September 4, 2012

Pioneers Festival puts spotlight on startups

Ayelet NoffAs October nears so does an exciting event in a start-up enthusiast’s calendar, the Pioneers Festival in Vienna, Austria.

Formerly known as Start-up Week, Pioneers Festival is a gathering that celebrates entrepreneurship and start-ups. It’s a huge event with many different parts and segments, so everyone has something to take in: talks and panels, a start-up competition and a founders challenge, all set in the majestic setting of Vienna’s Hofburg Palace.

Sneak peek of world-class speakers

When: Oct. 29-31, 2012

Where: Vienna

Who: At Pioneer Festival, 60 world-class international speakers will participate. Here’s a never before seen list of all the speakers who’ve confirmed:

• Adam Cheyer, father of Siri
• Matt Mullenweg, WordPress
• Esther Dyson, edventure.com
• Om Malik, GigaOM
• Mike Butcher, TechCrunch Europe
• Peter Vesterbacka, who made Angry Birds into a worldwide phenomenon
• Ayelet Noff, Blonde 2.0 and Socialmedia.biz (that would be me)
• Jason Goldberg, Fab.com
• Ben Parr, The Peep Project
• Cec Plascott, 14-year-old girl working on a second startup
• Edial Dekker, Gidsy
• Justin Kan, exec, socialcam, justin.tv
• Kyle Bragger, forrst, tinyproj, fancyhands
• Tomaz Stolfa, vox.io
• Christian Hernandez Gallardo, Facebook
• Don Dodge, Google, previously Napster and AltaVista
• Charles von Abercron, Glossybox
• Colette Ballou, Ballou PR
• Serguei Beloussov, Runa Capital, Parallels
• Bjoern Lasse Hermann, Blacbox.vc, Startup Genome, Supercool school
• Felix Petersen, Amen, Places
• David Jones, director of envisioning at Microsoft
• Christopher Ahlberg, Recorded Future
• Sean Ellis, Catchfree, lean marketing all over
• Ilya Segalovich, Yandex
• Ash Maurya, Running Lean
• Max Niederhofer, Accel
• Tom Hulme, IDEO
• Christoph Maire, Altlantic Ventures, gate5, mapping
• Alexander Osterwalder, Business Model Generation

Two tracks: Tech innovations and Start-up Academy

The speakers will split up into two tracks:

• In track one, the main focus will be on technological innovations. In addition to engaging with industry leaders, the audience will participate in product launches and interactive sessions and listen to topics like: “Med tech, the future of technology and big data.”

• Track two is the Start-up Academy. Here, the educational focus will teach the hard knock skills, know-how elements and entrepreneurship necessary to boost a start-up to the next level. These skills will be passed on to the next generation of start-ups by world-class mentors such as Tom Hulme, Björn Lasse Hermann and Sean Ellis.

This year the festival will be hosting a start-up competition as well. Out of hundreds of applicants, the top 50 web/tech/mobile start-up companies will be given the chance to give a demo to, and even meet one-on-one with, renowned investors like Accel PartnersHoltzbrinck Ventures and Earlybird.

Startups compete for $31,000 top prize

After that, the competition becomes fiercer and the real fun begins. The top eight start-ups will be taken to a “battlefield,” in front of the entire conference, in which the winner takes all: the 2012 Pioneers Festival Award and 25,000 € ($31,445 US). In addition to the accolades, the winner earns bragging rights as the Festival’s Best Start-up as well as global exposure in the tech world.

Another fun part of the festival is Clash of the Founders (not in 3D, thank God) in which team USA (Kyle Bragger and Justin Kan) battle against Team Europe (Felix Petersen and Edial Dekker). In this 24-hour only competition, judges Mike Butcher and Ben Parr decide who can launch the better product.

The Pioneers Festival isn’t confined to Vienna: The focus events will be live-streamed and concurrent events will take place in other cities, giving everyone a chance to participate and enjoy the content.

If you want to get to know the ins and outs of the start-up world and get to meet tech’s blondest speaker, I hope to see you there!Ayelet Noff is a partner in Socialmedia.biz and founder and co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, specializing in creating brand awareness, engagement with consumers and overall buzz for brands online. Contact Ayelet via The Blonde 2.0 website , email, or follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.

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