Austrian culture is not easy to describe. It has highlights of tradition and modernity, rural and urban, monarchical and mundane, sophistication and pragmatism, irony and skepticism.
Technology and science research is incentivized not only by the Austrian government and universities, but also within the private sector. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, leading many citizens of this alpine country to open their own business.
According to the Austrian Startup Monitor survey of 2018, the current business situation is considered good to excellent by more than half of the startup owners, while the vast majority (87%) is planning to hire new employees in the next 12 months.
The three most important financing sources are founder’s own savings (81%), public subsidies (55%) and business angels (33%). They contribute to job generation significantly as the average startup has 8.2 employees.
With a small internal market of less than 10 million consumers, 42% of Austrian startups are born global, that is, they have been created to service the international market. Moreover, 75% of the surveyed startups have already launched their products globally.
The Austrian government has also increased its efforts to support entrepreneurs, structuring a comprehensive startup programme in 2016 to make the country attract more startups to set up shop there.
As the country produces several new good startups per year, it was challenging to list only 10. Some of the startups already made our list last year or in 2017, but others are here for the first time.
Newsadoo – Based in Linz and founded in 2017, Newsadoo uses Artificial Intelligence to personalize your news. It does this by partnering with publishers around the world to bring you one news subscription in the form of an app, including premium content from special sources. The app collects news and articles from newspapers, radio broadcasts, TV stations and online portals and uses AI to create a news feed with content interesting to the reader, combining news from different sources but about the same topic into “bundles”. In 2019, RLB OÖ invested €2 million shared between both Newsadoo and 7lytix.
Cashpresso – Founded in September 2016, this fintech’s financing solution already has more than 10,000 customers in Germany and Austria. Having attracted €6.2 million in investment already, Cashpresso links customers, merchants and banks to offer consumer finance, that is, the possibility of buying products in installments. For e-commerce merchants, Cashpresso helps increase traffic and conversion rate. Easy to integrate, it is a straightforward way to boost sales. In 2018, the startup raised €3.1 million in Series A funding, in 2019 it gained an investment in the millions from Volkswagen Bank, and in 2020 aims to launch its own credit card.
Jobrocker – JobRocker is an online job search portal that connects applicants’ CVs with job openings, using a proprietary algorithm and human-driven consulting work. The Vienna-based startup was founded in 2016 by Günther Strenn. JobRocker aims to close the gap between headhunters and recruitment agencies and offers a new concept in an old market, as it enables clients to harness the power of automated matching with human-driven consulting for hiring. JobRocker raised €1.3 million in a Series A round in November 2017, led by Surplus Invest.
Storyblok – Storyblok, founded in 2017, is a Headless Content Management System that helps developers and content creators. The startup solves the problem of managing digital content with a headless CMS, which be a difficult task. Storyblok makes the process simple by offering the user the experience of a page builder with a modern headless architecture. This gives the developer freedom and the editor a self-explaining and intuitive interface. The startup raised 2.24 million in December 2019, from firstminute, capital300 and Founders Factory.
Byrd – The Vienna-based startup Byrd, founded in 2016, offers a first mile shipping service which allows customers to ship items completely hassle free. They pick up the items, package and ship them with the best carrier for a small service fee. Their simple and effective logistics solution is used by e-commerce shops that were previously wasting resources on the shipping process and now can enjoy the order fulfillment level of logistics giants like Amazon and Zalando. In 2016, Byrd secured €370K in seed funding, and in 2018, raised a seven-figure investment from Speedinvest x and Reflex Capital.
Music Traveler – Music Traveler, founded in 2017, is a marketplace that centralizes spaces with musical instruments and equipment for the creative industry. Its mission is to promote the creation, appreciation, and interest in music by reducing barriers and facilitating new interactions. Starting at just 3€/hour, Music Traveler, who we included in our 2019 music tech startups to watch article, has rooms for all levels and types of music, and is available as an app on Android and iOS. World-renowned investors and ambassadors include Billy Joel, Hans Zimmer, Sean Lennon, Adrien Brody, and John Malkovich, just to name a few.
PAYUCA – Founded in 2015 in Vienna, this startup provides flexible access to parking spaces in private office and residential buildings, opening up a completely new resource for public parking. Car drivers can choose to rent spaces by the hour, or by weeks. Its innovative gateway system, installed in each PAYUCA garage, which enables smartphone users to open the garage door via Bluetooth. In 2019, they released their new app refresh and opened new parking spaces across Vienna. The company is backed by private investors and Wiener Wirtschaftsagentur (economic agency of Vienna).
Refurbed – Refurbed is one of the fastest growing marketplaces for refurbished electronics, across the German-speaking world. The Vienna-based platform, which was founded in 2017, sells renewed phones, laptops and tablets, which go through a 40-step refurbishing process. Items are up to 40% cheaper and more environmentally friendly than brand new items, coming with a 12-month guarantee. We included the startup in both our list of top Vienna-based and Circular Economy startups to watch, with it raising 2 million of investment in August 2019.
Presono – The Linz-based startup was founded in 2015 by Martin Behrens, Hannes Freudenthaler and Martin Luftensteiner. Presono is a web platform for the whole process of creating, managing and showing presentations in companies. It offers central data management, a more flexible way of presenting, and analyses all tracked data to generate helpful statistics, as it aims to enable highly flexible presentations. They raised €1 million in May 2017 and named Lukas Keller, ex-Microsoft Austria board member, as CEO in 2019.
Blockpit – Founded in 2017 in the city of Hagenberg, Blockpit develops software for portfolio tracking, tax calculation and compliance reporting of transactions for cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets. Most crypto currency traders often are unaware about taxes on profits of crypto trades, however the platform allows users to check origin and make precise tax declarations. The startup raised €2.3 million in July 2019 from angel investors and its token offering.
By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!