Inspire. Empower. Create.

At Pioneers purpose is to foster growth and innovation with a focus on tech. Since 2009, our diverse team has built an ecosystem, creating collaboration opportunities for tech innovators. We use our startup-like mindset and methods to create innovative products and services for and with corporates, startups and public entities all over the world. We develop result-driven innovation journeys for corporations to create a prosperous future.

Our Vision

Empowered innovators shape the future of society

Our Mission

We inspire and create pioneering venture activites.

Our DNA

We come from the startup scene.

50% of our team has founded a startup or worked for +2 years in a young company. We know how innovative business models can be developed and implemented with through startup tools and methods.

We have a global reach.

For 9+ years we have delivered innovation outcomes across various industries and countries. As a result, we have a global network of startups, experts and partners across 50+ countries.

We deliver results.

During all our projects we never lose sight of the important things: Delivering innovation to solve real people’s problems while at the same time returning the investments.

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Our Team Members

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Andrea Mulek

Innovation Consultant

Andrea is innovation consultant at Pioneers. Being part of the European startup ecosystem for years, she got in touch with innovative solutions from a variety of industries. She facilitated startup-corporate cooperations, designed and executed acceleration and entrepreneurship education programs. She also supported the public sector providing advisory on designing national policies, strategies and programmes to further develop and fund the Hungarian RDI ecosystem - where she is originally from. She is a true “imagineer” - skilled in implementing creative ideas, translating them into reality.
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Anton Schilling

Managing Partner

Anton is Managing Director of Pioneers. A technology enthusiast specializing in helping corporates achieve their innovation goals through working with startups and building new ventures. He has experience organizing and planning hackathons, product design sprints, accelerators, and company building programs.
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Carmen Füzi

Team Assistant

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David Bierbaumer

Senior Innovation Consultant

In the role of an innovation consultant, David supports corporations in various kinds of startup-corporate-collaboration projects and fosters internal innovation activities by conducting an internal innovation programme over the duration of one year. With his strong background in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and his working experience in a venture-backed tech-startup, he currently has a focus on projects in the fields of Industry 4.0, Smart City and Mobility. Furthermore, he is part of a consortium of a cross-border project in the Health sector funded by the EU Horizon 2020 program.
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Erik Muckenschnabel

Senior Innovation Consultant & Digital Product Designer

Erik, Innovation Consultant at Pioneers, supports companies in implementing innovation formats and tools in their daily work and in setting up intrapreneurship programs to promote internal innovation development. With his legal background and experience in leading an international organisation, Erik has a strong solution-oriented approach, which he currently applies in projects in the areas of banking & finance and mobility. Erik's drive for innovation has led him to co-organize and lead three highly successful GovTech.Pioneers' editions, which created an extraordinary opportunity for government officials to connect, learn and interact with experts and start-ups. Besides his current projects, Erik is passionate about SportsTech and innovation in sports.
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Felix Bellinger

Director Innovation & Strategy

Felix is Director Innovation & Strategy at Pioneers. He has driven digitization in international companies for over 17 years, most of the time as an innovation and startup expert at Axel Springer and PwC. As a passionate networker, he is enthusiastic about building transformational innovations with medium-sized companies and startups. At Pioneers Felix focuses on business growth and market positioning.
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Harald Weiss

CFO

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Mark Ilcsik

Student in Residence

Mark is master's student at WU's Strategy, Innovation and Management Control (SIMC) program. Originally from Hungary, Budapest he is supporting the Pioneers team in many different fields such as scouting activities, innovation, and strategic analysis. His professional background includes experience from Morgan Stanley's Credit Risk Management team that helped him to develop skills in the area of financial analysis, model building, and presentation
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Michael Obrist

Engagement Manager & Digital Product Designer

In his role as Engagement Manager, Michael builds strong connections with corporate clients and further develops the business and digital products of Pioneers. He has a background in Economics and has worked several years in the Berlin and US startup ecosystem in digital technologies such as 3D printing, machine learning or online education. He has built and managed new products and services in growth-stage startups and unicorn companies alike.
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Michael Wlaschitz

Senior Innovation Consultant

Michael is our expert in venture development. Having worked in 3 startups prior to Pioneers, he brings in vast know-how in how to develop new business models. He also helps clients introduce startup tools and working styles and developing customer-centric products based on iterative testing and validation.Having completed a full-stack software development program, he also provides the necessary tech skills to develop software products from design to production.Additionally, as an alumni of the Strategy, Innovation & Management Control Master (SIMC) at WU, he has also a strong academic background in innovation topics always challenging the tools and methods applied at Pioneers.
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Michaela Stephen

Senior Innovation Consultant

Michaela is a Senior Innovation Consultant at Pioneers passionate about using business to drive innovation as a force for good. Originally from Scotland, and having worked in a startup environment herself, she brings diverse experience in the areas of intrapreneurship, social innovation, startup corporate collaboration, hackathons and innovation workshops. She has implemented these formats across numerous companies with particular focus on FinTech, Energy and Aerospace.
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Natalia Gricovkanics

Manager

Natalia is manager at Pioneers. Leading a team of consultants and senior consultants she is in charge of delivering high-class client work and coordinating efforts to improve the Pioneers offerings.
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Theresa Orlet

Marketing & Events

Theresa is responsible for the marketing, media and events section of Pioneers. She graduated in Media and Communications at Webster University with a minor in Psychology. One of her greatest interests is in start-ups and amplifying her knowledge in tech skills. In addition, she strives to always be on top in discovering innovative ways to improve the content on all digital channels.
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Thomas Gabriel

Managing Partner

Thomas is Managing Partner at Pioneers. He recently joined the team after a career in strategy consulting at Contrast and EY Parthenon.Thomas has a strong track record in strategically transforming organizations in several industries – strategy, organization, performance management. Innovation from thought to finish is driving his work – digitalization and sustainability are the main levers.He is a strategist, innovator and entrepreneur, making strategy and innovation happen.
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Verena Judmayer

Senior Innovation Consultant

As a Senior Innovation Consultant at Pioneers, Verena is our purpose-driven innovation expert, helping our clients to develop innovation with impact. Being a creative mind with a passion for entrepreneurship and impact innovation, she has experience in setting up innovation labs, facilitating design sprints, on-site as well as virtual, organising rapid prototyping challenges and building bridges between startups and corporates through various formats. Her project work has focused on FinTech, InsurTech and Energy while being enthusiastic about design and sustainability.

Alumni Advisors

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Annabelle Bockwoldt

VP R&D at ITAB

Annabelle is exploring the boundaries of IoT and innovation at the NASDAQ-listed retail solution provider ITAB, where she serves as the Vice President R&D.Before her time at ITAB, Annabelle was part of the management team at Pioneers, where she led and developed a team of consultants and conducted various innovation projects for both, SMEs as well as blue chip companies.Besides being experienced in setting up international, multi-corporate accelerator programs from scratch, she has also worked in Venture Capital for a Silicon Valley investor and co-founded a fintech startup and one data ethics think tank in Munich. In her free time, Annabelle loves to pay it forward through mentoring young entrepreneurs and by contributing to the Pioneers Expert Board.
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Harald Federspiel

Head of Global Programs at Seedstars

Harald is Manager and team lead at Pioneers and has run more than 30 innovation consulting projects for a variety of clients in different industries across the world. His passion is to work with innovative people on new products and services. He has extensive know-how in the field of intrapreneurship, startup-corporate collaboration and venture building where he delivers significant value to his clients by creating successful outcomes. He joined Pioneers Consulting services in the early days and helped building up the business unit.
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Markus Lang

Associate Partner at Speedinvest

Former tech entrepreneur now seasoned venture capitalist, Markus is a partner in Speedinvest’s sector-agnostic seed team. He is passionate about B2B software companies (led Impala, Upvest, Shapr3D) and consumer ventures (led SecondNature, Refurbed) that tackle under-digitised markets. Previously in charge of the fund’s pre-seed activities, he built a transverse portfolio of 40+ companies all across Europe.Earlier in his career, he co-founded an investor-backed logistics tech startup, advised multiple companies on their path to scale and ran his own venture. He has a background in Business Administration and Law.Globetrotter but Austrian at heart, Markus is a very active contributor to the local ecosystem. He lectures at the Vienna Technical University, runs initiatives to increase diversity in business leadership and holds board or advisory roles in several nonprofits and public institutions. In 2018, he was included in Forbes Magazine’s annual 30 under 30 list.
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Tamara Stix

Product Expert @TBF Startup

The Startup300 Partners

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Bernhard Lehner

Vorstand

During his studies in Vienna, Bernhard Lehner worked as a journalist for several media, including Die Presse. After founding and successfully establishing his own communication agency, he switched in 2006 as a partner to the first Austrian startup incubator i5invest. Since then he has worked as a co-founder (including 123people, tripwolf, all about apps, Adverity, Agentur Mint and others) and as a business angel (including Runtastic, wikitude, wikifolio and My Esel). Bernhard Lehner has lived with his family near Linz since 2015.
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Daniel Horak

Vorstand

Daniel Horak is co-founder and managing partner of 2013 founded crowdinvesting platform CONDA. Additionally, he is advisory board member of AustrianStartups (since 2014) and Digital Asset Association Austria (since 2018). He gained his first startup experience in 2007 by founding Spoken Language System, a company developing chat bots for customer support and worked for several years as IT- and management consultant.Daniel holds master’s degrees in business informatics as well as in executive management, currently he is engaged as part time lecturer for business planning and early stage financing at various universities and holds workshops and presentations about startups, financing and Blockchain on a regular basis.In 2017 he got awarded by Forbes DACH as 30under30 and has been a part of the Fintech Advisory Board by the Austrian ministry of finance in 2018.Since October 2019 Daniel acts as Chief Sales Officer within the startup300 company group.
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Michael Altrichter

Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender startup300

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Michael Eisler

Vorstand

Vorstand und Co-Founder startup300 AG. Michael Eisler ist ein Serial Entrepreneur und erfahrener Startup-Founder. Geboren (1980) und aufgewachsen in Linz machte er seine ersten unternehmerischen Schritte bereits während seiner Schulzeit in einer Informatik-HTL. Unmittelbar nach Schulabschluss gründete er die DIG AG, die er bis 2012 auf 35 Mitarbeiter entwickelte und anschließend an die Liechtensteinische Post AG verkaufte. Die Gründung der Wappwolf Inc. führte ihn an die US-Westküste, an der er mehrere Jahre arbeitete und lebte, unter anderem in Los Angeles als General Manager von Talenthouse. Seit 2015 lebt Michael Eisler mit seiner Familie in Linz.
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Michael Raab

CEO theminted

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The Pioneers History

2021

Focus on purpose-driven innovation

At Pioneers we want to contribute to a better future of society and use our know-how to support entrepreneurs solving the big challenges of this planet. In 2021 we have started the first initiatives on this topic and are collaborating with corporates and public organizations e.g. with the European Investment Bank on the Social Innovation Tournament 2021 to drive purpose-driven innovation.

2020

spin-off

Foundation of the Pioneers Innovation GmbH focusing on working hand in hand with corporates to build innovative solutions through venture activities.

2019

zero21 is launched

the network for corporates, founders, investors and entrepreneurs, enabling us to harness our services to benefit our community.

2018

Pioneers joins startup300

to grow our network and offer a scope of financial support, space and consultancy services, as well as networking and corporate collaboration.

2016

Pioneers Ventures

is created to further support our network of entrepreneurs, offering early-stage startups with funding from EUR 50 -100K.

2014

Innovation Consulting

is introduced in response to partners asking for our startup expertise and support with innovation activities.

2011

Pioneers Festival

is launched to expand our reach and engage a global network, offering unique access to European tech leaders.

2009

StartEurope is Founded

creating a network for startups, entrepreneurs and investors to drive innovation where it’s needed most.

What we can do for you?

Corporate Services

Learn more about our innovation services for corporates and how we can help you bring new products and services on the road.

Startups Services

Learn more about how we support startups in their development and find open calls of our corporate partners for external innovation.

Job Opportunities

Learn more about our open job positions and opportunities to join our team. We are always eager to find like-minded innovation enthusiasts.