times, Bloomberg and Entrepreneur Magazine. Conrad himself is the owner of few publications as well as a guest editor at TechCrunch.
Part of the stage was reserved for a show which gave a chance to choose teams to pitch their projects to big media partners in front of an audience with Conrad giving them very valuable feedback. Many of his ideas can be found on a Publicize community blog.
Steli is becoming an iconic speaker as he was invited for the 4th time to speak at the festival:
He is the CEO and co-founder of Close.io – a company that develops a sales software for startups. As a professional salesman he helps thousands of projects in scaling, sales, and modeling their businesses.
This year he presented 7 deadly sins of demo videos talking about what is important in demo videos and, on the other hand, what makes a potential customer or investor to turn away. Right there, he helped a group of 5 startups to pitch their projects so they would get an attention. Thus they could improve their presentation skills and gather valuable contacts on stage.
Dirk Ahlborn & Bibop Gresta
The Slovak community was probably most interested in the visit of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies delegation. Dirk Ahborn and Bibop Gresta came here a year after their first visit and they presented an innovation that should get them closer to the realization of Bratislava – Vienna Hyperloop connection – a material called Vibranium brought on the market by the carbon-fibre component company C2i from Slovakia focusing mostly on the automotive industry.
Slovak government is the only one in the world at the moment that signed the Letter of Intent with Hyperloop Transporation Technologies to participate on the research for Bratislava-Vienna Hyperloop feasibility study. Both speakers also invited everybody to meet once more this summer at Bratislava airport on July 6th to experience Digital Innovation Challenge! More information here.
Sure, the whole event had a higher purpose. For seven finalists it was a time of preparation for the pitch show, where they had a chance to receive funding of €500 000. The award by SpeedInvest was given to Pleo, fintech startup from Denmark. They will receive a funding for their financial software together with an opportunity to attend Red Bull High Performance Center Experience in California. Moreover, Harald Mahrer, a state secretary for Austrian Ministry of Economy offered his personal time to mentor the winners on how to boost their project. An award itself was presented by a Hollywood star Maggie Grace, known from Lost and Taken movie series.
Guestblog by Patricia Zitnakova and Matus Zahradnik, students of Nexteria Leadership Academy and co-organizers of Night of Chances. Night of Chances is the biggest students conference which aims to connect attractive Slovak businesses with ambitious business and technology students. For more information, click here.