Pioneers (grand) Festival is shaking up the world of innovation

Pioneers Festival is Europe’s major conference for tomorrow’s ideas, bringing together the smartest startups with corporates, media and investors eager to support the next big thing. More than 1.600 startups from +90 countries applied to meet over 400 investors in the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna. And there’s more: 3.000 participants checked-in each day!

First day

We arrived there at 6.30 am. Good hour to start the day! We went around to study the venue – what an awesome place! Amazing rooms and creative scenarios. The only thing was missing were the Pioneers…


The Opening Show starts (already with the 3.000 Pioneers). And believe us – it was literally a show (and what a show!). Great speakers, awesome ideas and there was even space for lights and dancing show. (Wait for the upcoming videos, you will love them!) Btw, we suggest you to watch Pioneers Festival 2014 – Review.

After the Opening, plenty of speakers started to share their ideas in different stages: Arena (the main stage), Academy, and Spotlight. We traveled at sound speed with Dirk Ahlborn from Hyperloop. We visited Mars with Bobak Ferdowsi aka sexiest nerd at NASA from NASA JPL. And we even had time to learn how to fire half of our team while dancing bye bye bye N’Sync with Steli Efti, from


One of the funniest parts of the event took place in the Academy room – the famous Roasted! Basically for 45 min, four startups went on stage and for 3 minutes they pitched their ideas. After that, they were roasted by three well-known investors: Marvin Liao from 500 Startups, Gil Penchina from Super Angel and Erik Bovee from SpeedInvest. Everything could and really happened! Take a look into last year’s edition video.

Second day

During this day there were (again!) great pitches and speakers.


The Battle of the Supercars

On one side, a 26 years old Pioneers from Croatia, Mate Rimac from Rimac Automobili who built one of the fastest electric car ever. Watch the video. On the other side, Christian von Koenigsegg founder of the Swedish high-performance automobile manufacturer Koenigsegg Automotive AB. Watch the video. Who do you think that won?

Grand Final Show

From 1.600 startups, only 50 startups were chosen and came to Vienna. During the four days, they were trained by mentors, evaluated by investors and competed in front of five well-know judges. But in the end, only one of them was the winner of the Pioneers Challenge 2015: Dronamics – “We Build Cargo Drones”! They were rewarded with 100.000 € of investment!



And because Pioneers is a Festival, party is something that we could not miss. There was a fire show, dancers and the host of the night was DJ Kristian “Hodor” Nairn from Game of Thrones. We even had the opportunity to taste the frozen drinks (Gin&Tonic and Moscow Mule) from Schleckdruff, a Berlin company. It was a great night!

Congrats Pioneers!

Supported by a team of +30 people and 100 volunteers, both co-founders Andreas Tschas (co-founder of icons – Junior Enterprise from JADE Austria) and Jürgen Furian should be proud of what they achieved so far. Pioneers it’s a global reference. But wait for it, more and more it’s still to come!

Author: Mario Tarouca
Director of Public Affairs