How to build a MVP? How do get PR right? How do hire the right people?
We have the best of the best speakers sharing their real life experience and helping you build up or expand your startup. From the former PR manager of Steve Jobs to the Co-Founder & CEO at Stack Overflow - you can’t miss our Startup Academy.

If you're a founder or simply just interested in the world of startups, you have to attend this stage - you will leave with a head full of ideas to take your startup to the next level. Or you will instantly feel the urge to start your own business...
The first must-attend presentations are already confirmed
Myriam Locher

Myriam has more than 10 years of experience as entrepreneur and company builder. She supports fast growing startups, large corporations as well as bold personalities going through major changes. She is a dedicated trainer for leadership, negotiations and sales, change management coach and keynote speaker on (digital) transformation. Being a certified NLP trainer (American Board of NLP) she belongs to a small global group of trainers with deep knowledge about cognitive effects on performance and has the skills to make significant improvements. Her work is characterised by her passion to support people with the desire to grow. Myriam has both a Swiss and a German passport and lives in Berlin. She is mother of two children and married to a serial entrepreneur.

Daniel Cronin

Daniel is a passionate entrepreneur, lecturer, presenter and keynote speaker. He wrote his thesis on Mobile Marketing, became a founding member of the full-service app-agency allaboutapps (a joint venture of i5invest and runtastic) and advises several startups. Daniel is Co-Founder and Member of the Board of AustrianStartups (a non-profit to strengthen the entrepreneurial eco-system), Co-Founder of crowdinvesting-platform  primeCROWD and lectures at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, the Vienna University of Technology, the Vienna University of Economics and Business as well as the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt. In October 2015 he joined the Board of the WWG – Österreichische Werbewissenschaftliche Gesellschaft / the Austrian Association of Advertising Sciences, in January 2016 he became founding member of startup300 – an early-stage accelerator and in August 2016 founding partner of the Vienna Mentoring Group (, a mentoring program for early stage startups. He has hosted more than 150 events on startups including Pioneers Festival (one of the leading startup-events in Europe) and was the presenter of the Austrian version of Shark Tank, "2Minuten, 2Millionen – die PULS4 Startup-Show” on national TV. In October 2016 he co-hosted “The Spark – Der Deutsche Digitalpreis”(The German Digital Awards) and in June 2017 the“Tag der Deutschen Industrie”(Day of German Industry/TDI`17). He is nicknamed “The Pitch Professor” and is considered as one of the leading experts and trainers on pitching with more than 150 trainings held both for startups and large corporations.

How to build a MVP?
Lars Jankowfsky

Lars is the co-founder and CTO of OXID eSales and also of swoodoo AG which he successfully sold to At the moment he is focused on – EMEA´s leading software & product company with a focus on high growth startups. He helps tech startups around the world to scale - mostly by creating and scaling powerful tech teams. Lars also provide interim management for high-tech companies as a ‘turn-around’ CTO with a focus on solving growth and scaling challenges.

How to negotiate venture deals?
Matthias Schranner
Ex-Hostage Negotiator, CEO
Schranner Negotiation Institute

What do hostage-taking and raising capital have in common? Simple: you’ll have to negotiate. It will be tough. You have to win. Because if you don’t, the consequences may be disastrous. Matthias Schranner has experienced thousands of negotiations where the lives of people or businesses were at stake. A former drug enforcement agent and hostage negotiator, he was trained by the German police and the FBI for the most difficult negotiations. As the founding CEO of Schranner Negotiation Institute based in Zurich and New York, he now supports the UN, global corporations, and political parties worldwide. At Bits & Pretzels, Matthias will teach startup founders how to prepare for the toughest deals: investment rounds, business partnerships, sales, licensing, acquisitions, and beyond. The ‘make it or break it’ as an entrepreneur may depend on how well you master the game of negotiation. We are looking forward to an adrenaline-rich experience, taking us through the phases of deals on the edge of survival! Want to learn more about Matthias? Connect with him on LinkedIn ( and visit his website: .

How to design a company that matters?
Steve Vassallo
General Partner
Foundation Capital

Steve Vassallo is a General Partner at Foundation Capital where he works at the intersection of business, technology, and design. Steve joined the Foundation Capital team in 2007. Today, he heads the firm’s design practice and leads broader conversations among industry leaders about the art and science of building great products. Steve serves on the Board of Directors of Sunrun (IPO 2015), Mode Analytics, Bolt Threads, Cerebras, ForUsAll, Sentient Energy and AutoGrid. He was previously a project leader and design engineer at IDEO and has 77 patents and multiple product design awards to his name.

How to build global champions?
Marc Samwer
Global Founders Capital

Co-Founder Ebay Germany, Rocket Internet, and Groupon Inernational. Early Investor Facebook, LinkedIn and Zalando.

How to do fundraising?
Rainer Maerkle
General Partner
Holtzbrinck Ventures

Rainer has been a member of the Holtzbrinck Ventures team since 2008. He was responsible for Holtzbrinck Ventures’ investments in Zalando (IPO 2014), Quandoo (sold to Recruit in 2015) and brands4friends (sold to eBay in 2010) as well as in Scalable Capital, HelloFresh, Home24, Outfittery, Stylight and several others. Before coming to Holtzbrinck Ventures, Rainer played an entrepreneurial role as Head of Business Development at The business was sold successfully to Pages Jaunes in 2010. Prior to that, Rainer worked for five years in the venture capital field at 3i and Siemens Acceleration, where he was involved in investments in the e-commerce sector. Rainer started his career at Siemens in 2000. Rainer studied Electrical Engineering at the Technical University of Munich and received his MBA at INSEAD, graduating both with honors.

How to do PR?
Andy Cunningham
Former PR advisor to Steve Jobs
Cunningham Collective

"An entrepreneur at the forefront of marketing, branding, positioning and communicating “The Next Big Thing,” Andy Cunningham has played a key role in the launch of a number of new categories including video games; personal computers; desktop publishing; digital imaging; RISC microprocessors; software as a service; very light jets; and clean tech investing. She is an expert in creating and executing marketing, branding and communication strategies that accelerate growth, increase shareholder value and advance corporate reputation. 

Andy came to Silicon Valley in 1983 to work for Regis McKenna and help Steve Jobs launch the Macintosh. When Steve left Apple to form NeXT and acquire Pixar, he chose Andy’s public relations agency, Cunningham Communication, to represent him. She continued to work with Steve for several years and has developed marketing, branding and communication strategies for game-changing technologies and companies ever since. 

Andy is the founder and president of Cunningham Collective, a brand strategy firm dedicated to bringing innovation to market. The 5-year old firm has worked with many companies in various markets including telecommunications, search, energy efficiency, media and publishing, finance, mobile apps, display technology, healthcare, big data and semiconductors. Andy is also the host of the popular podcast Marketing Over Ice ( 

Andy serves on the following corporate boards: Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc. (bicycles and gear); GrowthPlay, LLC (sales effectiveness firm); and RhythmOne plc (programmatic ad platform). Andy also advises the following companies: Virta Health, AirPR, Traackr, MixR, OptzzChain and Wellomics. In addition, Andy sits on the boards of the following institutions and non-profit organizations: The Aspen Institute; Menlo College; Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications; and ZERO1: The Art & Technology Network, an organization she founded in 2000 with the mission to shape the future at the intersection of art and technology. Past board positions include YPO, WPO, CEO, the Peninsula Open Space Trust and the Computer History Museum. She is an Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow and holds memberships in WPO, CEO, TED and Women Corporate Directors. 

Andy graduated from Northwestern University and lives in Sausalito, California with her husband Rand Siegfried.

How to write the script for the future?
Joel Spolsky
Co-Founder & CEO
Stack Overflow

Joel Spolsky is the CEO and co-founder of Stack Overflow, the place where millions of developers go to learn, share their knowledge and advance their careers. Stack Overflow has become the most trusted developer resource on the Internet and currently serves more than 40 million programmers every month. Joel is also the founder of Fog Creek Software, Trello and previously worked at Microsoft – where he designed VBA as a member of the Excel team. 

Joel is also a world-­renowned speaker and has written four books, including User Interface Design for Programmers and Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent. His personal website, Joel on Software, has been popular with developers around the world since its inception in 2000 and has been translated into over 30 languages. Joel graduated from Yale University with a Computer Science degree.

How to build a multi-billion dollar pricing engine?
Kevin Novak
Former Sr. Manager and Head of Data Science

Kevin Novak is currently and Entrepreneur in Residence at Playground Global. Most recently, he worked at Uber as the leader of brokerage engineering and market dynamics for the Uber Freight product. He has also served as Uber's Head of Data Science Platform, leading Uber's data science efforts in machine learning and experimentation research, data modeling, and anomaly detection, and as Uber's first Head of Data Science. Since joining Uber in July 2011, Kevin's contributed to Uber's engineering and scientific work as an engineer, scientist, and leader, including being responsible for the invention and implementation of Uber's first dynamic pricing algorithms, supervising development and theory behind the UberPOOL and uberEATS products, and building Uber's embedded data science organization from a team of 1 to a team of 50+. Before Uber, Kevin earned his graduate degree in physics from Michigan State where his academic work involved nuclear physics theory and the statistical verification of heavy ion collision models.