Things will get going in just a few days. On September 18, 2017, 52 startups from 14 countries will move into weXelerate – Europe’s largest innovation center. This initial group, which qualified from the more than 1,000 applications submitted for the accelerator program, consists of 23 Austrian startups as well as 20 others from Germany (9), Great Britain (5), Czech Republic (4), Poland (2), Canada, France, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and the USA.
It is going global. And this is precisely how CEO Hassen Kirmaci planned it. Startups from all across Europe and the world are coming to Vienna in order to move their founding idea, product and young company ahead at weXelerate. An accelerator in founding slang is a place and a program, where startups concentrate on hoisting their companies to the next level (or two steps ahead at once) as quickly as possible. At weXelerate they do this while being embedded in an ecosystem of top mentors, industry experts and investors. “weXelerate has two focal points. We are an innovation center and a multi-corporate hub. Here large companies from industries such as the media, banking, insurance, energy and Industry 4.0 are on board”, Kirmaci says.
Just one year ago Vienna was hardly on the radar screen as an international startup hub. This perception has turned around in only a few months. According to experts, the entire ecosystem is working on bringing international startups to Austria. Vienna is the world’s most important site for the development of chatbots next to Austin and Berlin. The leading international technology and startup media Techcrunch named Austria the emerging “early stage capital” of Europe. Thanks to attractive funding and low living costs, Vienna is considered to be a good place to establish a startup and raise it in every phase when initial customers are lured and risk venture capitalists display interest.
A high caliber startup and innovation center like weXelerate is accelerating this dynamic situation, considering that it attracts international talents and raises the bar higher by selecting the very best. By the way, the importance of startups for Austria as a business location cannot be emphasized enough. Ten years from now the most successful of them will rank among the top companies in the country – innovative, profitable, internationally positioned and competitive.
A lot has happened. A lot more needs to be done. The imperial and royal bureaucracy and chatbots don’t mesh. The speed of government reform will have to adjust to that of startups. The frequently cited Darwinism for startups also applies to business locations. Any business location will become obsolete if it fails to change and adapt. If Austria wants to keep pace in international competition for the smartest startups and brightest minds, then everyone in the ecosystem will have to cooperate to attract startups to Vienna and keep them here. It is well known that startups are quick – and can also leave quickly.