Start-up Programs

Unicorn provides an infrastructure, but also supports innovation projects at the university campus. In cooperation with partners from the university and beyond, we offer a lot of support. Regular events & talks with exciting guests are also on the program.

Start-up Werkstatt
  • The Start-up-Werkstatt is aimed to all employees of the University of Graz with start-up and innovation ideas. Together with experts, your own ideas will be concretized and brought to a prototypical implementation within a few months.
More information
Spin-off Lab
  • The Unicorn spin-off lab is aimed at all researchers who would like to set up their own business based on their research idea and offers coaching, mentoring and international networking together with partners from industry including an individual project plan and an early follow-up strategy.
More information
Urban Tech
  • The vision of URBAN Tech project is to contribute to the increase of the competitiveness of European industries in the Health Tech, Greentech and Smart City sectors. Up to 54,350 euros per SME or start-up and other benefits are available for the best solutions from these sectors.
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Industrie x Unicorn
  • Cooperation with IV Steiermark
  • Synergies between start-ups and industry
  • Office in Unicorn as IV Space for start-ups
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Lunch Talk: Innovation
  • Regular Lunch Talk
  • Exchange about the latest topics from the start-up and innovation scene
  • If interested in holding a talk at Unicorn, please contact us at
Digital Innovation Modelling
  • Collaboration between students and companies on real innovation projects
  • Benefits: gain valuable practical experience, acquire know-how and knowledge about innovation management, etc.
More information

Start-up Werkstatt

The Start-Up Werkstatt is open to all employees of the University of Graz with start-up and innovation ideas. Pursue your idea towards self-employment! For the whole project the employees receive a grant of up to 40.000.- EUR. More information

Startup workshop idea phase:

  • Only for employees of the University of Graz
  • Suitable for all ideas with a way to start a business
  • Mediation of the essential content on the subject of self-employment
  • Network access to grants and financing
  • Supervision by own mentors and experts
  • Extension of own skills (website, prototype,…)
  • Up to EUR 2,000 for material costs for project implementation
  • Optional leave of absence: Coverage of salary costs up to 8 hours per week on a full-time basis

Opportunity for subsequent start-up phase:

  • Up to EUR 5,000 for material costs for project implementation
  • Coverage of salary costs up to 16 hours per week on a full-time basis

Deadline June 4, 2023


Start-up-Werkstatt Program Management

If you still have a question, please feel free to contact us!

Spin-off Lab

The Unicorn spin-off lab is aimed at all researchers who would like to set up their own business based on their research idea. Beside the R&D work supported by the host research group, Unicorn offers coaching, mentoring and international networking together with partners from industry. An individual project plan including milestones and an early follow-up strategy for the time after the fellowship will improve the quality and the success rate of the spin-off lab project.

  • Spin-off Lab Fellowship worth 150,000.- EUR
  • Application open to researchers of University of Graz and all external
  • Further development of commercially useable research results to a spin-off company
  • Individual coaching and milestone plan
  • Startup know-how through workshops
  • Temporary full-time employment (12 to 18 months, up to postdoc salary)
  • Shared office desk for the duration of the project
  • Individual support from mentors and coaches
  • Budget for consumables/material costs up to EUR 2.000.- per month
  • Involvement in the startup community and relevant networking
  • More information


Spin-off Lab Program Management

If you still have a question, please feel free to contact us!


Accelerating innovation in Health Tech, Smart City and Greentech

URBAN Tech supports via 3 Funding Stages the acceleration of competitive success of European SMEs and start-ups through market launch of new or significantly improved products and services with higher value in Health Tech, Smart City and Greentech industry sectors. As a member of the URBAN Tech consortium, Unicorn actively collaborates with fellow partners to contribute to the success and impact of URBAN Tech’s mission. In November 2022, 27 companies from across Europe participated in our hackathon as part of the project. The participants were supported with intensive mentoring, training and inspirational sessions during the hackathon and presented their results in front of the jury at the end. In the summer of 2023, we transitioned into the piloting phase, and below, you’ll find the teams we’ve been actively mentoring and co-mentoring:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101005301.

Greencent is a loyalty system in form of an app that tracks reductions in CO2 emissions achieved through individual activities. Users can spend their accumulated greencents at partner establishments including shops, restaurants, and within the local region.

let’s dev

let’s dev is creating Tailwind, a platform which is using smart meters connected to wind turbines to receive real time data of the power generated. This data is linked to the investment in the app, showing the investors the energy produced by their wind turbine.

tARvel (Acrux Cyber Services)

tARvel combines a platform for creating personalized touristic routes as well as a cross-platform mobile application for tourists. The project aims at attracting more people to learn the history of their native city and region including the younger generation.


Rhoé is a mobility and green technology start-up. Their solution inBOARD is an API dictionary that can translate complex data into actionable insights and visually appealing representations, enabling citizens & policy makers to engage with smart city data.


easily makes electric vehicle charging easy with additional charging options enabled by simple connections to private and semi-private charging points as well as convenient billing wherever you are.

Opus Novo

Opus Novo is the manufacturer of the digital care assistant “ELLY”, which is a multifunctional lamp designed to address the challenges faced by family caregivers. ELLY helps prevent falls, provides lighting for night time navigation, etc.

Spacetify (Webmark Europe)

Spacetify, their space element inventory software and application as a PWA (progressive web application) is a complex web and mobile application, which is able to register the space elements owned by either municipalities or organizations.


Founderhood is a platform where you can run engaging & efficient virtual, hybrid, and in-person start-up programs. You can accept and evaluate start-up applications, host live online sessions, provide resources and perks to founders, etc.


With their solution co-town they want to enable people to visually express what they want their city to look like. Every user can submit a self-made urban collage and add a text comment as a complement to the visual proposal.

Owners Partners

Owners Partners wants to boost sustainable mobility in the city by customizing stations for parking and charging personal mobility vehicles, for bikes/e-bikes, with the possibility of adding scooters/e-scooters later on.

Local Food

Local Food Kidz offers a transparent, educational and fun way for children and their adults to learn about the food they are eating at school. It enables local farmers to showcase their products and schools and kindergartens to compose menus, keep track of deliveries, etc.


Everyrun is a C2C platform that helps connect runners and race organisers who want to run together and get fit in unique and creative places by making it super easy to host, monetise and join running events.


Their solution GreenSheep is a web application that allows citizens to access, in a visual and easily understandable way, information about air quality in their local community.

Fae Technology

E2S-CityScan proposes a smart solution based on autonomous IoT devices to be installed on a fleet of urban vehicles (e.g. garbage trucks, bus) to collect data from the urban environment such as air quality and thermal conditions.


AREYLight AI offers a solution by leveraging AI algorithms, sensor and Computer Vision based presence detection technology, wireless communication, and real-time remote management software to monitor the entire lighting infrastructure.

Industry x Unicorn

Styrian industry is a strong long-standing partner of the University of Graz. Through the collaboration between Unicorn and the Verband für Standort und Gesellschaft Steiermark this partnership is strengthened by bringing researchers and students of Austria’s second largest university, start-ups and industry closer together.


Start-ups and spin-offs of the University of Graz

The University of Graz is an entrepreneurially active and very broadly positioned university in research and teaching with high social relevance. Time and again, research projects turn into interesting spin-off companies. Some of them are listed here (will be updated continuously).


PureSurf is an EIC Transition project that focuses on the production of sustainable surfactants from locally available waste streams using green chemistry. Surfactants are found in detergents, agrochemicals, paints & coatings, and personal care products, but are currently largely produced either from petroleum or imported goods such as palm oil.


The intensive use of synthetic pesticides leads to serious environmental problems and dangerous effects on human health. The mission of the spin-off LinoEx is to produce biological pesticides based on natural oils and thus reduce the impact of synthetic pesticides.


Innophore GmbH is a spin-off company of acib GmbH and the University of Graz. They work on the identification and development of high-value enzymes and more efficient, environmentally friendly “green” chemical production processes and novel biosimilars for medical treatments.


The 3Days are entering the next round, this time focussing on the topic of education.
Start-ups from the education sector are invited to take part, network with mentors from the education sector and further develop their products and solutions.

What will tomorrow’s learning look like? Whether at school, university or at work, digitalisation is playing an increasingly important role in learning and digital tools, technologies and artificial intelligence should and can support learning.
Prior to the 3Days, an online discussion will take place on 1 February 2024 on the topic of “Innovation & learning: is that possible?” so that all relevant aspects of education can be identified.

So that we no longer “produce” educational losers in the future, but that every individual in our society becomes an active learner.

Startup Navigator

In Austria, there are numerous services, subsidies and events that support you in founding a startup or later on accelerating it. There are nationwide initiatives and offers at the level of the federal states.

The Startup Navigator offers nationwide and state-specific information on all relevant contact points for the most important startup topics, such as founding, financing, community, competitions or internationalization. You can find more information at USP – Startup Navigator