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Meet the 500 most promising
early-stage tech startups.

Our mission is to support the most promising ideas and early stage startups by rewarding them with a Pioneers Festival that is going to help them on their way to success.

The Pioneers500 is an annual selection of the 500 most promising early-stage tech startups identified in cooperation with the global tech community and select key players. Pioneers will cover the costs of 2 Pioneers Festival tickets for each accepted startup.

Applications for Pioneers 500 are now closed.

Put me on the waitlist

FAQ

Check out the accepted 500 startups.

Pioneers Challenge

The Battle of the Ecosystems

Out of the Pioneers500 a jury will nominate the most outstanding 10 teams per ecosystem.
The 7 ecosystems are:

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These 70 selected startups will receive exclusive mentoring by Pioneers Ventures, fine-tune their pitch at the Mentors Day on May 22, and showcase their business to 300 international investors on May 23 at the Challenge Day in Vienna.

Each Ecosystem Champion will make it to the finals, TOP 7 startups will pitch to the whole Pioneers Festival audience at the Arena stage on May 25.
The best one out of the 7 finalists will be awarded Pioneer of the Year.

Applications for Pioneers 500 are now closed.

Thank you! We highly appreciate the effort and time invested in applying to Pioneers 500! You are all incredible and we stay humble seeing how much you’re achieving.

The evaluation process is in full swing, but new startups can still create an account and submit their information for the waitlist.

Put me on the waitlist

FAQ

Check out the accepted 500 startups.


PIONEERS CHALLENGE PARTNERS

PIONEERS500 IN COLLABORATION WITH

Pioneers500 FAQ

Want to get to know more details about Pioneers500 & Pioneers Challenge?

  • What is Pioneers500?

    Pioneers500 is an annual selection of the 500 most promising early stage startups (raised less than €3M), who will be the only early-stage startups participating in the Pioneers Festival. These 500 companies will be identified in cooperation with the community and a limited number of selected key players.

  • Why should I participate?

    Being nominated and selected as one of the Pioneers500 companies Pioneers will fully cover the event fees that provide two startups’ representatives with access to the Pioneers Festival which enables them to network like crazy, meet international top-notch investors & accelerators, make business with corporate representatives, exchange ideas with like-minded founders, receive first-class international media exposure, consume unchallenged level of inspiration, access new tools and know-how through empowering key-notes & masterclasses, and with a bit of luck win the grand prize of the Pioneers Challenge. Pioneers wants to provide startups with the fullest support potential, thus a juried high-quality community is crucial to build business relationships that matter. Hence every potential participant has to apply in order to make it onto the invitation list of Pioneers Festival. In essence Pioneers runs an 'invite-application policy’ that will ensure not only a diverse mix of professions, backgrounds, and creativity, but also the overall quality of the event. Like Adam Cheyer (Founder of Siri) once said after his visit at the Pioneers Festival “I came to inspire, but went away inspired” - now we want to inspire and empower you.

  • What is in it for me?

    As we all know, no matter if you are a HW or a SW startup, focusing on B2B or B2C, in the end what really leverages your growth & development is media exposure and profound business relationships with investors and corporates. If you want to raise the level of awareness of your product, attract customers, build credibility, attract investors and push the name of your startup across borders, Pioneers Challenge is the right place for you. Apart from 300 curated participants of the international venture capital industry, all final pitches are livestreamed and the most important international media will follow your pitch live on stage. Furthermore, you will also represent your ecosystem as its champion and finally compete for the Pioneer of the Year award.

  • How can I participate?

    Simply apply. Keep in mind the earlier you apply, the higher the likelihood that you will get an invitation for the Pioneers500, as we have an ongoing selection process between mid of November 2015 and beginning of April 2016.

  • When will I know if I got chosen?

    PIONEERS 500
    The Pioneers500 are selected in an ongoing process between mid of November 2015 and beginning of April 2016. You will know for sure at the beginning of April 2016, but it might be that we already get in touch with you earlier.
     
    PIONEERS CHALLENGE (TOP 70)
    If the jury selects your startup as 1 out of the top 70 for the Pioneers Challenge, Pioneers will get in touch with you asap.

  • What is Pioneers Challenge?

    The Pioneers Challenge is Pioneers’ world-known startup competition. Previous winners not only presented on a global stage and received outstanding media exposure covered by live-streams and viral press floods of CNBC, NY Times, Wired, Techcrunch, and others but also won direct funding from renowned investors (€100k+), and built profound relationships with the likes of Y Combinator.
       Out of the Pioneers500 a jury will nominate the most outstanding 10 teams per ecosystem. The 7 ecosystems are Financial Services, Business & Productivity, Materials & Manufacturing, Energy & Utilities, Lifestyle & Entertainment, Mobility & Transportation, as well as Life Science & Agriculture.
       Being selected you will participate in a 3 weeks online mentoring program provided by Pioneers Ventures and our network of mentors and industry experts. You will participate in the Mentors Day on May 22nd in Vienna to fine-tune your pitch to perfection. On May 23rd, the Challenge Day, your startup will pitch on-stage in front of 300 top-level international investors who will in the end select the Top 7 ecosystem champions (1 startup per ecosystem).
       Finally, if you make it into the Top 7, you will enter the big stage and pitch one more time live in front of thousands of people on the Arena Stage at Pioneers Festival. The final winner will be awarded as the Pioneer of the Year.

  • What does the process look like?

    1. Get nominated for the Pioneers500 and participate in the Pioneers Festival 2016
    2. Get selected for the Pioneers Challenge (one out of 70)
    3. Receive a 3 weeks online mentoring program
    4. Participate in the Mentors Day in Vienna on May 22nd
    5. Pitch in front of the 300 most important investors on May 23rd and become your Ecosystem Champion (Top 7 selection)
    6. The Top 7 will pitch on the big stage in front of thousands of people, international media, investors and corporates to become the Pioneer of the Year on May 25th.

  • Who is allowed to participate?

    If you are a startup which has not raised more than € 3M and is working on some great stuff based on the 7 ecosystems (Financial Services, Business & Productivity, Materials & Manufacturing, Energy & Utilities, Lifestyle & Entertainment, Mobility & Transportation, as well as Life Science & Agriculture), you are eligible to apply for the Pioneers 500.
    A jury will decide on your nomination.

  • Do I have to apply for Pioneers500 & Challenge separately?

    No. If you submit your application and are eligible in terms of criteria early stage, not raised more than € 3M, you are considered for both Pioneers500 & Pioneers Challenge.

  • What are the costs?

    Pioneers will fully cover the event fees that provide two startups’ representatives with access to the Pioneers Festival - in essence we will pay two Festival Tickets per selected startup. Pioneers does not charge or take equity from startup participants. Pioneers will not cover your travel and accommodation costs. The selected Top70 Pioneers Challenge startups will also get access to the 3 weeks mentoring program and Mentors Day (May 22nd) as well as the Challenge Day (May 23rd).

    If your startup was nominated for the Pioneers500 and your startup went through the registration process of Pioneers Festival (incl. ticket registration via Eventbrite), but your startup doesn’t show up at the event without informing the Pioneers team in time about it, your startup will be charged a fine of € 600 excl. VAT.