On Tuesday, October 4, over 130 guests including Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner, Consul General Ulrike Ritzinger and Trade Commissioner Rudolf Thaler joined co-directors Martin Rauchbauer and Georg Fürlinger for a celebratory opening of their new office with pastries by Austrian-born pastry chef Albert Kutternig. Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, U.S. Ambassador to Austria Alexa Wesner, and the Vice President of the Austrian Chamber for the Economy (WKO), Jürgen Roth participated live from their respective offices in Vienna via a Google Hangout broadcast.
All participants were delighted by the opportunities that this new presence in the West Coast’s entrepreneurial hub presents to Austria. “Silicon Valley, with companies such as Apple or Uber and a third of the world’s venture capital is one of the most innovative regions in the world” said Foreign Minister Kurz. “With this new office, we want to build a bridge to better connect Austrian entrepreneurs with this region and grow their networks and potentials.”
Ambassador Waldner concurred, underlining the growing Austrian network in the U.S.: “I’m delighted to see our excellent network in the U.S. grow even further with this new office in San Francisco, making Open Austria the door opener to Silicon Valley for Austrian start-ups.”
Ambassador Wesner underlined the importance of California and the U.S. in general for the global IT sector: "The U.S. has a vital role in supporting and assisting entrepreneurship worldwide because of our experience, our diversity, and our entrepreneurial culture." Vice President Roth weighed in by stating that “this initiative presents a unique opportunity for Austrian businesses and adds to our existing network of opportunities”.
With the Open Austria initiative, Austria is sending a strong signal to the world’s most innovative and future-minded region. Its mission is to connect Austrian entrepreneurs, innovators, scientists and creative minds to the Valley and provide those who are already here with a home base. Another goal is to shed light on the vast creative and innovative potential of Austria. As a high-tech nation of “hidden champions” in the heart of Europe, Austria deserves to be recognized well beyond its world-famous artistic and cultural traditions.