Role of Incubators and Accelerators in Austria

Incubators and accelerators were the theme of last Wednesday’s event, hosted by the Business Angel Institute in cooperation with Bank Gutmann AG. Incubators and accelerators programs support early stage companies and intend to guide them to future success. The goal of our event was to identify the role of these programs in the Austrian startup scene.

After a warm welcome from Mr. Frank W. Lippitt, partner and chairman of the board of management of Bank Gutmann AG, Berthold Baurek-Karlic (founder and managing partner at Venionaire Capital) introduced to the audience the concepts of accelerators and incubators and shared his personal view on the variety of startup support programs in Austria.

Berthold Baurek-Karlic (left) in talk with Martin Giesswein (Talent Garden Vienna) and Mike Heininger ( © Fabian Greiler

Together with Michael Petritz (Partner at KPMG Austria), Arnim Wahls (Founder of Firstbird), Martin Giesswein (Innovation expert and Coordinator of Talent Garden Vienna) and Mike Heininger (Founder of he discussed the characteristics and benefits of the different types of support programs.

“Being accepted to Seedcamp implies far more than to just getting your first funding. It is rather like being part of a big family. The greatest asset is Seedcamp’s vast network of founders, mentors, and investors”, told Heininger. Seedcamp is a First Round Fund based in London.

Among other topics, the panel highlighted Vienna’s potential to unite European startup initiatives. The city is known for its high quality of startups and is on the rise to become a key player in the European innovation ecosystem. Martin Giesswein emphasized the role of Talent Garden for the Austrian startup scene.

“It is not a surprise that Talent Garden, Europe’s largest co-working network decided to open their new campus in Vienna. The city is known globally for its high standard of living and provides access to the skilled workforce from the CEE region, which possesses strong expertise in the field of computer programming”, said Giesswein.

Michael Petritz (left) and Arnim Wahls. © Fabian Greiler

Arnim Wahls, founder of Firstbird, was selected for the Microsoft Accelerator. A big advantage of the Microsoft program is, that it does not retain shares in the company. In addition, Firstbird benefitted largely from the access to corporate customers. Michael Petritz stressed that European innovation and startup hubs shouldn’t compete against each other, but rather encourage investors to utilize European capital for European business ideas – which is exactly the idea behind the European Super Angels Club.


We welcome our new Certified Business Angel: Thorben Schiborowksi

Following the panel discussion, we awarded Thorben Schiborowski, CBA with the certification for completing the Business Angel Institute Training Program. Thorben is from Oldenburg, Germany, where he founded a company with now over 200 employees and a revenue over 15 Million Euros last year. Last December, he transferred his position as CEO. He joined our training program to prepare himself for his successive career as Business Angel and also passed the exam for the ISO certification as Certified Business Angel (CBA). We are honored to have him as a new member in our CBA Circle!

Business Angel Institute President Dr. Herwig Rollett applauding Mr. Thorben Schiborowski, CBA for successfully completing our training program. © Fabian Greiler


If you are interested in becoming a Certified Business Angel please contact us for more info about the training program.