On 24th of May, the famous Pioneers Festival is to open again for the international community of startuppers and tech innovators in Vienna, Austria. As usually, the event will be held at Hofburg Imperial Palace and welcome around 2500 brightest and the most outstanding personalities from more than 100 countries. Within its 5th special anniversary edition, Pioneers Festival introduces new selection rules to make sure that only top quality startups, corporates, and investors will be present at the meetup: for the first time, potential participants need to apply for the event. Pioneers’ founders Andreas Tschas and Jürgen Furian comment on this new approach: “We create the world where tech innovators have the network to succeed.”
If you, for some reason, have never heard of the Pioneers Festival and their Pioneers500 Program, it is worth visiting the Pioneers website. In short, Pioneers500 is an annual program supporting 500 global innovative startup tech companies that are carefully selected by the key local ecosystem players and representatives of such famous accelerators and institutions as 500 Startups, Index Ventures, Techstars, HAX, Accel, Valar, Startupbootcamp, and Indiebio. The lucky members are provided with free Festival entrances for two team representatives, giving them an access to additional mentoring sessions, connections with investors, corporations, and media. Not to mention amazing networking and cooperation opportunities. Besides, startups can compete for the title of ‘Pioneeer of the Year’ by applying for the Pioneers Challenge. The applications were accepted by 30th of March and should have matched the basic selection criteria: startups were supposed to present an innovative product or service that has not raised over 3 million euros by now. Pioneers500 startups are then shortlisted to top 70, out of which 7 best tech companies compete for the title of ‘Pioneer of the Year’.
Here is a short overview of Pioneers Festival 2016.
This year Pioneers has defined seven industry clusters – so-called Pioneers Ecosystems – that will be represented by startups literally from all over the world:
- Business & Productivity
- Financial Services
- Lifestyle & Entertainment
- Mobility &Transportation
- Materials & Manufacturing
- Life Sciences & Agtech
- Energy & Utilities.
In addition, all the latest technologies and innovative solutions connected with robotics, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, lifi, the blockchain, 3D printing will be demonstrated.
Pioneers Festival 2016 will be organized the following way:
May 22 – Mentors Day
Here top 70 startups finalize their pitch training. These startups are also given online mentoring with a minimum of two 1 hour sessions. On Mentors Day startups are given 3 minutes to pitch followed by a 4 minute Q & A session. During this day’s events startups are also given workshops and lectures on various topics such as crowdfunding or negotiation. Mentors include investors and business coaches.
May 23 – Challenge Day
Challenge Day is when all Top 70 startups pitch and exhibit vis-a-vis hand selected investors. Based on the startup’s performance on Challenge Day they then might be eligible to pitch on the Arena Stage at the Pioneers Festival. By the end of Challenge Day, the startups are narrowed down to the Top 14 which then becomes the Top 7 for the Festival.
May 24-25 – The Main Event Day: stages and highlights
This is the center of all inspirational content. Here we see launches, VIPs & superstars, product demos, big announcements, the Pioneers Challenge Final pitches, the opening and the closing show, as well as the main award ceremonies.
As the name says, the core focus is on educational content like all the “How to” talks how to pitch a VC, how to convince the media, how to grow a team, how to sell to corporates, etc. Furthermore, there are also some “fun” sessions like ROASTED, Investors Feud, Media Pitch, and much more.
The Spotlight sessions are 50min sessions dedicated to one specific topic, and most often sponsored sessions including governments and larger corporations.
This is the smallest Pioneers room with a capacity of ~30 participants. Here they do ~1h sessions dedicated to one topic often some are a bit different like a product development workshop. It’s set up as a classroom, thus, the participants really can interact and learn.
The Forum is the meeting place for 200 corporate innovators, executives, investors, and startups at Vienna’s Pioneers Festival, Europe’s leading event for entrepreneurship and future technologies. The Forum is an event for executives working at the intersection of the corporate and startup worlds. It is designed to give corporations insights and tools for enhancing their innovation capabilities and to network and exchange thoughts with startups and colleagues of their specific ecosystem.
Each ecosystem has an exhibition area where startups and businesses can showcase their products and work. There will be about 50 startups a day exhibiting, each day different startups so check them out daily! For these startups you can interact, interview and chat with them at their exhibition area, no request needed.
Here are some tech exhibitors that will be available for the entire festival: ICAROS, Ebove, Onobikes, Biobot, Photoneo, Free electric bike, Ultrahaptics.
This year some highlighted partners for the Pioneers Festival include (but are not limited to): Konica Minolta, Cisco, PWC, Vodafone, AWS, FFG, KUKA, and Wirecard.
300 investors – renowned venture capital funds, accelerators, business angels, corporate venture arms, and M&A boutiques – will gather in Vienna. These include for example Y Combinator, Accel, DFJ, 8VC, Salesforce Ventures, Techstars, Seedcamp, Index Ventures, 500 Startups, Qualcomm Ventures, Profounders Capital, Notion Capital, Northzone, IndieBio, HAX, Startupbootcamp, Rockstart, Binary Capital, Google, Robert Bosch VC, Wayra, Balderton Capital, Level39, Finleap, and many more.
As you can see, something really big is to happen at the end of May in Vienna, something that will create another exciting vibe for the whole European ecosystem. In case, you cannot make it this year or already missed the application deadline, it is worth following the Pioneers Festival news and join next year!
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