Austrian Tech Startups | A Look at Speedinvest's Portfolio in Austria
Since 2011, we've invested in nearly 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.
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 2,600 startups have popped up in the country since 2009. In 2021, we saw a record year of funding with more than €1.2 billion of investment and 7 deals greater than €50 million. Not to mention, we also witnessed the birth of the country’s first two unicorns––our portfolio companies Bitpanda and GoStudent.
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. 3united rose to European scale in the early 2000’s and was eventually acquired by Verisign, inc. in 2006.
After a few years in the US, the team reassembled back home in Vienna and quickly partnered up with Markus Wagner, a fellow co-founder of 3united and since the exit another major force in the Austrian ecosystem, and i5invest, to launch the Spengergasse co-working space. Spengergasse quickly became the breeding ground for the next wave of entrepreneurs, with more than two dozen companies emerging in a short time, including the legendary Pioneers Festival and the scale-ups TourRadar and Adverity. We think it is fair to say that Speedinvest itself was quite important in bringing venture capital and startups to the attention of mainstream Austria.
“I personally 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 by now 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
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.
Speedinvest Austria Deal Flow
Since 2017, we've received pitches from Austrian startups covering every sector. Saas & Infra is particularly strong with 29.3 percent of all pitches. Marketplaces & Consumer startups (19.8 percent) and Climate Tech and Industrial Tech (19.4 percent) are also front and center. While Health is not in the top three, we are seeing a strong upward trend here, particularly over the past two years.
Our Austrian Tech Startups
In addition to Bitpanda and GoStudent, our sector-focused teams have proudly partnered with other big names, like soonicorns Adverity and Refurbed. In fact, 7 out of the top 10 best Austrian startups are Speedinvest portfolio companies according to a 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 healthtech to climate tech and industrial tech, marketplaces & consumer, and SaaS & Infra startups. They also collaboratively fund the technologies that are reshaping our industries, redefining global economies, and securing a future for us all––crypto and emerging markets.
Below, our investors dive deep into our portfolio and explore the opportunities we see on the ground.
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 3.5 million users, growing 764 percent in 2021.
When we met Bitpanda’s Crypto Product Lead, Jacob Kobler, he and co-founder Miroslav Byrtus were building consola.finance, a blockchain startup that streamlines back-end financing processes for DAOs, dapps, centralized exchanges, andplatforms. We were very excited to 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’re now partnering with Deutsche Bank to build a white-label BNPL product. Another fintech partner, ready2order, specializes in innovative POS solutions for small businesses.
“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 were proud to witness their journey from 2 employees to 2,000! The online tutoring platform has seen impressive growth and is now used by hundreds of thousands of students across the world. They raised an epic $340 million Series D round led by new investor Prosus with participation from Deutsche Telekom, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Tencent, Dragoneer, Left Lane Capital and Coatue.
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 the $54 million Series B. 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 travellers 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 led by Cambridge Capital. Now, 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.” –– Maximilian Wilhelm, Associate at Speedinvest
SaaS & Infra
Although the SaaS market in Austria appears to be dominated by international providers, there are around 700 SaaS startups 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. We’re keeping close tabs on their success story and were pleased to see that they raised a $120 million Series D in a round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and topped 250 employees in 2022.
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 €11 million Series A.
Another exciting player in the space is Bitmovin, a long-time member of our portfolio which went on to raise $25 million in a Series C round led by Swisscom Ventures. 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 innovation in the streaming industry.
On top of all that, Austria has lately become a hub for web3 SaaS & infra companies. We’re proud early backers of consola.finance’s mission to automate crypto bookkeeping and reporting. We backed the startup together with our friends at Bitpanda (check out the Fintech section of this article for more on these two companies) and are proud to support the next generation of Si community founders in Vienna.
“Austria might not yet be the biggest startup ecosystem, but for us at Speedinvest, it’s not only our hometurf, 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
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, focused on smart blood tests, and Diagnosia, which categorizes drug information for healthcare professionals.
Started by the founders of popular diabetes app MySugr, 9am.health is another Austrian startup with a mission we're proud to get behind. Their goal is to become the leading virtual diabetes clinic, delivering personalized diabetes care and medications discretely to patients’ homes.
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.
“Austria is currently seeing a wave of healthtech initiatives, from the Health Hub in Vienna and the launch of EIT Health’s Regional Innovation Hub to programs sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Austrian Industry. We’re thrilled to continue collaborating with the innovative healthcare and tech ecosystem in Austria in order to catalyze new, patient-centric solutions across Europe.” –– Nadhila Wardhana, Analyst at Speedinvest
Climate Tech and Industrial Tech
We’ve been following climate tech and industrial tech in Austria for a long time. 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.
Some of our longest-standing Austrian portfolio companies are in the climate tech and industrial tech space. An example is Crate.io, the open-source SQL database for real-time analytics which empowers companies worldwide to unlock data insights at scale. The startup raised a $10 million Series A to further develop its platform, CrateDB, and then 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) which helps end-users locate themselves (or others) inside large buildings. There’s also 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
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 their 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 went on to found planQC, a Munich Quantum Valley startup building one of the only commercially viable neutral atom-based quantum computers in Europe.
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.
“Building upon a foundation of decades-worth of scientific research in fields ranging from quantum computing to artificial intelligence, Austria’s deep tech startup ecosystem is beginning to blossom.” –– Timothy Krause, Associate at Speedinvest