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JKU Linz Danube Cup

Welcome to Danube Cup 2024 and to the host of this year

The 8th international Pitching Contest

The Danube Cup is an annual International Pitch Competition for students of universities along the Danube. Two Hungarian top universities, Corvinus University of Budapest and Budapest University of Technology and Economics, founded the competition in 2016. Danube Cup’s mission is to bring start-ups to international success, while bringing together the most motivated university start-ups along the river Danube. This year’s 8th edition is organized by the Johannes Kepler University in Linz..
Rooted in regional tradition but endowed with a strong international perspective, the Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU) supports and fosters high-quality standards in research and education, aiming to become a top-rated European university. The JKU’s 50-year success story includes progressing from an institution of higher-level education in social and economic sciences to becoming one of Austria’s largest educational institutions in university-level education and research.
Johannes Kepler University
The LIT Open Innovation Center (OIC) where the Danube Cup will take place this year was designed as an open-plan research hub to bring science, academia, and real-world practices together, thereby supporting a circular economy and sustainable polymer production. Constructed in 2019, the contemporary building is a place to conduct research and development in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Robot Intelligence, IT Security, Information Electronics, and Industry 4.0.
Together with the LIT Factory, the LIT OIC is an open platform designed to not only conduct research into the potential of advancing digitalization, but also create cross-industry solutions and manufacture innovative products.

What can you expect at Danube Cup 2024?

The Danube Cup is a unique opportunity for early-stage student start-up teams.

Start-up Pitching Contest
  • compete with other student start-up teams on an international level
  • receive professional business advice from experienced start-up mentors and entrepreneurs
  • learn that international market research is a must
  • understand the importance of start-up validation
  • practice pitching in front of a jury
  • make friends with other local and international students
  • get familiar with ecosystem players and widen your social network
  • connect with students from other countries and broaden your network
  • find additional team members with skills currently missing in your team
  • teams at the final competition win a prize
  • the winning team can keep the perpetual Danube Cup trophy for one year

National Pre-Selection

Each partner university individually nominates two student start-up teams to participate in the semi-final. The sixteen teams will be mentored by the respective universities preparing for the semi-final. To be eligible, teams must meet the following requirements and must be nominated by the delegating universities of the Danube Cup network.

Selection Criteria:

  • Validation: We are looking for teams that have already performed validation research for their ideas, at least locally. This event is not an idea competition, so teams are required to have already performed some market research or gained traction. The applicants must have validated the business idea among potential customers, the product must be innovative and enjoy a growth potential independently of local market trends.

  • Team sizeTeams must have at least two, maximum five total members. Participants can only be a member of one team.
  • Availability: In principle, the teams must be available for the Danube Cup program; in exceptional cases, a single member may also pitch. 
  • Student teams: Teams may contain non-university member participants. However, the majority of the members should be composed of registered students and one of them should be studying at Danube Cup partner universities.
  • Funding: Teams must be in a early stage, that have not received equity related financial backing by professional third-party accelerators, existing companies or venture capitalists.
  • Summary: Teams participating in the Danube Cup must consist of 2 to 5 members, with each participant belonging to only one team. Student teams are encouraged, with a majority of members being registered students, including at least one from partner universities. Delegated startups should have a validated business concept, are innovative, have growth potential, are in international demand and no external (market-) capital for equity has been raised.  An existing prototype is not a prerequisite of application.

Danube Cup 2024 Team Elisabeth S.C. Berger
Petra Muschitz, BA - LIT Open Innovation Center - Teamlead, Operations and Event Management
Christoph Frei, BSc, MA - LIT Open Innovation Center Team - 	Marketing and Communications
Safak Bilgic - JKU LIT Open Innovation Team - Entrepreneurship Management Elisabeth S.C. Berger – JKU Head of the Institute for Entrepreneurship

Petra Muschitz, BA – JKU LIT Open Innovation Center Team – Teamlead, Operations and Event Management

Christoph Frei, BSc, MA – JKU LIT Open Innovation Center Team – Marketing and Communications

Safak Bilgic – JKU LIT Open Innovation Center Team – Entrepreneurship Management

Danube Cup Network

The partner network of the Danube Cup comprises nine universities from five countries