Ambitious planning and a comprehensive, collaborative smart city strategy distinguishes Vienna as a trailblazer in GovTech innovation in Europe.
Ranking first in Mercer’s 2018 Quality of Living Survey and Roland Berger’s 2017 Smart City Strategy Index,Vienna has been recognised as one of the smartest cities in the world. These achievements are a result of a clear, coordinated approach by a proactive city administration. The Smart City Wien Framework Strategy, adopted by Vienna City Council in 2014 and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, sets clear targets for the sustainable development of the city around three core themes: resources, innovation and quality of life.
The multi-sectoral initiative is unique in its bottom-up policymaking process, which prioritises a collaborative approach between the city administration, entrepreneurs, researchers and citizens. As Andreas Trisko, Head of Development for the City of Vienna, emphasises:
‘In order to ensure innovative results, stakeholders are continuously invited to participate in work processes, including entrepreneurs and citizens’.
The city council has also adopted an international approach to developing its startup ecosystem. Since 2015, the Vienna Business Agency has offered a Start-up Package for up to 20 foreign startups to relocate to the city, offering travel funds, accommodation and co-working space for 2 months. For local startups, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austria Wirtschaftsservice Gesellschaft provide public generous funding grants for technically risky and economically interesting projects.
In 2017, total venture funding in Austria (with the overwhelming majority in Vienna) reached just over €200 million, with 17 deals of € 2 million and above, including Hookipa Pharma’s €50 million round. In 2018, major Vienna-based VC Speedinvest, launched a new €25 million micro fund – Speedinvest x – which will make pre-seed, seed and early Series A investments, and could potentially be targeted at Vienna’s burgeoning GovTech startup ecosystem.
Co-working spaces, including Sektor5, Impact Hub and Loffice, offer opportunities for Vienna’s startup community to grow. The annual world-renowned Pioneers festival also assembles 1600 startups and 400 investors from across the world to build relationships between tech innovators. Finally, AustrianStartups, a non-profit platform for entrepreneurs, organises regular events to connect and inform early-stage startups, while the city has prioritised HealthTech as a key element of its smart city strategy, primarily through HealthHub Vienna – a public-private partnership between research institutions and local HealthTech startups. The strength of the HealthTech ecosystem is represented in our list of the city’s top ten startups, with Medicus, Healcloud, Memocorby, and Diagnosia all offering market-leading healthcare solutions in their respective fields.
Top 10 GovTech Startups
Read our latest report, The European 150, to find out more about all 15 of our leading GovTech cities!