The Final Countdown

Photography: Andreas Nader & Jan Nechvile

The third Pioneers Festival is just around the corner. To get the creative juices flowing The Red Bulletin has taken a look back at the success stories from 2013, while also checking out what this year’s festival has to offer. 

800 attendees from 58 countries took part in last year’s Pioneers Festival, taking the amount of innovative ideas per square metre to a never seen before level in the Vienna Hofburg. Here are some of the highlights from 2013: 

German IT company  Protonet set-up the most successful crowd funding campaign in the world, winning the record for „fastest million dollars of all times“. The Hamburg-based company needed just 89 minutes to collect the handsome figure through the website Seedmatch. The figure rose to an impressive 4 million after just six days – more than any German company has ever risen through a crowd funding campaign. 

While Protonet stole the headlines based on financial merit, Ekso Bionics, took the prize for most emotional moment of last year’s festival: The American enterprise has devoted its energy into developing high-tech bionic suits, designed to help wheelchair bound patients walk again. The company is proud to report that over a million steps have already been taken with the help of the robotic exoskeleton. 

Austrian startup  Helioz also wants to make the world a better place, and where better to start than in your own home? The company is developing household products to solve everyday problems in less developed countries. Their masterpiece is called WADI, and is used to help turn dirty water into drinking water. How? Leaving it in the sun for a sustained period of time can naturally disinfect water. WADI measures the level of bacteria in the water, and a smiley face indicates when it is safe to drink.  

It wasn’t just English and German speaking companies that experienced success at last year’s event, as Croatian startup Bellabeat proves. The company developed a system to measure embryonic heartbeats via smartphones, and were deservedly awarded first prize in the startup challenge. The Bellabeat team were able to connect with the foundation centre Y Combinator while at the Pioneers Festival, one of the leading investors in startups around the world. Thanks to the support of the world-renowned seed accelerators based in Silicon Valley, Bellabeat have been able to acquire over 4.5 million dollars in funding. 

Pioneers Festival

And what can we look forward to this year? 

According to the organisers, one of the major highlights of this year’s event will be the Pioneers Academy, a forum that offers experienced entrepreneurs the chance to pass on their expertise to the next generation. The following experts among others will give insider tips and advice: 

Nancy Duarte, Storytelling specialist with 20 years of experience working with global companies and thought leaders. 

Neil Patel, Co-founder of KISSmetrics and expert on growth hacking

Steli Efti, Blogger and expert in sales startups; CEO and co-founder of and ElasticSales

Gadi Amit, one of the most successful product designers and founder oft he company NewDealDesign

According to Pioneers Festival co-founder Andreas Tschas, participants both at the Hofburg and via LIVE-Stream on can look forward to the talk from Simon P. Worden. Worden is the centre director at NASA Ames Research Center where he and his staff of over 2,500 civil servants provide critical R&D support. He will discussing the topic of private space exploration and aerospace ventures which may well see normal people in space in the near future.

One of most intriguing topics for discussion at this year’s festival will no doubt be the issue of bio-hacking. The opinions differ on the benefits of these developments, and an exciting, informative and interesting discussion can be expected. 

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10 2014

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