Watch out, Silicon Ranch is coming through!
As we prepare to welcome last year’s Global Unleashed Winners to Silicon Valley we thought we’d check out one of the other US hotbeds of innovation – Austin Texas.
You may have visions of the ultimate BBQ and cowboy hats when you think of Austin, but this Texas city has a lot more to offer than a juicy brisket! Austin is Texas’ hipster child which happens to be the birthplace of some of your favorite tails of entrepreneurialism and innovation – Dell, Whole Foods and SXSW sound familiar?
Startups, entrepreneurship and technology is embedded in the fabric of this city and is only looking to become stronger in the years to come.
You may be wondering how Austin, a city situated in a state that is associated with tradition as opposed to the unconventional, managed to become a startup haven. Austin’s history has a played a pivotal role in this. When Michael Dell started his company out of his dorm room whilst studying at the University of Texas Austin, he not only changed the personal computing industry but also planted the seeds for a strong tech and startup community. Stories such as Dell have attracted technical talent who went on to start their own companies in the city.
Austin is also undoubtedly one cool city. It is home to the major tech, music and film event SXSW each year which attracts attendees from the world over.
During the festival companies showcase their latest tech toys, gigs happen all over town and films are screened with its actors and directors in attendance (Lena Dunham and John Mayer were both discovered at SXSW!). It is also an opportunity for startups to launch and showcase their business. Many startup success stories have happened at SXSW – think Twitter and Foursquare!
Complementing this cool factor is affordability in comparison to other major startup hubs in the US. Low taxes (corporate tax rate of zero), cost of living and rent makes Austin and ideal location for business owners. This combined with it’s cool factor makes it attractive for business owners and talent alike to move to the city.
BBQ, Live Music and Startups
You don’t have to search too hard to see how strong the startup ecosystem is in Austin. Accelerators and support groups such as Capital Factory and Built in Austin help build the necessary community and make it an inviting one. Capital Factory’s “Epic Office Hours” a speed dating event for entrepreneurs, mentors and investors is one such example of community building in the space. Recent success stories such as Bumble, Indeed and HomeAway are a testament to how startups are succeeding in Austin.
In fact, it has the nation’s highest level of startup activity (essentially the rate of new company creation) and has been considered as the number one city for startups in the US based on the rate of new entrepreneurs and number of startups per capita. The year on year growth of investment and future projections combined with more startup success stories only suggest that Austin is headed for bigger and better things!
Talent finds Austin’s current and future startup success exciting! It should come as no surprise when the Talent Unleashed Awards launches in this city to allow Texas to show the world that it can do much more than cook up a good BBQ!
- In 1978, John Mackey and Renee Lawson started a natural foods store called SaferWay using a $45,000 loan they scraped together from family and friends. This venture later became Whole Foods Market.
- Austin is the fastest growing city in the US – 110 people a day!
- SXSW attracts approximately 48,000 attendees per year. Not so bad for a festival started by four guys in a newsroom in the 70s.
- Austin is considered the live music capital of the world because of it’s 200 live music venues and 2,000 bands and performing artists.
- The Circuit of Americas in Austin is the only Formula One race track in the United States. It has hosted the United States Grand Prix since 2012.
- Austin is famous for its bats. Between March and October, an estimated 1.5 million bats emerge from under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge just before sunset. This is the largest bat colony in North America.
- Did you know that an average of 20 million people visit Austin, Texas every year? That’s more visitors than Rome (which attracts 4.2 million), Hawaii (8.3 million), or even London (17.4 million)!