Investment in Progress

CEE Unlimited and Investors Day 2019: The creation of an ecosystem

Without a doubt, the CEE Unlimited event series was our biggest project so far. Arguably, it was also the most important one: Our vision was nothing less but the creation of a cross-border and cross-industry ecosystem. Diversity is our biggest strength as a region, and only through collaboration it can be leveraged. So did we make it, you may ask? Did we create a new ecosystem? Well, 8 countries, 40 startups and over 700 participants later, we’re still not at the end of our journey, but we had a damn good start.

Along the way, we not only came closer as different regions, but also learned a lot about our respective countries and ecosystems. Our learnings in a nutshell:

  • diversity in terms of culture, language, history and economic situation is one of the biggest challenges the region is facing…
  • …but it also equals opportunity (no matter how tough it might seem in the beginning).
  • we’re all struggling with the same issues, like missing incentives for angel investors or heavy differences in the regulatory framework – which makes cross-border investing kind of a nightmare.
  • it’s all about trust – in creating this ecosystem, in doing cross-border investments and basically in every part of (business) life. And trust doesn’t come overnight, it needs to be earned.
  • there are incredibly smart, passionate, dedicated and motivated people out there, creating solutions that solve real-world problems. It’s our obligation to provide the support that they need to create successful companies and a sustainable impact.
  • we need to move our a**es: Europe is a great place to live (thanks again to its diversity) and it has been the epicenter of technological breakthroughs, thought leadership and the birthplace of such great things as modern-day democracy. If we as Europeans want our continent to remain a global player, attract & retain the most talented people and create innovative solutions, we need to act. And we can’t wait for politics to fix everything (still, it would be nice if they would implement at least some of the things that our industry is suggesting..).

 

The grand final – the Investors Day 2019

Everything came together in Vienna: On November 14th 2019, the most active investors of all 8 hotspots that we visited over the previous 7 months united in Vienna. Investors, startups and government officials enjoyed an exciting day full of disruptive keynotes, innovative pitches and intense networking. With Andrei Brasoveanu (Accel) and Ines Streimelweger (Creandum), for the first time leading international venture capital companies were present at an event of this kind in Austria. Ines Streimelweger sees a lot of potential for investors in the CEE region: „The region is developing enormously fast, we find excellent technical start-ups there […] the interesting thing is that we see more and more teams from CEE, and while the labor costs are lower, that doesn’t mean that the product quality also is. […] We see that more and more start-ups are coming to Austria and open offices here, as well as new companies originating in Vienna. The times couldn’t be better to come home.“

It is now all the more important to push ahead and realize the demands jointly drafted by Avco, aaia and Austrian Startups to strengthen Austria’s international orientation and keep it from disappearing of the radar again. Austria has the unique opportunity to position itself as a gateway between Eastern and Western Europe, to connect the economically strong West with the emerging East. It is up to us to seize this opportunity and create a flourishing ecosystem for Austrian start-ups and investors.

With that in mind, we’re excited for whats about to come in the new year that will soon start. Our promise to you is that we will keep following our vision of a united and strong Central Eastern Europe and fight for a internationally open and investment-friendly Austria. Until then, enjoy your holidays and see you in 2020!

A huge THANK YOU again to our amazing partners that believed in our vision and made CEE Unlimited and the Investors Day possible:

              

 

the aaia crew