Austria’s first unicorns hint at 2021 uplift for tech start-ups

2021 proved to be a milestone year for Austrian venture capital and startup ecosystems. The emergence of the country’s first tech unicorn, a company worth more than $ 1 billion, and many other large-scale financings show the money and talent that flows into the country.

Since 2018, Austria has experienced a boom in venture capital support for start-ups. In 2020, a total of € 234 million was invested in new businesses in the country, according to Florian Kandler, editor-in-chief of. Startup Report Austria — Almost three times the amount invested in 2016. This year’s numbers could be significantly higher.

On August 17, Vienna-based cryptocurrency trading platform Bitpanda launched Raised $ 263 Million With Series C funding, the valuation is $ 4.1 billion, more than triple the value in March.

This was the third major funding announcement in Vienna in less than a month. Refurbed, a major market for German-speaking regenerative electronics, Announced $ 54 million Logistics and warehousing platform with Series B funding in early August Storebox has raised € 52 million In July. In March, the online education platform GoStudent raised € 205 million with a valuation of € 1.4 billion.

Oliver Hole

“We were waiting for the first unicorn. This year we had two, Bitpanda and Go Student,” said Oliver Holele, co-founder and managing partner of the Vienna-based venture capital fund Speedinvest. Stated. Financing seed stage.

For Holle, this shows how fast the Austrian startup scene is growing, many of which are based in Vienna.

“With these two, I think we’ve arrived now, and we have some important scale-ups that really create fertile land for everything to last,” he says. .. “Vienna has an organization of 5-10 people, and that organization has hundreds of people.”

But the Austrian startup ecosystem is still Be late Many of its European companions.

Currently, most of the money that flows into Austrian start-ups comes from abroad, especially for late-stage companies. This highlights not only the attractiveness of Austrian start-ups, but also the lack of local financing options.

According to Nina Wöss, chair of the Austrian Private Equity and Venture Capital Organization (AVCO), 90% of VC funding invested in Austria in the last six months came from international investors and funds. The Austrian-based venture capital and private equity funds combined managed only about € 600 million in assets.

This was not always the case. About 15 years ago, Austria had a very active venture capital and private equity scene, according to Wes, but the financial crisis of 2008 knocked out most of the money. “At some point, there were no venture funds left active and trusted by the community,” she says.

234 million euros

Investing in Austrian start-ups in 2020

Today, about eight people are actively investing. This is the number that Wöss still describes as “too few.”

According to Holle of Speedinvest, pandemics help facilitate initial contact between start-ups and venture capital funds, as most communications are online. But he points out that most of the money goes to the proven founders of a more established startup ecosystem, “it’s getting harder for a fringe ecosystem like Vienna.” ..

Still, Holle expects early founders to start investing in other new start-ups and start a positive funding cycle in the country. “The founders of Bitpanda are investing,” he said. “People from [German neobank] N26 is back for investment. It’s all positive. “

Early Investors: Vienna-based venture capital firm Speedinvest focuses on seed stage financing
Early Investors: Vienna-based venture capital firm Speedinvest focuses on seed stage financing

Speedinvest has been around for over a decade, but 3VC is part of a new wave of venture capital funds founded in Austria over the last few years.

Eva Arh, Principal of 3VC, said: “Puzzle pieces are coming together and there is more interest from funding from other countries looking at the Austrian ecosystem,” she adds.

Eva Ah

Eva Arh © Patrick Münnich

Raising $ 50 million for the first fund, 3VC is working on a second fund that will be at least twice the size.

Arh also sees Austria as a gateway to central and Eastern Europe. “I think we are in a good position to invest in these countries here.”

For Vienna-based start-ups, the outlook is very different from just a few years ago.

“When we started the company, four years ago, there was basically no startup scene,” says Peter Windischhofer, co-founder and CEO of Refurbed.

“There were probably some big companies that did millions of dollars in Series A rounds. This year we had multiple rounds over $ 50 million, including us. Of course, it’s at the level of Berlin and London. It’s not, but it’s going in the right direction, “he says.

Still, according to Windischhofer, post-seed round financing remains difficult to raise in Austria without looking to international investors.

“There is a shortage of capital at every stage, but everything but the seed is very difficult to get capital from Austria,” he says.

Nevertheless, he argues that it is unlikely to impede the growth of the ecosystem.

“Of course, having these would be beneficial. [later stage] We raise money in Austria, but it’s not always necessary, “he says. “Germany, which is clearly a much larger ecosystem, does not have these big growth funds to fund Series C and others.”

Austria’s first unicorns hint at 2021 uplift for tech start-ups Source link Austria’s first unicorns hint at 2021 uplift for tech start-ups

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