The First Austrian Startup Genome Project

Modeled on Black Box’s Startup Genome Project, the Austrian Angel Fund Speedinvest piloted a similar project, focused on local technology companies, in September 2011. The Austrian Startup Genome Project evaluated over 100 Austrian mobile and internet startups. The study focused on socio-demographic data, geographic focus, education, and experience of founders and the sector of choice of each startup and aims to analyze the booming startup scene in the country and hence to identify the target areas for support.

Men in the twenties with little experience

Demograpic data from Austrian tech founders shows similarity to other regional data. Not surprisingly, the technology startup scene in Austria is dominated by men, and only two percent of startups are founded by women or have women in their founding teams. 40 % of the founders are between 25 and 30 years old and have put their ideas into practice with little or no experience, immediately upon completing their education. Most of them are university graduates and first time founders. In addition, most startups seem to feel comfortable co-founding in smaller groups with less than three people.

Tech cities: Vienna and Hagenberg

Predictably the pioneering edge in founding a tech startup is found in the capital city, Vienna. 70 percent of the Austrian startups are founded in the capital whereas only seven percent are from Styria, followed with five percent each by Upper Austria, Salzburg and Carinthia. Tirol, Vorarlberg, and Burgenland create 2,5 each. Notably, none of the startups are from Lower Austria. Despite the few numbers of startups from Upper Austria it is crucial to mention that the institutionalized technology hub of the regional government in Hagenberg generates remarkably high quality projects. Astonishingly, in a business where it is key to operate globally, only one third of the Austrian startups state that their vision is to conquer the world market.

Sector focus

Considering the business focus of the projects there is an increasing trend towards consumer products. 70 percent of the startup projects address the consumer market, which offers rapid scale, but is notoriously challenging to take to market. However this target concentration is broad and balanced. Current trends show the largest number of startups focusing on social media and video, whereas gaming, digital marketing, eCommerce and publishing are represented equally. In spite of the growing mobile app market (according to the research firm MarketsandMarkets it will be worth ~$25 Billion by 2015) many Austrian startups still rely heavily on developing and marketing internet products, a finding that the research team noted with surprise.

See an overview presentation on SlideShare (german)!

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  1. […] sind in der technologielastigen Startup-Szene eine Minderheit. Eine Studie von SpeedInvest zu dem Thema kommt Ende 2011 zu dem Ergebnis, dass lediglich zwei Prozent der Startups in […]

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