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The time has come for our final Austria to Austin 3.0 blog post: The ATA Checkpoint Exchange Recap! This Checkpoint program was the first of its kind, and we were thrilled for the opportunity to offer not one — but two exchange programs for the 2018 summer. This exchange centered around our Checkpoint program, and specifically designed for intermediate entrepreneurs. From over 300 impressive applications, we selected 14 Austrian entrepreneurs brimming with creativity, dedication, and a passion for their distinct ventures.

The week spent with these global innovators was loaded with site visits, pitches, mentors, Austin culture, and more! We kicked off the exchange with our Checkpoint program hosted by our Senior Program Manager, Maia Donohue and 3DS Founder and CIO, Cam Houser. In just two days, our participants learned key entrepreneurial insights concerning revenue streams, customer discovery, cofounder dynamics, and investing. After refining and perfecting their elevator pitches, all 14 participants pitched their ventures during the Investor Roundup! In this speed-investing event, each participant had 1 minute to pitch their idea, and then 20 minutes to court our panel of investors. Each investor was given “3D$ Bucks” to invest in the venture of their choosing. The money was stacked and counted, and the winner of the ATA 3.0 Investor Roundup was Lukas Krafft with Naboto – Not Another Booking Tool! All of the #ATACheckpoint crew did an amazing job, and we were all impressed with how much they learned in just the first two days.

A central focus of this exchange was creating a mentor platform that our participants can learn and benefit from far beyond the exchange. We connected each of the participants with Austin-based mentors, who they were able to meet in person during their time in Austin. Thanks to our relationship with OSTA (Office of Science and Technology Austria), we also launched a new mentorship platform, connecting each student with a fellow Austrian mentor around the world. This platform has already begun to demonstrate its value and impact; thanks to her newly formed mentor relationship, Julia Ramsmaier was able to take part in a Silicon Valley Inspiration Tour directly after the exchange ended! We look forward to seeing this network expand and flourish as our ATA community continues to grow and evolve.

True to the 3DS approach, we packed over a month’s worth of events into just one week. Throughout the seven days of the Checkpoint exchange, were able to visit inspiring and cutting-edge companies such as Facebook, re:3D, Techstars and Oracle! Of course, we also managed to squeeze in plenty of fun. Participants ate countless tacos, attempted to escape at the Escape Game, admired art at the Blanton Museum, tested the chilly waters at Barton Springs, and even explored living our best life with A Tribe Called Brunch!

All in all, the first-ever ATA Checkpoint exchange was a huge success! Once again, our global impact would not be possible without the dedication and generosity of all of the mentors, local leaders, businesses, and our partnership with the US Embassy Vienna. We look forward to watching these young Austrian leaders continue to positively impact the world around them. Stay in the loop as we continue to activate entrepreneurial potential and expand our global community!