Austria · 4 Days · 38 Moments · August 2013

Andreas Roettl

Exploring the Viennese Startup Scene

12 August 2013

The best way to end a long night is the Würstelstand Vienna is famous for its street stands that are open 24/7. There you get the traditional Austrian Fast Food like "Käsekrainer" spelled [Kas-a-Kriner] with typical bread, mustard and ketchup. This is a special sausage with cheese inside and worth tasting. One of the best stands is at Hoher Markt in the city center, but there are also others in front of the Opera House and one in front of the Albertina called Bitzinger, offering you THE Vienna experience for after hours.
Karaoke time It has become the ultimate team activity for startups and is already a tradition at Pioneers to regularly visit the most popular Karaoke bar in town: Singyoursong. In a cellar close to the Opera House you can listen to lost talents and sing your own favorite songs. The bar keeper has everything to support you to get into the right mood. If you are a group with more than 10 people make sure to book a table. It can get quite crowded around 10pm in the evenings.
Prater Sauna Former sauna, transformed into one of the most prominent clubs in Vienna nowadays. The old architecture meets the hip and artsy refurbishment and the pool in the garden - perfect to relax outdoors on summer afternoons and beautifully lit up at night for a great atmosphere. This is a beloved hangout and dancing spot for entrepreneurs all over Vienna to just end a crazy week with a crazy night!
Grelle Forelle - The In-Club Hip, loud, different. Located next to a parking garage, priding themselves with the craziest parties, Grelle Forelle needs to be mentioned in our startup guide. Yes, Austrian entrepreneurs do party - and if so, with style ;)
WerkzeugH - The startup restaurant The founders of this legendary bar and restaurant mostly frequented by students of the Vienna University of Technology are an architect and coder who adapted the former tool shop "Werkzeug Huber". It's a really cool and creative place. Inside you feel like sitting in a living room. During the summer you could also sit outside in the pub garden. You can find the daily menu on the website where a webcam is making a hourly update. On Sundays the offer breakfast. You can choose from 10 different breakfast boxes. Then you can prepare everything at one of the do-it-yourself-stations. Check out the offers and how-to videos:
Cáfe Prückel - The bohemian coffee shop The atmosphere in Café Prückel is amazing. Immerse yourself in the Old Vienna, the fin de siècle - enjoy a stopover in this almost timeless place. Typical newspaper racks, formally dressed and very attentive waiters, chandeliers and a view of Vienna's beautiful Ringstrasse. The people there are an interesting mixture of young and old, you might hear elder women gossiping about their dogs, or young entrepreneurs discussing business plans. It's the perfect place to try a Viennese Melange at coffee time and enjoy the cool traditional, but hip place.
Motto am Fluss - Breakfast with style If you're striving more closeness to the Danube, enjoying a breakfast (until 4 pm) and the place's very own bread will help you see Vienna from a new perspective. Next to the café and restaurant there is also the speed boat dock from where you can go to Bratislava if you want to enhance your stay in Vienna with a short trip to our neighbors.
Viereck Where do young entrepreneurs usually eat? Of course, at the most innovative places with the coolest concepts. Well, it's true in this case at least. Viereck is Vienna's first tablet restaurants, brining the whole ordering process to a tablet. The waiters only serve food and you will have to pay them - but there is a certain efficient atmosphere you feel when sitting with your tablet in your hand, filtering the menu for gluten free or vegetarian dishes.
Café Europa Really relaxing and nice place to come to and enjoy some quiet drinks. Cafe Europe is located within close distance to the Mariahilfer Straße and therefore also next to many many other bars, making it the starting spot for fun bar hopping nights. It's frequented by people from the startup scene, but also students, giving it a thriving but really relaxing atmosphere.
We call it the Star(tup)bucks Actually it is a shame for Vienna with all its traditional coffee houses, that a lot of startups have lately come to work in the Starbucks at the end of the Mariahilfer Straße. Still, the cosy atmosphere, free wifi and air-conditioning are some strong arguments, and a lot of startups settled around the Startu(p)bucks., Diagnosia, mysugr, 9yards are some good examples! If you don't want to wait for a free seat you should be there early. The vivid area around the MQ (Museumsquartier) is a great place to have meetings and work outside the office.

11 August 2013

Labers Lab - Build Hardware Being inside the maker community of Laber's Lab offers you the chance to take workshops and hand-on courses to create and make stuff. There are different events, but every second Wednesday you can come by around 7 pm and get introduced to the community within a maker workshop.
Gebrüder Stitch Two guys quitting their jobs and giving up their cool flats in order to learn how to "stitch" jeans. They go a new way in textile industry and bring jeans to a whole new level. Need "Radljeans"? The perfect jeans model for bikers, with all the features necessary to enjoy the time cycling around the city. Individual, custom-made, ecological and as socially sustainable as possible - this is what the two self-described "Marketing Fuzzis" and their jeans stand for.
Take pictures like in the old times - Lomography A different kind of startup. In 1991 a group of students in Vienna found a Russian camera with the name "Lomo Kompakt Automat (LC-A). The typical vignette effect, special lighting and the very deep colors made it to an iconic object in the alternative photography world. The community evolving around creative analog photography is growing all around the world and lomography produces fun and exceptional products, which can be found in their shop at the MQ (Museumsquartier).
Helioz - water disinfection with solar energy Supported by various funds and supports from Austrian agencies (like departure) and specializes on the sale of affordable products for low-income households in developing countries. The Austrian social enterprise focuses on water disinfection in order to make drinkable water accessible for people all over the world.
Die Angewandte - Design for tomorrow The University of Applied Arts has been home for creative minds for more than a decade. To list just three examples: architect Zaha Hadid, Frog Founder Hartmut Esslinger or fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. Majors are organized in small studios of about 50 students to guarantee a high quality. Per semester only 5-10 new students are accepted for enrollment. These students have to pass a multiple day assessment center. Each semester the students are working on new projects and often building the complete products. The university offers a huge arsenal of workshops with special tools and tutors who help the students.
3D printing, laser cutting and more - HappyLab the maker's space Learn how to use a 3D printer, a laser cutter and many more with all the different workshops offered for free at HappyLab. For a monthly fee of only € 3, you can be part of this cool community and use the machines in the space for your projects. Wednesdays at 7 pm you can stop by for an introduction evening - no registration necessary!
LOFFICE The artsy coworking space offering creative space for creative ideas! A design office transformed into a gathering place for thriving creatives and an awesome event location! Started in Budapest, Hungary the founders were pioneers in the coworking field and brought their concept to Vienna.

10 August 2013

WU Vienna - Little MIT Campus for biz students Totally redesigned and on a new campus looking a little bit like a spaceship the University of Economics in Vienna (WU) launched into the fall semester 2013/14. The campus tries to copy the American concept and is a huge area with different parts - which are also designed by different architects. We do recommend stopping by and saying hello to the busy students hurrying around in suits with fancy laptop bags ;)
The social impact award The social impact award is a competition for the best social entrepreneurship project from teams with at least 50% students participation. The award runs every year and offers prizes in cash to realise ideas and an awesome network around the HUB coworking spaces.
Meet the nerds at metalab Having the reputation of being the truly nerdy place, Metalab is the conjunction of developers loving to meet up and hack on the next big thing. It was one of the first hacker spaces of the world and is still proud of this inofficial title, doors are usually open during normal developer working hours: 3 pm until midnight ;)
departure departure is Vienna's creative agency and a successfull example of creative innovation funding addressing young creatives who want to make an impact in the business world. They do support not only artistic projects but also cultural and innovative ideas, striving to enhance the Viennese economy in a creative and different way.
Hub Vienna - Social entrepreneurship heroes The social coworking space in Vienna, offering a collaborative environment with a strong community revolving around social startups, non-profits and people just trying to make the world a better place. Amazing atmosphere, a lot of events are hosted there too - stop by for a coffee and say hello!
The incubator and the VC The top floor of an old brick building is home to i5invest, the only privately-run incubator in Vienna and the venture capital company speed invest. Both run by founders of Xidris later 3united, one of the first providers for mobile communication services, which was sold to VeriSign for € 50 million. Markus Wagner (CEO, i5invest) is one of the few investors in Austria and claims to be one of the pioneers in Austria building huge parts of the ecosystem. He invested in startups like 123people, tripwolf, tupalo, wikitude or kochabo. At i5invest they are looking for entrepreneurs in residence to execute 2-3 projects per year. His former partner Oliver Holle is CEO at speed invest. They call themselves a super angel fund (30 private investors) with a fund size of € 10 million. They invest up to € 500k per startup. Their portfolio includes local startups like: Wikifolio, usersnap, Shpock or indoors.
Clusterhaus and Alpsventures Three friends and investors founded the newest co-working space in Vienna, the Clusterhaus. For € 6,50 per square meter per month you can be part of the Clusterhaus family. They also run a small investment company called Alpsventures with offices in Vienna and Singapore. Max Scheichenost and Markus Pichler built the Austrian arm of the Groupon clone DailyDeal, which was acquired by Google for more than € 100 million. ​The third in the trio is Dirk van Quaquebeke, who started several companies and served as partner at i5invest founding kochabo.
Zelda, Pac-Man, Lemmings and co @ TU Vienna This is where the IT students of the Vienna University of Technology meet to do their homework and assignments. The rooms are named after some of the first computer games like famous Zelda or Pac-Man. Before the upcoming of the hacker space Metalab it was the cradle of a lot of IT startups, but it's still a frequented space and the perfect place to find developers.
Pioneers Festival - Not another web conference but a true festival What started with a budget of € 200 and a bunch of tech and biz students is now one of the biggest startup events in Europe. Once a year from 30th to 31st October the Pioneers Festival opens its doors at the impressive Imperial Palace in Vienna. Well-known entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, tech experts and representatives of the international press come together to give talks, network and party together. The team of Pioneers knows how to create a unique and unforgettable atmosphere: The mix of an awesome audience, great speakers, show acts like RedBull Art of Motion, the own Pioneers beer, the Pioneers Award which is like the Oscar for startups and legendary after-show parties make the festival a must for everyone in the scene. Check out youtube videos from the last Pioneers Festival to get a feeling.
Sektor5 - creative hacker space and event hot spot What's the RocketSpace in San Francisco or Betahaus in Berlin is the Sektor5 in Vienna. It was one of the first co-working spaces in Austria and has been birthplace to many successful companies like qriously, blossom, Codeship or mysugr. The team around Yves Schultze will welcome you when you enter through the door full with typical Startup stickers. The lounge looks a bit like a Starbucks coffee shop - a large kitchen bar & supercool vintage furniture will make you feel comfortable. Around the corner on 600 square meters more than 40 startups are working on the next big thing between orange lockers, plants and stylish accessories like an old typewriter, giving the place a special charm. On sunny days the terrace calls to sit outside. Sektor5 is host to most Startup meetups in Vienna. At least on 3 days a week it's getting crowded. Have a beer, listen to tech talks and network.
mySugr - the diabetes app mySugr the diabetes management app is a motivating and fun way which helps you control diabetes. The team is the winner of the first Pioneers Festival in Vienna and a true rising star of the Austrian startup economy. With offices in Vienna and San Francisco they are also among the few startups that managed to become international. Together with the mobile app development company 9yards they share one of the coolest startup offices in the city at Hutfabrik and of course they have a table soccer table completing the startup office feel.

9 August 2013

Safe some money and take a city bike Vienna was one of the first cities to install public bike stations where you can rent a bike for free for the first hour. The next hour costs €1 and the third hour costs €2 and every following hour costs €4. You can give it back at any of the over 100 stations across the city. If you pause for 15min after a ride you can rent a new bike (again - first hour for free). You only pay € 1 the first time you register. If the weather is nice there is no better, cheaper and faster way to discover the city. Be sure to get a bike with gear change. The bikes are quite heavy and Vienna is sometimes quite hilly.
The island with WiFi During the summer heatwave some companies flee to the Donauinsel to work outside and enjoy the provided free wifi, electricity and ability to go swimming throughout the day. Lovely working days - we at miavia ourselves took advantage of this cool outdoors office.
TEDx Vienna TEDx events, the local, self-organised events with "ideas worth spreading" in mind of course also came to Austria. We are proud host of various TEDx events, as innovative and new idea just need to be spread around Vienna.
MQ - The creative space for entrepreneurs 2.0 Another place which is super-popular in summer to come and work from for young companies. Be it meetings at one of the hip bars, be it hanging out in the sun while sending some emails. MQ is the cultural hotspot for the 20-something generation and a beloved startup scene hotspot!
Ready for some shopping? Apple or Windows? Going down the Mariahilfer Straße from the Starkbucks you will find McShark on the right side. The Austrian version of the original Apple Store. It is the largest in Austria and an authorized Apple service provider. A true paradise for all Apple fans. For those who require a Windows key or need more digital freedom may get lucky at DiTech. Since they partnered with the Bookshop Thalia you can find them also in the Mariahilfer Straße near the subway station U3 - Zieglergasse.
Have a rest at the legendary Naschmarkt Do you know those vivid oriental markets? Picture one of those and put it into a Western city of the 21st century - voilá the Naschmarkt. Here you can find everything from exotic fruits, herbs, nuts, meat and fish to clothes. Although you hardly see people bargaining, you should give it a try, the sellers are entrepreneurs themselves and like it. Coming from Karlsplatz there are a lot of restaurants, bars and cafes, like Neni or Tewa to name two of the coolest. If you love good white wine, you should try a "Hugo". It is a sparkly wine drink with mint and elder sirup. The Naschmarkt also somehow contributed to the Austrian startup history: The local startup Shpock, a marketplace itself made a good part of its first user acquisitions at the yard sale at the end of the market. Now it is one of the biggest mobile platforms for selling things.
Having lunch like a local entrepreneur There are several options at sektor5: 1) If you're lucky someone is cooking for the whole crowd and you can join for € 6. Usually two meals are offered (meat/veggie) 2) If you're not that hungry, you might consider visiting the most famous Turkish Bakery in Vienna - outside on the right, offering a lot of Turkish specialities. 3) You may also go to the supermarket "Billa" at Siebenbrunnenplatz and try an Austrian Fastfood classic called "Leberkässemmel" spelled [Laber-kes-saml]. Look for the counter with all the sausages, hams and cheese and order one with ketchup or mustard. It will cost about € 2. 4) Last but not least you might want to try - the largest food delivery platform in Austria. The staff at sektor5 will be happy to assist you and share their favorite restaurants with you.
Visit the founders of miavia If you're at Sektor5 don't forget to say hello to the miavia team. You'll find us coding, designing and dreaming about how to make miavia awesome for our users, or planning our own trips ;) We're always happy to meet and chat with you guys, as grabbing a Makava at the lounge area is our favorite reason for a break!
Get an airbnb apartment in Vienna If you want to get to know our local culture, there is no way around airbnb. The best neighborhoods for this adventure are the districts: 2. to 9. Still, watch out, the 2nd and 3rd districts are huge, try to get an accommodation near to the city center. Another possibility might be where you can connect to local entrepreneurs and business people to stay with. Last but not least you can always post to "Austrian Startup Pinwall" on Facebook, the Austrian startup scene is full of driven and crazy people, loving to get to know like-minded entrepreneurs from all over the world.
How to get around With one of the densest public transport networks in Europe, it can be intimidating and confusing at the beginning (e.g. lots of one-way streets on bus lines), but it’s easy to hop on a tram or a bus in the city or to catch the metro. Make sure to invest in a weekly/monthly/semester ticket from the beginning - €2 per single metro/bus/tram ride is expensive on the long run! Something you might want to use is "qando", the mobile app of Vienna’s public transport as Google Maps hasn’t really gotten how the complex system in Vienna works yet ;) Extra: During the night, there are night buses and on weekends the subway runs 24h, within the Ringstrasse - the street that circles the city center - everything is in walking distance.