Speedinvest Blog

Austrian Tech Startups | A Look at Speedinvest's Portfolio in Austria

January 18, 2024

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Speedinvest

Since 2011, we've invested in more than 300 startups in more than 40 nations. Germany, the United Kingdom, Austria, France, and Spain are currently the countries we've invested in most in Europe. Why and in what companies? Keep reading for a deep dive into our Austrian portfolio and exclusive market insights from our sector-focused investors. Click below for a breakdown of our other top European markets.

France | Germany | Spain | United Kingdom

Austrian Tech Startups: A Speedinvest Story

It may be a small country, but Austria punches far above its weight when it comes to innovation and venture capital. 

Over 3,300 startups have popped up in the country since 2011, employing approximately 31,000 individuals. 2021 was a record year of funding with more than €1.2 billion of investment and 7 deals greater than €50 million. Not to mention, it was the year Austria welcomed its first two startups valued at +€1 billion –– our portfolio companies Bitpanda and GoStudent. Although overall funding for the global startup ecosystem has decreased since it peaked in 2021, we’re still seeing success stories, like Refurbed, which landed a $57 million Series C.

In many ways, the rise of the Austrian startup ecosystem is closely tied to the story of Speedinvest and the people behind it. Oliver, Daniel, and Werner, three of the co-founding partners of Speedinvest, were also the founders of one of the first and most well-known startup success stories in Austria: the mobile tech startup 3united, which was acquired by Verisign in 2006. 

After a few years in the US, the team reassembled in Vienna and quickly partnered up with Markus Wagner, a fellow co-founder of 3united and i5invest to launch the Spengergasse co-working space. Spengergasse quickly became the breeding ground for the next wave of Austrian entrepreneurs, with more than two dozen companies emerging in a short time, including the Pioneers Festival and our portfolio companies TourRadar and Adverity. In 2023, Oliver was named Person of the Year by Trend Magazine, recognizing both his and Speedinvest’s importance in bringing both venture capital and startups to the mainstream in the country. 

We’re proud to still call Vienna our HQ after all these years, and we’re excited to be located at the heart of this fast-moving scene filled with talented founders and startups. 

From an investor’s point of view, Austria has long been the gateway between Eastern and Western Europe. Its location, high quality of life, and generous tax credits for new research and development attract founders from all corners of the world. It’s also long been a testing ground for expansion across the entire DACH region with its 100 million consumers and €5 trillion combined GDP. 

While there’s still work to be done (more on-the-ground investors in the early stages, additional government backing and support), Austria is well positioned to continue carving out its place in the European tech ecosystem.

“I have been part of the Austrian startup scene since long before such terms were even commonplace. We have built friendships, survived many different battles and crises, and built an ecosystem that is both broad and deep in talent and capital. I firmly believe that Austria is ripe to take the next step and outperform many of the more established tech hubs globally. All the ingredients are here and now we also have the entrepreneurial ambition to make it happen.”  –– Oliver Holle, CEO & Managing Partner

Speedinvest Austria Deal Flow

Since 2017, we've received pitches from Austrian startups covering every sector. Saas & Infra have been particularly strong with 27.9 percent of all pitches. Marketplaces & Consumer startups (21.5 percent) and Climate & Industrial Tech (19.8 percent) are also front and center. While Health is not in the top three, we continue to see a strong upward trend, particularly over the past few years.

Pie chart showing which industries we've received pitches from.

Our Austrian Tech Startups

In addition to Bitpanda and GoStudent, our sector-focused teams have proudly partnered with other big names, like soonicorns Adverity, TourRadar and Refurbed. In fact, 6 out of the top 10 best Austrian startups are Speedinvest portfolio companies according to a 2022 ranking by the Austrian business magazine, Trend. We’re proud to see our focus on this market has paid off and that so many of our hometown startups continue to thrive.

From our HQ in Vienna, we’re constantly scouring for additional opportunities for investment in Austria. No matter what the state of the market is, our cross-sector investment teams actively partner with founders building Deep Tech, Fintech, and Health & Tech Bio to Climate Tech & Industrial Tech, Marketplaces & Consumer, and SaaS & Infra startups.

Below, our investors dive deep into our portfolio and explore the opportunities we see on the ground.

Jump ahead

Fintech

Fintech in Austria is often overlooked, but it’s actually the space that spawned the country’s first unicorn.

Bitpanda truly paved the way when it became Austria’s first unicorn in 2021. The crypto trading platform raised one of Europe’s largest ever Series B funds and is now one of the fastest-growing fintechs on the continent with more than 4 million users, growing 764 percent in 2021. In June 2023, Bitpanda’s cryptocurrency exchange (Bitpanda Pro) rebranded as One Trading, raised a €30M Series A, and became a fully-fledged company of its own. 

Image source: Bitpanda

When we met Bitpanda’s Crypto Product Lead, Jacob Kobler, he and co-founder Miroslav Byrtus were building consola.finance. This blockchain startup streamlines back-end financing processes for DAOs, dapps, centralized exchanges, and NFT platforms. We were very excited to recently lead their pre-Seed round and welcome the next generation of founders to our portfolio. We’re also pleased to see Austria hitting one of the key milestones for a maturing startup ecosystem––key employees in already hugely successful scaleups are branching out to create their own, new startups. 

Outside of the crypto space, we partnered with Wikifolio, an online platform that allows day traders from investment bankers to hobby traders to publish their portfolios for other traders to access and invest. The “wikifolios” turn portfolios created on the platform into fully-fledged financial products, which are then listed on the stock exchange, Börse Stuttgart. 

Also in our fintech community is Credi2, a BNPL solution for major international banks and financial service providers. They partnered with Deutsche Bank to build a white-label BNPL product, and teamed up with Marqeta to provide new installment capabilities for European banks. Another fintech partner, ready2order, specializes in innovative POS solutions for small businesses and was exited in 2023.

“Unicorns are incredibly important for every startup ecosystem because unicorns breed unicorns. The rise of Bitpanda has triggered the creation of a new wave of fintechs in Austria. And we at Speedinvest are keen to also back the second generation of fintech founders in our ever-important home market.”  –– Tom Filip Lesche, Partner at Speedinvest

Marketplaces & Consumer

Austria’s marketplace startups have garnered significant attention, both at home and abroad. In fact, our first exit,  Shpock –– a C2C buying and selling marketplace –– became one of Europe’s most popular shopping apps with over 10 million active users.

GoStudent broke new ground when it became Europe’s first edtech unicorn and the second overall unicorn for Austria. We have worked with GoStudent since the pre-Seed stage and are proud to continue witnessing their journey. The online tutoring platform has seen impressive growth and is now used by hundreds of thousands of students across the world.  Since their founding, they’ve raised an epic $500 million from major global investors such as SoftBank Vision Fund, Tencent, Dragoneer, Left Lane Capital, and Coatue.

Image source: GoStudent

The B2C marketplace scene is home to another key player: refurbished-electronics marketplace, Refurbed. We’ve been backing Refurbed since the beginning and were thrilled to join their 2023 $57 million Series C. The Vienna-based startup has now expanded into 12 countries and grown to over 150 employees.

One to keep in mind for your next trip: TourRadar, which raised a $50 million Series C led by TCV. This industry-leading online marketplace lets travelers compare and book multi-day tours with over 20,000 options across the globe.

And in the B2B space, Byrd provides an all-in-one logistics platform and B2B marketplace for e-commerce fulfillment. Now active in seven countries, the Austrian company landed a $56 million Series C in 2022 led by Cambridge Capital. Byrd is aiming to grow its local teams, add new features to its offering, and expand its operations to Denmark, Poland, and Sweden.

“The Austrian Startup Ecosystem has brought about many exciting innovations in the platform and consumer space from EdTech and TravelTech, like GoStudent and TourRadar, to e-commerce players, like Byrd and Refurbed. They’re all united by strong and visionary founders with whom we are lucky to partner. The strength of small ecosystems is their dense network of shared connections and the ability to move quickly. Austria therefore remains in our focus as we believe that this ecosystem is just getting started. We are more than ready to back the next generation of stellar founders.” –– Max Wilhelm, Associate at Speedinvest

SaaS & Infra

Although the SaaS market in Austria appears to be dominated by international providers, around 700 SaaS startups are finding new solutions to change that. We’ve partnered with a few of them and are always looking for more.

Adverity is a predictive technology stack for marketers that connects online and offline marketing data and integrates them into one central hub. They raised a $120 million Series D in a 2021 round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and topped 250 employees in 2022. 

Image Source: Adverity

SaaS solutions are also shaking things up in the supply chain space. Vienna-based Prewave’s supply chain risk intelligence platform alerts companies about potential regulatory or sustainability issues in their supply chain, letting them act quickly to avoid problems down the road. We’ve been backing Prewave since their pre-Seed days and were excited to join their $20 million Series A extension.

Another exciting player in the space is Bitmovin, a long-time member of our portfolio which raised a $25 million Series C round led by Swisscom Ventures in 2021. This multimedia tech startup’s services use cloud computing to transcode digital video and audio into streaming formats, and the company is constantly driving new innovations in the streaming industry. 

“Austria might not yet be the biggest startup ecosystem, but for us at Speedinvest, it’s not only our home turf, but also the place it all began for many of our most successful companies. We’re proud that our journey started here and will certainly continue to support the ecosystem and look out for the next generation of successful entrepreneurs.”  –– Markus Lang, Partner at Speedinvest

Health & TechBio

We’ve been backing health startups in Austria long before it was a trendy sector or on the radar of most Seed funds in Europe. Our first two partnerships were Bloom Diagnostics, which focuses on smart blood tests, and Diagnosia, which categorizes drug information for healthcare professionals.

Started by the founders of the popular diabetes app MySugr, 9am.health which raised a $16M Series A in 2022, is another startup with Austrian roots and a mission we're excited to get behind. Their goal is to become the leading virtual diabetes clinic, delivering personalized diabetes care and medications discretely to patients’ homes.

 

Image source: Healthline

Another exciting local healthtech innovator, hi.health, offers people with private health insurance a seamless way to take care of their insurance claims and assist with their health expense management. Then there’s Flinn, a MedTech company co-founded by one of the founders of N26. Flinn automates quality and regulatory processes to launch and operate products 10x more efficiently.

‘’The Austrian healthcare startup ecosystem is characterized by a robust and innovative environment, supported by a strong network of research institutions and governmental support. It thrives on collaborations between startups, established healthcare companies, and academic entities. Within this ecosystem, startups like Flinn benefit significantly, leveraging our extensive network and supportive framework to enhance their innovative solutions.’’ –– Hendrik Steenfadt, Analyst at Speedinvest

Climate Tech & Industrial Tech

We’ve been investing in Climate & Industrial Tech companies in Austria for more than a decade and for good reason.

According to our third annual Industrial Tech Report, the first three quarters of 2022 saw €139 million invested in Austrian industrial tech startups, putting it in the top 10 in Europe. Climate Tech innovations in the country also continue to thrive, with more and more companies spinning out from universities across the countries and covering a full range of sectors, from energy, mobility, food, and building, to the digital and circular economy. This is not surprising. In 2022, Dealroom reported that Europe's overall climate tech startup ecosystem is now worth over $100 billion, doubling its value since 2020. And, as of 2023, Europe accounted for a third of global climate tech funding.

One of Austria’s climate tech pioneers, the aforementioned Refurbed, is one of our longest-standing Austrian portfolio companies in the climate tech space. The team raised a whopping $57M Series C in 2023 and will use the funds to further expand across Europe.

Image source: Crate.io

Our Industrial Tech portfolio in the country includes Crate.io. The open-source SQL database for real-time analytics empowers companies worldwide to unlock data insights at scale. The startup raised a $10 million Series A to develop its platform, CrateDB further and recently announced a collaboration that will enable customers to access their product via Google Cloud.

We’ve also partnered with Indoo.rs, a navigation solution (acquired by Esri) that helps end-users locate themselves (or others) inside large buildings. Then there’s Ubiq.ai, a SaaS Platform that uses real-time data and insights to maximize fleet utilization and automate fleet operations.

“The Austrian economy is built on the foundation of a strong and well-established industrial sector. Now it’s facing challenges to improve productivity, mitigate supply chain risk, and meet emission targets. This unlocks an increasing amount of corporate investment in innovative technologies across a broad range of applications to enable a more sustainable and digital future. It’s exciting to see a growing number of Austrian-based startups supporting this transformational shift––not only on a local scale but across Europe.” –– Andreas Schwarzenbrunner, Partner at Speedinvest

Deep Tech

Exciting things are brewing in the Austrian deep tech scene. With one of the highest Nobel STEM laureates per capita in the world (the most recent being Anton Zeilinger, the 2022 Nobel laureate in physics), Austria is rife with technical talent that fosters a quickly growing deep tech ecosystem. 

The country’s top research institutions and universities attract deep tech innovators from far and wide, and their graduates go on to apply their expertise in the startups they found both at home and abroad. With that in mind, we’ve led seed rounds for two such companies: QphoX and planqc –– both of which were founded by Austrian scientists and entrepreneurs.

QphoX is the only commercial entity in the world scaling up the future of the quantum internet via its proprietary quantum modem. Based in Delft, the Austrian CEO has a long research history with the University of Vienna. 

An Austrian founder with ties to the University of Innsbruck also went on to found planqc, a Munich Quantum Valley startup building one of the only commercially viable neutral atom-based quantum computers in Europe. In 2023, they won a €29 million contract from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) to develop a digital neutral-atom-based quantum computing hardware and software platform.

On top of this, the aforementioned Crate.io and Bitmovin also feature in our Austrian deep tech portfolio. Overall, we’re optimistic and looking forward to backing more innovation coming out of this market.


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