ViennaUP 2024: Thousands of Startups Take Over Vienna

Ecosystem

International startup festival in the Austrian capital attracts over 10,000, with almost 70% arriving from abroad, organizers tell the Budapest Business Journal.

Lightning, thunder, heavy rain, sunshine - this year's ViennaUP had an extraordinary mix of weather to offer over seven days in addition to a top-class program for international startups. Despite the capricious weather, Europe's most diverse startup festival presented an extraordinary first result: More than 10,000 participants from over 90 nations networked at more than 80 events in Vienna. Among them were 13 delegations from Brazil, Chile, China, India, Japan and Europe alone - represented by Bulgaria, France, Great Britain, Italy, Ukraine, and many more. 

For Executive City Councillor for Economic Affairs Peter Hanke, ViennaUP shows that the business city’s internationalisation strategy is working: "ViennaUP acts like a turbo for the international positioning of the location. The proportion of international startups has increased from 45% last year to almost 70% this year, which is an impressive success. Through ViennaUP, we communicate the economic potential of the location to an international audience, but also the essence of the high quality of life in our city."

Thirty-three event locations spread across 11 districts of Vienna ensured that the founders, investors, tech enthusiasts, creatives and talents traveling to ViennaUP 2024 were able to get to know the city and take home a special Vienna experience.

ViennaUP topics attracted international attention: 40 program partners put together exciting events around topics ranging from social entrepreneurship to climate protection, artificial intelligence, creative industries, diverse leadership, and the potential of digital technologies for an environmentally conscious urban society.

Global Application Hits the Mark With Startups

ViennaUP was preceded by an international online campaign targeting business groups, especially in the CEE region. The campaign was viewed 41 million times, reaching 13.4 million people in Central and Eastern Europe alone.

The more than 10,000 participants at ViennaUP 2024 traveled to Vienna from countries including India, Chile, the United States, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, some African countries, Australia and Malaysia. Compared to the previous year, ViennaUP also saw an increase in interest from top investors from the United Kingdom.

“ViennaUP has become a diary highlight for many international and domestic start-ups,” says Gerhard Hirczi, managing director of the Vienna Business Agency, which is also the initiator of the event. “With this successful event, Vienna really underscores its international positioning as a world-class startup hub.”

Program Highlights

A select list of event highlights from ViennaUP 2024 included:
·       The Austrian finale of the world's largest startup competition, Startup World Cup
·       Connect Day as the central matchmaking event for startups, corporates/SMEs and investors
·       Impact Days, one of the largest international events for social entrepreneurship.
·       Creative Days Vienna - a two-day focus for startups and companies in the creative industries - was dedicated to the question of how digital technologies are changing and reshaping cultural experiences.
·       Smart City Summit, where innovators and political decision-makers came together to discuss technological solutions for the climate transition in cities.
·       Lead Today. Shape Tomorrow, the largest European event for female leaders, considered how the status quo in the European tech industry can be redefined to create a more inclusive future.
·       Europe Tech Hackathon, a three-day event where participants built technical solutions for an environmentally friendly future in Europe from the ground up.
·       Several events on the topic of Artificial Intelligence were booked out, attracting hundreds of participants.
·       ViennaUP Homebase attracted thousands of participants from across the festival with nightly pop acts and local delicacies

The homebase was the central meeting point for all participants to network and relax, or participate in special events such as pitches, guided city walks, and workshops. Fresh music acts by Viennese artists provided additional momentum, as did Viennese wine and food tastings.

ViennaUP is a startup event for a global audience initiated by the Vienna Business Agency and realized together with the most essential players from the Viennese startup scene, whose cutting-edge events populated the program. A photo review of the festival days can be found at viennaup.com. 

ViennaUP will next take place in Vienna from May 8 to May 16, 2025.

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