What is the future of CultTech?

Driving Radical Change – How Fast Are Startups Transforming the Arts? Open Austria and viennacontemporary host a panel discussion on the future of CultTech moderated by Nellie Bowles of The New York Times on Thursday, August 24 in San Francisco. 

viennacontemporary and Open Austria host a panel discussion on CultTech with representatives from cultural institutions, venture capital firms, and art-focused start-ups. Moderated by Nellie Bowles of The New York Times, the panel aims to underscore the viability of and need for innovation in the cultural sector, art fairs, museums, opera, theater, performance and music. While startups and innovators have been rapidly changing all aspects of our life, the world of arts and culture with its long-standing traditions and stable, publicly funded institutional set-up were sometimes perceived as immune to transformation. This is no longer the case.

Startups fuelled by the latest digital technologies, including blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data, augmented and virtual reality are radically improving the way museums, opera houses, art galleries, and other cultural and artistic institutions operate and cater to their audiences. This will help artists and cultural organizations stay relevant for future generations.

Erik Bovee, the U.S.-based partner of Speedinvest, will commence the evening with opening remarks. Bovee co-founded the 100M Euro investment fund Speedinvest in Austria/Vienna, and together with his partners hasbuilt a bridge between Silicon Valley and the European tech scene. Speedinvest has invested already in 70 startups, including Adverity, Amodo d.o.o., Bikemap, Candis Gmbh, ClauseMatch,, Curve,, DRONAMICS, and others.

Panel guests include Brendan Ciecko, Founder and CEO of Cuseum; Michael D’Angelo, Co-Founder & CTO of Arthena; David Hirsch, Advisor to Leonardo Investments; Christopher Widauer, Head of Digital Development at the Vienna State Opera; and Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt, Artistic and Managing Director of viennacontemporary, Devang Thakkar, Head of Auctions at Artsy.

Register for the event here!

This panel will preface the VC CultTech Hackathon, the first of its scale in Austria, on September 19-21, 2017 in Vienna at the viennacontemporary. The VC CultTech Hackathon is a hackathon in the arts & culture area. That means the participants are not corporations, but cultural institutions:  art fairs, museums, opera, theater, performance and music.  International experts and startups are invited to solve problems for the participating art institutions through the use of technology. The overall objective of the Hackathon is to provide Viennese art and cultural institutions with new methods and digital solutions. The event will be the first of its scale in Europe, with the aim of increasing the significance of Vienna as cultural capital of Europe, turning it into a point of interest for arts & culture startups. The VC CultTech Hackathon is organized by viennacontemporary and Pioneers Discover in cooperation with the Vienna State Opera, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wiener Festwochen, and the City of Vienna, supported by Aksenov Family Foundation.

Open Austria is a joint initiative by the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and the Austrian Economic Chamber seeks to pave the way to success in California’s Silicon Valley for Austrian science and companies – start-ups and established enterprises alike. Apart from promoting Austrian business and industry, the initiative also aims to provide enhanced support for existing networks of Austrians in the valley and to enable closer scientific contacts.
Martin Rauchbauer is Co-Director of the Open Austria Silicon Valley Office and Austrian Consul in San Francisco. Prior to Open Austria Martin was Deputy Director of the Business Support Service and Head of the UNESCO unit at the Austrian Foreign Ministry in Vienna.Between 2011 and 2014 he was Director of Deutsches Haus at NYU in New York City. From 2007 until January 2011 he was the Deputy Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York. Martin also served as Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Mexico City and as Desk Officer at the Austrian Foreign Ministry. Throughout his career, Martin designed and implemented numerous high-profile academic, cultural and business-related events in North America. He also worked as a journalist for Austrian Radio and Television (ORF) and the Viennese weekly news magazine “Format”.  

viennacontemporary (September, 21 – 24 2017) is one of the top international contemporary art fairs, widely recognized for its bridging function between East and West. Each year, the fair hosts over 100 galleries from over 25 countries alongside curator-led presentations, talks, and citywide programming. In recent years viennacontemporary has developed into a hotspot for contemporary art, in a tough and highly competitive global market. is a global network of tech innovators offering its participants (startups, corporations and investors) three types of services: Pioneers Events organizes top international events on startups and tech innovation (the main being Pioneers’17), Pioneers Discover is an innovation consulting unit, and Pioneers Ventures manages a venture capital fund focused on early-ˇstage startups. The Pioneers Discover team supports corporate and public-ˇsector clients drive their innovation activities through the power of startup and runs projects, such as startup scouting, innovation days, hackathons, co-ˇcreation workshops, open innovation programs and acceleration programs. Wikipedia’s Jimmy Whales has called it “a gathering of most innovative startups.”

Supported by:
Aksenov Family Foundation is a dynamic platform, which fosters cultural and social innovation. The Foundation believes in cross-ˇcultural and cross-ˇdisciplinary dialog, and support initiatives that aim to improve and elevate the collective urban condition through cultural and artistic initiatives.

Register for the event here!

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