Pioneers Festival takes place in the 500 year old Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna and brings together a community of 2,500 founders, investors, corporates and international media from over 100 nationalities into the city where East meets West. Our aim is to champion cutting edge innovation and support the community from the ground up – to inspire, empower and create.
This year we're exploring how humans can be augmented through technological advances with the power to enhance our lives. We'll meet the future-facing tech that will ultimately change the way we live – while always keeping our human identity and values at the centre of our thinking. From robotics to gene editing, and from artificial intelligence to space exploration, Pioneers Festival 2017 will show exactly how technology becomes us.
Who will be there?
Main target audience are investors and corporates looking to meet early-stage innovative startups to stay connected to the advancement of technology. Pioneers offers 2 free tickets to 500 outstanding startups selected from over 4,000 applications with our Pioneers500 program.
Each year Pioneers selects 500 elite early-stage tech startups for its Pioneers500 program from all over the globe. These are the high-potential startups that earn an invite to the annual Pioneers Festival in Vienna. They are chosen according to four main criteria: the strength of their team, the market they are targeting, their initial traction and of course the product itself. This is a careful process that combines specialist research technology with Pioneers expertise and the network of venture capital partners. 3000 hopefuls applied for Pioneers500 in 2016, and that number will grow to around 4,000 in 2017. The applications open in December every year and end at the beginning of April.
Our Solution to the Challenge
We are an international relationship builder. Many success stories came out of our Pioneers Events. Startups like Bellabeat, Runtastic, Navya, Shpock, and more, kickstarted their journey with Pioneers.
We help our attendees to meet the right people and get the very most out of the event. Serendipity meets science with our Match & Meet tool, developed by Pioneers. Our events always heave with opportunity, but getting in front of that startup, company or investor who can change your world is always the challenge. Match & Meet solves that problem by using artificial intelligence algorithms to scour the thousands-strong invite list, crunch their data and suggest people whose goals align with yours. It then allows you to pre-arrange meetings with like-minded people.
It’s essentially about putting quality over quantity.
Pioneers Festival 2017 is the 6th edition of the event. We started with 2,000 attendees in 2012, then kept in to 2,500 for the next 4 years. We had 26 nationalities at our first event and we grew to 67 nationalities by 2016. We expect over 70 nationalities this year.
Why 2,500? We have a limited number of spots because we believe in quality over quantity and we wish to keep the networking possibilities realistic.
Program & Speakers
Pioneers Festival 2017 will have 4 stages of content which will cater to our speakers, startup pitches and tech savvys. Furthermore, tech aficionados will get inspired through our tech exhibition by 100 of the 500 attending startups where they can experience future tech first hand. 50 startups out of the 500 will pitch on the Amplify Stage.
- Babak Hodjat (Sentient Technologies, most-funded AI startup globally)
- Behshad Behzadi (Distinguished Engineer, Google. Behshad leads development of Google Assistant and will demo their latest technology on stage)
- Ron Suskind (CEO, Sidekicks & Pulitzer Prize winner. Ron will demo his product – a Siri for people on the autistic spectrum and tell his story from his bestselling book Life Animated and Oscar nominated documentary)
- Adam Cheyer (Inventor Siri – sold to Apple & Co-founder Viv – sold to Samsung)
- Jaan Tallinn (Co-founder Skype and Co-founder Future of Life Institute alongside Stephen Hawking & Elon Musk)
- Don Montague (Founder & CEO of Makani. Makani uses kites to harness windpower and was acquired by GoogleX)
- Ela Madej (Fifty Years VC, impact investor)
- Charly Kleissner (KL Felicitas Foundation, impact investor)
- David Goldberg (Founder & CEO, Founders Pledge)
- Dr Rachel Haurwitz (Founder & CEO Caribou Biosciences. Caribou is one of the first companies pursuing commercial applications of CRISPR – gene editing technology to eradicate genetic diseases)
- Marc Koska (Founder & CEO Apiject. Marc will premier his groundbreaking medical syringe on stage for the first time)
- Tanay Tandon (Founder, Athelas. Athelas has developed a device to count white blood cells with a 2 min diagnosis time rather than weeks. Tanay will test audience members live on stage and have a booth for the audience to get tested for free during the event)
- Alexander Lorestani (Co-founder & CEO, Geltor. Geltor produces animal protein without animals. Alexander will bring gummy bears to the festival made from a mastodon!)
Deep Sea & Outer Space
- Beth Moses (Chief Astronaut Instructor, Virgin Galactic. Beth will conduct a live space training session on stage with 3-5 actual Virgin Galactic customers)
- Guillermo Söhnlein (Co-founder & CEO Blue Marble Exploration. Guillermo will bring the latest technologies in deep sea exploration and out of space including suits and subs to be showcased on stage)
- John Gedmark (Co-founder & CEO Astranis, previously Exec Director of the Commercial Spaceflight. Astranis is building nano-satellites to provide the world with internet connectivity. John will bring a satellite to the festival and talk about the first launch that month)
- Ralph Echemendia (Ethical Hacker, Founder of Seguru and advisor to the film director Oliver Stone, “Snowden”. Ralph will hack someone in the audience live on stage)
- Andrew Chen (Growth at Uber, top 10 Growth Hacker globally & investor/advisor to Dropbox, Angellist, Tinder & ProductHunt)
- Brianne Kimmel (Growth Marketing, Zendesk)
- Harsh Sinha (VP Engineering, Transferwise)
- James Fitzgerald (Founding Partner Valar Ventures, previously COO of Peter Thiel's global parent company Thiel Capital )
- Renaud Visage (Venture Partner Index Ventures & Co-founder Eventbrite)