Pixel 46 – where Fill starts the engines

Start-up culture in a family-run business and familial flair in a start-up

Fill, a family business with deep roots in Upper Austria, has always been rather different. Flat hierarchies, steadfast faith in the future, boundless curiosity. Fill has always been a little bit of a start-up. This is probably why the digitalization team feels so at home at Pixel 46 in the old Linz tobacco factory.

The tobacco factory in Linz, formerly an Austria Tabak production site, is today a synonym for creativity and fresh thinking in Linz. Attributes that were cast in the foundations with the choice of architect: Peter Behrens was responsible for the design, together with Alexander Popp. And Behrens' buildings are future-proof. Generously sized cable ducts, open floor plans, wide corridors, ramps, freight elevators. If someone had to design a site for start-ups today, they would do it like Behrens.

And here, in the space named "Pixel 46", Fill's logo can also be found. Eight employees of the digitalization group have their workplace here, 95 kilometers from Gurten. Alongside software developers, architects, communication agencies, consultancy companies, and many others. In spaces that may have a certain vintage charm with their tiled floors and green industrial windows, but apparently still provoke new ideas continuously. The many companies, the restaurants and bars, the co-working spaces, and the communal kitchens with coffee machines make it the perfect habitat for creative working.

"A great many young people work here, the spirit is innovative, and a 'get-up-and-go attitude' predominates, because everyone is motivated and wants to take something forward. People ride along corridors on skateboards and they are always open to new contacts."

//Verena Pietsch, Data Scientist at Fill

The Fill team in Linz deals with data science, software development, edge and cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. They seek to simplify process sequences, increase the efficiency of machines, or discover new potential for process optimization. Data analysis and the insights gained from it give rise to a deep understanding of processes, which is also very valuable for the colleagues in Design Engineering. The software developers then collaborate on packing these insights into digital products that offer Fill's customers added value in their production.

The Fill employees are easily identifiable, since one thing distinguishes them from most of the other tobacco fabricants: they begin their working day between seven and eight in the morning, while the rest of the building remains quiet until around half past nine. At lunchtime, the team heads to one of the various restaurants on the tobacco factory site. Except Thursdays – the traditional "Bestell-Donnerstag" – when orders are placed jointly with one of the diverse providers of Linz takeaway cuisine. Pixel 46 quietens down after 5 p.m. – the call for a beer after work resounds softly through the factory.

"You have the 'start-up spirit' although you work for a traditional company. The security of a large company coupled with the innovative environment makes working here really awesome!"

//Verena Pietsch, Data Scientist at Fill


In order to foster interaction between the different companies, the tobacco factory often organizes sports tournaments, factory tours, various workshops (such as pitch training, etc.), and community lunches. New companies have the opportunity to introduce themselves here, and interesting discussions take place over the subsequent midday meal. The concept of "Strada del Startup" is very successful. Start-ups come into contact with established companies, allowing knowledge and expertise to be shared. This, in turn, allows something new to be created.

The young team from Fill feels very happy here, as working jointly at Pixel 46 and life in the tobacco factory weld together well. They describe themselves as innovative minds and free spirits, who have all found their passion in digitalization and technology. The almost daily video conferences with colleagues in Gurten allow the geographical distance to be pushed into the background, and they consider themselves to be a valuable part of the company Fill. Let's start up the engines!

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