The new government promises great things for start-ups and for blockchain users. We have looked into the government's agenda - here is a brief overview:
Blockchain: development of a master plan for blockchain technology and its opportunities which will include the following projects: (i) creation of a uniform legal framework for investments in block chain; (ii) examination of the development possibilities of promising use cases; (iii) establishment of an Austrian blockchain centre of excellence; and (iv) setting up a strong forward-looking Austrian position for the support, application and regulation of blockchain technology.
New corporate form for start-ups: a new corporate form be internationally competitive, especially for innovative start-ups and their founders in the early stages. This is to be supported in particular by the following measures: (i) a digital form of incorporation; (ii) English as the official language at the authorities; and (iii) a share capital savings scheme. Furthermore, the government will support a standardisation within the EU of this corporate form as an "EU Limited".
Flexible share transfer to investors and employees: unfortunately, the current government's agenda does not yet reveal any details, except that only minimal digital actions shall be required for an effective transfer.
Acceleration and simplification of the foundation of companies: by (i) expanding digitalisation in Austrian corporate law; (ii) introducing structured commercial register filings; and (iii) enabling commercial register filings. Furthermore, the share capital of Austrian limited liability companies shall (in addition to the foundation privilege option) generally be reduced to EUR 10,000.
Flexibilisation of Austrian corporate law: Austrian corporate law, meaning the Austrian Act for limited liability Companies (GmbHG) and for joint stock corporations (AktG), shall become more flexible to the benefit of family businesses and start-ups.
Funds of funds for start-ups: establishment of a fund in cooperation with private investors to expand the availability of growth capital for start-ups (financing volume of EUR 2 million to EUR 20 million).
Investment of institutional investors: institutional investors such as pension funds, retirement funds and insurance companies shall be allowed to invest in innovative start-ups.
Apart from the new corporate form for start-ups and the flexibilisation of Austrian corporate law, we see great potential in easing transfer of shares to investors and employees. A simplification of employee share ownership would be an important step for Austria to become an internationally competitive player in the start-up sector.
In the next few years, the Austrian government has a number of exciting and interesting legislative projects that will, from what we expect, make Austria a much more attractive place for start-ups. We are excited and look forward to a positive future for the Austrian start-up scene.
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