The Pioneers Festival for technology and entrepreneurship returns to Vienna on May 24 and 25 where 500 startups will be in attendance. But before the event kicks off, Pioneers will host the Pioneers Challenge on May 23 where 70 of the best startups will compete for a chance to be one of seven startups pitching on the final day of the festival for the title of Pioneer of the Year.

The Pioneers500 features startups from all over Europe and internationally as well, all competing in seven different industries. has plucked out 14 startups from the Pioneers500 (two from each category) that will be competing and networking at next month’s festival in Vienna.

Financial Services

Tradimo Interactive
Copenhagen’s Tradimo Interactive builds learning platforms for traders to educate and hone their skills in trading, investing, and managing their finances. It first launched its browser-based platform, which delivers lessons through videos and quizzes, followed by the release of its iPhone game app Little Traders in January, which targets millennials. Across its platforms, the company has two million users and is available in five languages.


Poland’s FriendlyScore uses big data to find the best and most creditworthy borrowers out there by scouring online profiles and social media and analysing people’s online presence to determine their creditworthiness. This practice of social data credit risk profiling aims to provide credit scores and financial services for younger generations with little or no credit history and help them find the right lenders.

The startup has since relocated to the UK and launched in more than a dozen countries. Mercia Fund and Venture Incubator invested seed funding in the startup last year.


Energy & Utilities

Watly, from Italy, is building the world’s first thermal computer powered by solar energy that generates electricity off-grid, provides water purifying functions, and connectivity. The central computing hub claims it can provide these vital functions in developing regions. The ambitious project is in the midst of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for a further $75,000, having already raised more than €2 million from grants and angel investments.


Italy’s Atooma develops the Resonance AI for the Internet of Things industry to track and predict user activity and ultimately save costs and energy by making devices smarter. According to the startup, the platform for example can analyse data on traffic jams on your commute to work and reshuffle your route with info on where to re-fuel and delivers this data to smartphone or in-car display.


Mobility & Transportation

Budapest’s AdasWorks builds Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for cars. It is developing artificial intelligence software for self-driving cars powered through multiple sensor and camera technologies that gather and process images and data in real time. Meanwhile its software SDK is platform agnostic to encourage a wider uptake.

The company raised €2.4 million in funding last year and signed a partnership with Blackberry subsidiary QNX Software Systems.


The “Airbnb for storage space”, Vienna’s StoreMe is a platform for sharing underused storage spaces like basements, garages, or spare rooms. The platform finds nearby storage spaces for users’ needs with payments and insurance all handled via StoreMe. Users can also negotiate transport of their items to the storage space if necessary.

In April, the startup raised an undisclosed six-figure investment.


Lifestyle & Entertainment

Hamburg’s Sponsoo is a data-driven online marketplace that connects athletes with potential sponsors through a matching algorithm. Sports personalities create profiles about themselves and what they would like in a sponsor, and registered brands can purchase these sponsorship offers. Sponsoo were among the startups that won prizes in Microsoft’s Do Great Things in March and took home €10,000. Some of its members so far include a number of German football and tennis teams.


Playbrush makes a smart game controller for toothbrushes that encourages kids to regularly brush. Paired with a smartphone app, the Playbrush helps kids play out a series of games through brushing movements. The UK company launched its product in November of last year and raised £500,000 in April from Speedinvest and angel investor Hansi Hansmann to continue games development and for further distribution.


Business & Productivity is a mobile SDK for pinpointing locations indoors where GPS is not available, using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Smartphone Sensor Fusion for positioning and navigation. According to the Austrian startup, we spend 90% of our time indoors and it addresses the lack of positioning systems in large indoor places. Use cases for’ technology include airports, providing navigational tools for people with vision impairments.


Cyber DriveWare
Israel is bustling with cybersecurity startups. Cyber DriveWare builds cyber threat protection for the I/O layer for enterprises and OEMs by monitoring traffic that may otherwise be missed and blocks against rootkits, malware, ransomware, and other viruses. The startup is currently in its beta stage and has a number of beta customers, including one “global bank”.


Materials & Manufacturing

ProGlove, made in Germany, is a wearable device for the production and construction industries with built-in RFID, sensors, and motion tracking, which are “making hands smarter”. For example, the glove can alert a worker if they are not following the correct procedures in the task they’re carrying out and gather data on workers’ processes. The Munich-based startup raised a seed round from TechFounders last year to further develop the wearable tool.


Anyline is a text recognition SDK that will teach your app how to read. It uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology and a smartphone’s camera to capture and recognise an image of text. The SDK has moved into barcodes and passport recognition as well and is looking at augmented reality in the future. In February, the Vienna startup raised €1.5 million in a funding round led by Austrian jewellery giant Swarovski.


Life Sciences & Agriculture

Germany’s INFARM builds smart vertical farming building blocks for city farming and the software for productive growth monitoring, including inside supermarkets themselves. The startup believes cities can be an effective producer of produce with the right hardware and software that simplifies the processes for the grower at any time of the year. The startup raised more than €27,000 through crowdfunding in 2014.


Austrian health-tech startup Kiweno has raised more than $8 million in funding since last year, largely thanks to its participation in an Austrian startup TV contest in April where it won €7 million. The Vienna-based company makes at-home blood testing kits for checking food tolerance and visualises the medical data for users. Kiweno is now on the hunt for further investment from VCs to capitalise on its recent cash influx.


Hope to see all of those startups (and perhaps you?) in Vienna soon!