Building a brigde from Central Europe to San Francicso

Slowly, but surely, Vienna is building its own reputation as a startup hotspot. There has been a bunch of massive exits driven with Austrian founder DNA (Cumulative value of the exits from UCP, Jahjah, 3united or last.fm exceed 1 billion USD), but recently the news flow from this region has jumped up with companies such as Wikitude, Runtastic, Lookk, 123people or just recently MySugr being international success stories.

Vienna, as the logical hub for Central Europe’s startup scene is now making a move. Next week, the five day startup festival called Startupweek (www.startupweek2011.com) is nailing this ambition.

Now, this region also has its first Super Angel fund.

Speedinvest aims high and comes with a very distinct model, that may show a 3rd way between the wave of incubators / accelerators on the one side and the traditional VC model on the other.

The idea is, besides cash from the $10 M fund, to staff our portfolio companies with part- or full time entrepreneurs from our team and thereby fill gaps that almost all startups have to a degree, especially in a region with a much thinner talent ecosystem than the US. We think that a 3 month program is a nice start, but will not move the needle for a small team from Vienna, Lubljana or Prague. What they need is an experienced co-entrepreneur that works for the company day in day out until they are successful. Much more engagement, that hopefully also yields better returns.

Specifically, we aim to build a bridge between Central Europe and Silicon Valley. Erik works as an outsourced biz dev operations in the US until either a series A round provides the cash to build up own operations or the company fully moves to the US.

See the announcement on Techcrunch.