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Austria: The Dark Horse of Investment

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Last month TechCrunch referred to Austria as the up-and-coming early-stage investment capital of Europe, and for good reason. Austria is beginning to position itself as one of the most attractive bases in the world to launch a new company, thanks to the ease of access to the right support – namely financial, material and knowledge resources.

As it stands, Austria is the strongest country in Europe for public pre-seed investment. In 2015 the government devoted €289 million in grants to 3,715 startups. The country also rose to fourth position when it comes to Equity Financings into Europe-based Venture capital backed companies. Austria now holds a 7% share of the total European Equity financing, raising €173 million during the first quarter of 2015.

Notable Venture Capitalist Speedinvest became Austria’s first venture capital investor, specialising in the fintech, tech, media and e-commerce sectors. Startups in these areas that have their products and team ready to go can get not only investment, but also entrepreneurial know-how and operational experience.

The lack of follow-up rounds is currently being tackled by Speedinvest founder Oliver Holle with the second fund. €90 million has been raised from more than 100 entrepreneurs and private investors. Sourcing startups from all over Europe, they’re aiming for 100 investments to be made over the next 5 years. This fund focuses on seed and early stage investments with an average investment of €500,0000.

It’s true that Austria has the banks, funds and private capital that are necessary to fuel new businesses. The strong combination of private money and public grants make it an interesting market, and as long as private backers continue to build on what the government is supporting, the country will be in an enviable position.


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