#StartUpSelfie #29

Springtime calls for traveling… And exploring new startup communities. It’s been almost five years, since the last time I was in this beauty called Vienna. Years have passed, things have changed, but that amazing vibe still remains in this city, that I’ve totally forgotten about. Sunny with a feels of ‘summer-ish days’ were playing in favor for my overall experience. The community is so well developed, so the question was, where to start?

The first thing when it comes to Vienna, that popped up in my mind is Pioneers… Some months ago, in my hometown, I had the pleasure to meet Jürgen Furian the Co-Founder and share his story through #StartUpSelfie #11.

This time around, in the eyes of the Pioneers Festival 5th anniversary, while on my short trip to Vienna, I was super excited to stop by their HQ’s and to meet the Managing Director of Pioneers Events, the lovely Natalie Thonhauser. If you are interested to find out what the future will bring, who are the game-changing startups, then you too should be in Vienna, 24-25 May for The Event where tech innovators build the network to succeed. Warm welcoming as soon as I entered the room in Palais Eschenbach and super amazing team spirit as they were concluding with their meeting. We grabbed a cup of tea with Natalie and I was eager to learn more about how did her story started around entrepreneurship and with Pioneers.

“My family has an entrepreneurial background, so you could say that I was ‘infected’ quite early with the whole concept. Even though I’m into art and design, and my background is in that field, soon after my consultancy period in NYC, I wanted to come back to Austria and try to combine these two fields of interest of mine. The thing that I know and that drives me is an eclectic mixture of technology, art and design and leadership. So when I returned home, I was introduced to the Startup Live Events and Tim proposed to me to join and I believe it was the perfect opportunity and timing. From there, since the beginning in the Pioneers core team are Andreas,  Jürgen, Tim and I, where we were able to be creative, without hierarchy and shape the whole atmosphere. Now, when we are organizing the Festival for the 5th year, we can proudly say that it has grown in quality a lot. You get this ‘melting pot’ once a year, at one place, where the brightest people from any background get together to connect and collaborate. We also organize smaller industry events, throughout the year in different cities in Asia, Middle East, USA and we are thrilled to see many of the speakers, partners and participants join the grand finale at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna. For this year’s anniversary we’ve taken a bit different approach, where we are providing free access to the TOP 500 international startups, out of around 3000 applications we have received. They are coming from 7 different eco-systems and will have the opportunity to showcase their work in front of 300 investors, 350 executives and more than 150 international media representatives. ” – says Natalie.

Let the countdown begin, as in just one week, Pioneers Festival 2016 will begin. I am truly amazed by their work and how the whole team works hard to make all this happen! Getting excited for attending is understandable at this point, but I was interested to find out what is Natalie most excited about for this year’s Pioneers and what is the most important thing that young entrepreneurs should focus on.

“It is our 5th anniversary and we have prepared many exciting surprises. A novelty for this year is our program about Supercharging Tech by Supercharging Women, which I am really proud of. Personally, I’m looking forward to check out the biotech, life-science startups and all human related topics. Also among all the amazing speakers, we have the Siri creators Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, that will have their European premiere  of  VIV – the “world-changing A.I.” at #Pioneers16. We are all looking forward to provide an everlasting experience to anyone that will attend. What I hope is that when Pioneers comes to your mind, is connected with the humble speakers that we bring each and every year. That community and family we are trying to build. The programs we create to help the startups to develop and grow. The people we meet, the relationships we build. And for all the young entrepreneurs, from what I have experienced, by far, the most important thing is to get the inputs from experts in the field you want to work. Market knowledge exchange of what you want to tackle can be key to developing in the right direction. Don’t hesitate to connect with a certain expert and always ask about everything that can help in solving your puzzle.” – adds Natalie.

Let’s see what the future might look like with the most promising startups at this years Pioneers Festival. The date is approaching and there are only few tickets left, so you better get your tickets today! It is a real pleasure to have met Natalie and I really enjoyed our conversation. Even though, our meeting was in probably the most hectic period of the year for the Pioneers team, I’m very thankful that we were able to meet and discuss about what #MakesYouPioneer. Looking forward to experiencing the biggest startup festival for the first time, catching-up with the team, learning, connecting and collaborating…

See you soon in Vienna,

Cheers

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