- Date: 14 – 17 June 2012
- Venue: Microsoft HQ, Vienna
- Participants: 70
- Mentors: 12
- Judges: 5
- Final Pitches: 12
Grabbing the momentum Startup Live Vienna 6 generated not even three months ago, we realized there is too much going on in and around this city to not channel these ideas and bring them together for a seventh time round. So once again Startup Live Vienna set foot into the fantastic Microsoft Headquarters – the same address (as for previous events) but an entirely new venue! Microsoft had pimped the place up. You could tell they picked up some serious cash to make this a wonderful space that fosters both creativity and the diligence to work three days straight. And work everyone did!
As Startup Live aficionados, you are all probably aware that Startup Live is a three-day experience taking place throughout an entire weekend. So since when do weekends start on a Thursday? Well, ever since the Pre-Pitch Day at Startup Live Vienna 6 had been the huge success it was. So what did we do? We added an entire evening session dedicated to the startups, dedicated to pitching their ideas, because (as cliche as it sounds) without ideas none of this would even be remotely possible. Can held a pitching workshop, which was followed by an input session – pitchers were encouraged to ask for individual feedback on their pitch, had time to digest this input and could prepare for the final showdown. An expert panel then selected the twelve most viable ideas for the weekend.
Friday afternoon we opened as usual with our 90 seconds elevator pitches. The twelve best teams selected at pre-pitch day – Acloudant, BRAG, GOwithBEE, Happy Patient, Instant Feedback, LTD10, miavia, my-career.at, Solutio, targective, V-Play, and Wazzup2day – pitched their ideas and inspired participants to join their team. The teams could chitchat over dinner to get to know each other and in case that hadn’t been enough, after dinner each of the teams was given a couple of blocks of lego with the goal to build a story – within 30 minutes – of what their startup is trying to solve. We saw some ridiculously funny stories! And Come on – who doesn’t love lego?!
Once play time was over, it was lean time. Over the weekend the teams’ focus was set on Lean Startup Methodologies. Lukas Fittl provided invaluable insights in his workshop on how to structure their business idea using the Lean Canvas. If someone asked you what you do on a Friday night and you tell them – “oh just working on a startup” – they’d probably think you are a lunatic. We think you are an awesome lunatic!!!
On a quick side note to give you a little glimpse of what the general attitude throughout the weekend was like…
one of the teams approached us asking whether they could stay during the night in order to work on their product and catch a few hours of sleep by their desks – that’s exactly the attitude you need if you want to make an impact! Keep in mind that working time was scheduled until 11 pm and mind you breakfast started at 9 am the following morning – on a Saturday.
Saturday 9 am, sunny – no overcast – almost 30 degree centigrade. Each and everyone of the participants was ready to go. Summer had arrived and not one person decided it’d be more convenient to sleep in and go for a swim later on. Everyone was psyched to be here! And for those who were still half asleep, green cup coffee did the rest. Tosh from blossom.io kickstarted with a great morning input session on Customer Development strategies, giving insights on why it is a good idea to talk to your target customer and how to do so. Immediately following that each team was encouraged to go out and find their target customers to interview in order to validate the assumptions they made about their product. Whilst some of the teams were already very familiar with the concept, even others who were completely new to the scene found the feedback – for products that might not actually have (fully) existed yet – extremely useful as it allowed them to pivot at an early stage. The second pillar of the day was the mentoring session, where twelve experts and mentors – amongst others Alexander Seifert, CEO of Pro 3 Games; JD, CEO of meebee; and John Zerihoun, Founder of Imagoflyfishing and Lecturer at Harvard Business School and the University of Innsbruck – grilled the startups and provided individual feedback. After dinner the participants could somewhat relax during a fantastic workshop by our location partner Microsoft – an immensely insightful presentation on Windows 8 – before continuing late into the night.
The teams arrived in the morning with what felt like months of experience gained and just a few minutes to go. The last day meant focus shifted towards final concepts and prototypes that would be presented in the closing pitches. John gave an exceptional morning workshop on presentation techniques and shared a couple of great stories of his own experience as an entrepreneur that fascinated the crowd and boosted everyone’s mood. Each team got super excited to make use of what little time was left and soon the MS HQ turned into a feisty playing field – people were rehearsing presentations, deploying final pieces of code and some were eagerly working on their website to be ready to launch their public beta.
As guests arrived the auditorium was quickly packed. Everyone was ready to go – boom – a fuse had blown. Not just any – the one leading to our indispensable traffic light that signals the speaker how much time is left on the clock. Despite the heated atmosphere we got back to it. That’s how it is – we break things and move forward! The lecture theatre proved a tricky story for the pitchers to say the least… imagine a movie theatre to your left, now imagine one to your right – correct you are facing an audience to your left AND to your right. The tricky part is the judges – Ondrej Bartos, a VC from Credo Ventures; JD, CEO from meebee, Julian Breitenecker, CEO at young enterprises; Michael Schuster from SpeedInvest; and Roland Moser from accent Gründerservice – are seated in the front row to your right but you don’t want to be only facing them do you? Anyways you get the picture and you are probably desperately wondering who the heck won?! It was as close a battle as ever. The Community Award – the team that gained most votes through social media – went to Targective, a mobile app focused on enhancing team productivity through gamification. The Rising Star Award went to – it felt like the Academy Awards – Targective again, who won office space at LOFFICE coworking. So who would finally receive a pair of tickets to our main event – The Pioneers Festival? The much anticipated award for Best Startup, intensely debated by the judges, went to InstantFeedback – a team that impressed not only with their product but also with the fact that they went from idea to launch within five weeks. What they do? Oh, the name is self explanatory. Also, give us feedback – the QR below, that’s InstantFeedback.
To sum it all up: it was probably the hottest experience in town!
Oh and not to forget: a big thank you to our partners: Tecnet, Microsoft, Herbst Kinsky, and Konica Minolta who are supporting the Startup Live Events across Europe. A big shout out to our friends from Wrapstars who provided a delicious evening meal at the pre-pitch day and Feinkoch who catered the heck out of Sunday and enabled the great networking opportunities provided by Herbst Kinsky!