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Today is the first day at the Startup Week in Vienna, and here is my alas an incomplete report.
It is hard to get through the crowd of participants at the Startup Week Vienna, this is how full it is. During the presentations this morning there was no spare seats and many attendants had to stand at the back of the room.
The event takes place at the heart of Vienna, in a beautiful building of Haus der Industrie. In fact the stateliness of this palace is hardly suitable for tech entrepreneurs who looked much better against a background of a scrapyard at the European Pirate Summit in Cologne. Not that I think that a place for entrepreneurs is on the scrapyard, but the opulence of Haus Der Industrie is almost overwhelming.
My objectives during these three days is to meet Eastern European entrepreneurs and to connect with tech investors in the region.
Here is a quick summary, written on my iPad (apologies for any misspelling and missing links).
Coming here as a blogger and therefore a member of the press, I had a chance attend a press conference with Lars Hinrichs of HackFwd, Pascal Finette of Mozilla Labs and Frank Thelen from German Venture Fund E24. In a format, where we the press stood in front of the seated interviewees (squashed on one sofa) was somewhat bizzare, but the discussion was a good one. The main points were the improtance to think global, and why young risk-taking entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed compared to experienced but securely employed executives.
And then it has began. Meetings, discussions, more meetings, crashing a camera on the floor which was later fixed by Gerzson Huszar from Mixgar, more photos and more meetings… and presentations of course. Morten Lund, delivered a fantastic keynote, an honest and realistic account of what entrepreneurship amounts to, discussing the fears, the joys and the hard work that goes along with building the company.
It was good to see some interest to the CEE panel although there were plently of free seats in the smaller “Stage” room I must admit. Probably because the parallel track called “Is the VC model dead?” gathered all those concerned about the fate of this alledgedly dying industry (meant sarcastically). Ivan Brezak Brkan moderated the panel of speakers which included Branko Milutinovic from Nordeus (bootstrapped and profitable social gaming company which employs 40 people in Serbia), Viktor Marohnic from ShoutEm (a tool for mobile application development, created by Croatian Five Minutes), Vladimir Nikolić from Limundo and two VCs Jure Mikuz from Slovenian RSG Capital and Pekka Maeki from 3TS.
As for the other speeches, Vukašin Stojkov (who looks much healthier in real life than on his instagram-“improved” social network picture) has written his own account of the event here. He asked me to remove his smiling picture from my blog and I had to oblige.
If I counted them correctly, an amazing number of 7 out of 10 shortlisted startups come from eastern Europe (loosely and academically incorrectly used for post-socialist countries). Tomorrow we will be listening to the pitches from:
I look forward for the second day of the Startup Week, and in the mean time some pictures from today.
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vita at goaleurope dot com