Pioneers Festival 2013 – Not a normal startup conference, but a festival!

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It is not exaggerated to name Pioneers Festival in Vienna as one of the most important international startup conferences in Europe! But wait, it’s not a conference, it’s a festival! This title anticipates the most intense two days of networking, discovering new trends and the next big thing in tech connected with opportunities to plainly have fun in a wonderful, fairy-tale like location, the Hofburg Palace.

Pioneers_Hofburg

Even if the Websummit in Dublin or Techcrunch Disrupt Berlin have bigger names and more attendees, Pioneers Festival places itself amongst the high-level startup events as it offers valuable insights into recent tech developments, new startups and the trends of tomorrow. The organizers have an obsession for everything related to space travel, the internet of things and tech health care solutions. In this year’s Tech Wonderland area, you could discover all these.

Pioneers_opening

Most importantly, Pioneers Festival is about the people you will meet. You not only have great keynote speakers as Dave McClure (Sith Lord at 500 Startups) or Adam Cheyer (Co-Founder of Siri) but also valuable talks and input at the Startup Academy and Workshop room. David Noel of SoundClound talked e.g. about building a community, Steli Efti of Elastic Sales about sales hacking and Shira Abel did a much praised workshop on marketing for mobile. Pioneers Festival is also the perfect place to reconnect with old friends and existing business contacts. This year, the StartupBus tours ended in Vienna, bringing with them the crazy ones who worked 72 hours on their business ideas while riding a bus through Europe. Moreover, a lot of people involved with Startup Weekend gathered in Vienna. So I met up with some of the European organizers and facilitators as well as with Deb and Victoria from the London HQ.

Pioneers_Startup Weekend
Photo courtesy by Haseeb Tariq

At the final Startup Challenge, BabyWatch from Croatia won. They developed a device to track the heartbeat of your unborn baby. Not a big surprise as the health market for expectant mothers is booming more and more. The after party was a blast as well, as expected! We danced away the night in one of Vienna’s fancy clubs and met even more cool people.

Pioneers closing

Pioneers Festival has rightly been called “a smarter SXSW” by Forbes and after returning home from Vienna, I just wanted to go back to attend another one. Sooooo looking forward to next year’s Pioneers Festival!