Austria – There are startups in them there mountains!

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With only 8 million people, Austria is not exactly a large country in Europe and until recently the country’s Web/Tech Scene has been correspondingly small. However, it’s getting there. A number of startups have turned up in recent Seedcamps in Berlin and Ljubjana, Slovenia and in fact three Austrian start ups were chosen as finalists in the former city. Years ago this would have been pretty unlikely. With the rise of VCs, government funds and enthusiast entrpreneurs, the Austrian tech scene seems to be experiencing some sort of renaissance.

When looking at Austrian Start-ups there haven’t been any noteworthy exits or internationally viable business the last few years, apart from Austrian Founders who decided to either start their business beyond the Alps (i.e. Last.fm, Martin Stiksel, Co-Founder) or even beyond the Atlantic Ocean (i.e. Jajah, by Roman Scharf & Daniel Mattes). This was most likely due to a lack of infrastructure and a certain “entrpreneurial spirit” within the country.

Highly qualified students, both coming from a business and technical side, decided to go into larger corporations, devoting their work force to Clients or – as indicated above – moving somewhere else. Furthermore the VC industry, especially eary stage funds, had not been established yet. Of course there had and have been several private equity firms and VCs, however none of them had a clearly Web-focused strategy, let alone a portfolio.

Now times seem to be changing – thankfully. There is an active Social Media scene, nationwide Barcamps, Open Coffee Clubs or Mobile Mondays; Entrepreneurs are sprouting around the Country and although being in the midst of a macroeconomic crisis governmental funds such as “Departure” are providing several million dollars for “creative industries”. These developments led to the recent Berlin Seedcamp where Platogo, MendMyPC and Vooch were among it’s finalists.

PLATOGO

Platogo provides a sophisticated platform for flash game developers. While in-browser games such as Quake Live seem to be really kicking off in the next few years, for small development teams and game companies it’s incredibly difficult to build sustainable and large online games, let alone managing revenues or marketing. Platogo wants to change that by being a gaming social net itself and serving an API that lets devs build their own products on top. Revenues are then shared between Platogo and the respective gaming company.

VOOCH

With the rise of mobile devices and it’s endless possibilites, especially the iPhone, couponing services are striving to find their way in and onto the Web. Similar in some respects to Yoose, Vooch enables business to distribute coupons via mobile devices. The service has started in Beta and is now offering a very limited and Austrian focused portfolio of vouchers. The app acts as a managing tool for both companies offering vouchers and users that are able to edit their particular field of interests and location where vouchers can be redeemed. The success of Vooch will be highly dependent on how quickly they are able to acquire business to fill their database of potential vouchers.

MENDMYPC

If you are working in the Web/Tech Scene one of your mates will always ask you for advice when he or she has technical issues with the PC (most likely it’s a PC, not a Mac). That’s where MendMyPc comes into play. Users can create tickets describing their PC problems. This will then slip into an open marketplace where technicians can post their bids. The concept is nothing new and problem solving via genre-related crowd-sourcing has often been proven to work in a variety of other work areas. The website itself looks rather Web 1.0, but hopefully there’l be a re-vamped version soon. Other than that their business model is absolutely clear (commision-per-transcation based) and the demand for such a service is – as most of you probably know – probably rather strong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nico_Thom/778767344 Nico Thom

    I figured the mendmypc guy was from the UK, wouldn’t consider it an Austrian startup just for the phone number. also the vooch example itself is not anything too innovative, as they – which is good – make use of many existing solutions. what I found very impressive – from what I was able to see at seedcamp – was platogo. and I’m sure there is more out there in that country which should not be underestimated due to its size. despite the small population, among them are a lot of smart people. finally, it’s no surprise that many Austrians were among the finalists (an audience award only anyway), as it happened in Berlin. the finalist in the Helsingborg seedcamp were dominated by – surprise – Swedish startups. thanks for the article anyway, it points out that there are regions beyond silcon valley where to expect cool new services from.

    • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

      That’s a bit fucking Nationalistic about the guy from mendmypc. He lives in Austria, is married to an Austrian and may even have kids born in Austria. Are you going to say he’s not Austrian?

      • Nico

        what I say is I wouldn’t consider it an Austrian startup, just because he lives there. he made his experience in the UK, Switzerland and several other countries. as I’m not UK based I don’t see the point of being nationalistic here. soundcloud is not a pure German startup ether, just because they are based in Berlin.

    • http://www.squidoo.com/Slimming-1 Sharon

      8 million is not very small as my country has only 4 million and its one of the popular countries in the world, so you’ll be surprised one day the internet business might be very popular there!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lukas_Zinnagl/2539139 Lukas Zinnagl

    thanks for clarification mike!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher_Clay/727661900 Christopher Clay

    I have a list of Web 2.0 projects from Vienna here: http://soup.c3o.org/post/73926

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nico_Thom/778767344 Nico Thom

      well, THIS I would consider clarification. thanks for the list.

  • http://blarneyfellow.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/links-for-2009-06-19/ links for 2009-06-19 « Blarney Fellow

    […] Austria – There are startups in them there mountains! (tags: startup) […]

  • http://apexwebgaming.com/browse/Lineage-2 John Hamer

    Platogo could start locally too, this will be their niche. It sounds that their is not to many online game developer in their local area. With this niche, they could funnel profits to bigger market.

    Signature: A sacred chamber where gallant clans from veiled realm rally to erudite vast cosmic wisdom. Behold http://apexwebgaming.com/browse/Lineage-2, the sacred chamber.

  • http://dangerouslyawesome.com Alex Hillman

    Also based in Austria, Slash7’s http://letsfreckle.com Freckly Time Tracking

  • Seyi

    just noticed that there is a space in the url for mendmypc and that the url for vooch is http//www.vooch.at

  • Seyi

    just noticed that there is a space in the url for mendmypc and that the url for Vooch should be http//www.vooch.at

  • Seyi

    sorry, that should be

    http://www.vooch.at

  • http://www.virtualgoodz.com/ Simon

    great article Lukas, gratzs !

  • http://startupict.blogspot.com hannes a. schwetz

    i would also add:

    * mobilizy, with their android top 50 project “wikitude”,
    http://www.mobilizy.com/en/wikitude-ein-reisefuhrer

    * mobeedo, another cool location based android project.
    http://www.mobeedo.com/

    * http://popurls.com/ from thomas marban. also doing http://twidroid.com/

    * seekda, using plenty of semantic tech to bridge the gap between hotels and all the booking portals out there, see http://www.seekda.com

    good article to start the conversation lukas. the same goes for the web2.0 list of christoper!

  • http://www.getzcope.com Bernd Hepberger

    Great article. Austria is small, indeed. But we have great human ressources here. Unfortunately the investment scene is not really existing and companies have to finance mostly themselfs. We started our project management platform ZCOPE last year and have not been able to run an international version until this year (we will have the international launch next week). Maybe that`s the reason why most (business) apps evolve slowly but more stable if they succeed to attract an audience.

    Keep the stories up with news about the smaller countries startups!

    Bernd

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bernd_Hepberger/566889531 Bernd Hepberger

    Oh, and don`t forget the great people at TripWolf when your talk about the Austrian scene!

    Bernd

  • RK

    afaik the awesomeness of popurls happens to be run by austrians.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lukas_Zinnagl/2539139 Lukas Zinnagl

      to be precise by thomas marban

      http://marban.com/

  • http://mamk.net Mark A.M. Kramer

    Do not forget mobilizy: “Mobilizy is a Austrian-based company specializing in software for smartphones. Our focus is on location-based service solutions and augmented reality.”

    and RjDj, too – http://more.rjdj.me/about/

  • http://mamk.net Mark A.M. Kramer

    Do not forget mobilizy: “Mobilizy is a Austrian-based company specializing in software for smartphones. Our focus is on location-based service solutions and augmented reality.” http://www.mobilizy.com

    and RjDj, too – http://more.rjdj.me/about/

  • cl

    Where do the kernel mode geeks hang out in Austria? Device drivers, file system, and such?

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com/2009/08/31/platogo-to-open-up-its-private-beta-and-we-have-invites/ Platogo to open up its private Beta, and we have invites

    […] an Austrian startup which we recently covered as being a Mini Seedcamp finalist, opens up in private beta tomorrow. Platogo, (as in Play Together Online) aims to be the […]

  • http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/08/31/platogo-to-open-up-its-private-beta-and-we-have-invites/ Platogo To Open Its Private Beta, And We Have Invites

    […] an Austrian startup which we recently covered as being a Mini Seedcamp finalist, opens up in private beta tomorrow. Platogo, (as in Play Together Online) aims to be the […]

  • http://www.anthonyrobinson.info/?p=2696 Platogo To Open Its Private Beta, And We Have Invites | Anthonyrobinson.info

    […] an Austrian startup which we recently covered as being a Mini Seedcamp finalist, opens up in private beta tomorrow. Platogo, (as in Play Together Online) aims to be the […]

  • http://gossiptrendz.com/platogo-to-open-its-private-beta-and-we-have-invites/ Platogo To Open Its Private Beta, And We Have Invites | GossipTrendz.com

    […] an Austrian startup which we recently covered as being a Mini Seedcamp finalist, opens up in private beta tomorrow. Platogo, (as in Play Together Online) aims to be the […]

  • http://www.newsjacker.co.uk/media/platogo-to-open-up-its-private-beta-and-we-have-invites/ Platogo to open up its private Beta, and we have invites 

    […] an Austrian startup which we recently covered as being a Mini Seedcamp finalist, opens up in private beta tomorrow. Platogo, (as in Play Together Online) aims to be the […]

  • http://www.dreamnest.in/technology/platogo-to-open-its-private-beta-and-we-have-invites.html Platogo To Open Its Private Beta, And We Have Invites | Technology

    […] an Austrian startup which we recently covered as being a Mini Seedcamp finalist, opens up in private beta tomorrow. Platogo, (as in Play Together Online) aims to be the […]

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    […] an Austrian startup which we recently covered as being a Mini Seedcamp finalist, opens up in private beta tomorrow. Platogo, (as in Play Together Online) aims to be the […]

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    […] , Technology – Platogo, an Austrian startup which we recently covered as being a Mini Seedcamp finalist, opens up in private beta tomorrow. Platogo, (as in Play Together Online) aims to be the […]

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