Networking Friday 2016

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The Networking Friday – The Exhibition & Networking Event of the Innovation Incubation Center of TU Wien

On February 19th, 2016 the annual Networking Friday took place in the Kuppelsaal. More than 300 guests came to the all-day public event on entrepreneurship & innovation at the Vienna University of Technology, whose crowning completion was a pitch challenge with prizes worth a total of € 50,000.

The Networking Friday concludes, as every year, the StartAcademy, a three-day workshop for researchers of TU Wien to examine the business potential of their research projects with the support of numerous experienced mentors and trainers. The event is aimed at sciencepreneurs, entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, representatives of public funding institutions, politics and industry as well as many more who are interested in this topic. This year the event offered, in addition to the opportunity for networking, a comprehensive program on the subject of scientific spin-offs. The morning held TEDx like impulse talks and a panel discussion on sciencepreneurship in the current startup ecosystem. The afternoon was dedicated to current results at TU Wien: In addition to a TU Startup & Idea Roadshow the afternoon offered a Pitch Challenge where the participants of the previous StartAcademy presented their potential spin-off projects in front of a multi-member jury of potential investors. Highlight of the challenge was of course the subsequent award of prizes, which this year included cash and non-cash prizes amounting to a total of € 50,000.

Welcome and Impulse Talks

After welcoming the guests by Prof. DI Dr. Johannes Fröhlich, Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, and Dr. Birgit Hofreiter, Director of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, two impulse talks followed. Dr. Megan Jones, Chief Scientific Officer at Lantern and assistant professor at Stanford University (California/USA) delivered with her talk “Spin-off: Stanford Research to Silicon Valley Start-Up” insights into sciencepreneurship in Stanford. As an example of a TU Wien success story from a time when no one has spoken of entrepreneurial university, Mag. Georg Kopetz, Co-Founder & Executive Board Member of TTTech, contrasted his own founder story with today’s possibilities in his talk titled “TU Spin-Off: Now and Then”.

Panel Discussion: “Spin-off vs. Start-up – A Reflection On Sciencepreneurship In The Current Startup Ecosystem”

The impulse talks were a direct transition to the panel discussion, where Dr. Megan Jones and Mag. Georg Kopetz discussed with Mag. Jürgen Jelly (itom invest GmbH), Mag. Bernhard Weber (Science Park Graz), Edward Hartwig, LLC (Strategist, USA-Austria) and Dr. Birgit Hofreiter the topic “framework for academic spin-offs and state-of-the-art”. The discussion was moderated by Mag. Daniel Cronin (Co-Founder Austrian Startups).

Networking Lunch and TU Startup & Idea Exhibition

After the panel discussion, there was a chance to talk to sciencepreneurs, interested students, i²c alumni, investors and representatives of industry, politics and public funding institutions in a relaxed atmosphere.

The TU Startup & Ideas Roadshow was an opportunity to present TU-projects or -startups to the interested guests. This year there was a wide range – Bachelor-, Master-, PhD- and research-results – exhibited to get an idea of the variety of excellent results generated on different levels.
In addition, public (funding) institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Vienna Business Agency, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), aws, INiTS and StartupLeitner were invited to exhibit and to inform about their offer at the event.
Pitch Challenge: The Participants
The participants of the i²c StartAcademy, which took place during the previous three days, got the unique opportunity to present their projects at the Networking Friday in front of the numerous guests and a multi-member jury of renowned representatives of the Austrian business angel and investor scene. The i²c StartAcademy participants included:
– BYRD – On-demand shipping service, which allows customers to ship products with their smartphone.
– Mahut – Workflow optimization software and online-services for film production companies.
– Paintification – Classic portrait paintings customized with your face.
– JustMe – The new generation camera app, that allows you to take photos of beautiful places without capturing disturbing moving objects.
– CrysPi – Production of high-performance-polymers (polyimides) of outstanding crystallinity.
– Jumpy – A simulator for flying in virtual environments.
– FearlessLife – Providing safety and peace of mind for older adults and their care-taker.
– Evologic – Bioprocess development to enable the economic use of fungi for natural yield increase in agriculture.

Pitch Challenge: The Jury

In the jury were famous personalities from the startup scene such as: Michael Altrichter (Business Angel, Puls4 2min2mio, Ashoka-Member), Franz Salzmann (Speedinvest), Michael Eisler (Startup300), Philipp Stangl (Pioneers Ventures), Peter Lasinger (aws Gründerfonds), Stefan Kreppel (Startup Program FFG), Daniel Horak (CONDA Crowdinvesting), DI Hossam El-Sifary (INiTS Gründerservice), Rafael Rasinger (WKO Foreign Commerce Austria) and Franz Haimerl (StartupLeitner). The challenge was moderated again by Daniel Cronin.

Pitch Challenge: The Prizes and the Winners

The following prizes were offered to the winners of the pitch challenge:
– Incubation & Office Space: TU Wien i²nkubator & Founder Space
– i²c Award: Scholarship in the amount of € 5,000 for the commercialization of a high potential PhD-project (launched 2014 by Informatics Innovation Center)
– INiTS Startup Camp (worth € 6,000)
– StartupLeitner Award: € 5,000 voucher for tax consulting
– WKO Pitching-Workshop with Steve Austin (San Francisco)

BYRD won the place in the TUW i²nkubator and an office space at TUW Founder Space as well as the StartupLeitner Award. Evologic was awarded with the i²c Award. CrysPi and Jumpy won a place in the INiTS Startup Camp. JustMe was awarded with the Pitching-Workshop. The presentations convinced the jury so much that two of the jury members decided spontaneously to award two further prizes: Startup300 offered JustMe due to the great interest a potential investment of € 10,000 after an additional competitive analysis and FearlessLife won a CONDA Crowdinvesting Consulting Package

Not only the pitches convinced the jury and enthused the guests of the Networking Friday. The program was of great interest. The success is emphasized by the many contact requests made by investors. The Networking Friday was a successful event for all guests, where promising contacts were made and the topics entrepreneurship & innovation at TU Wien were focused.

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