It’s official, we have now been in Austin for over two months and already we are seeing the Austin startup scene change. I can see a lot of similarities between what we’re seeing now in Austin and what we saw in LA as the startup scene was developing there. That being said, and this is not to say anything negative about LA but I do like it here in Austin more, which is also why we’ve decided to move Fashion Metric from LA to Austin.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that SXSW has had a major impact on the Austin startup community but I think that is more of a self-contained impact that happens while the conference is in town. That being said, I think it also might be what inspires some startups to make the move to Austin.
There are a few clear catalysts that are moving the Austin startup scene forward and as they evolve, the Austin startup scene is evolving with it. Of course I’ve only been here for two months so what do I know? Still, I’m in the middle of it being part of Techstars Austin and for those who know me you know I have no problem sharing my thoughts and opinions.
I thought now would be a good time to share some of the key drivers I see moving the Austin startup scene forward and driving the evolution that we’re seeing, literally in realtime since we are an active part of it.
Capital Factory – this is where it all started and Capital Factory without a doubt is at the center of the Austin startup scene. I haven’t made it over there nearly enough this summer since we’ve been so busy but I plan to go more once things slow down a bit. There are startup events there daily and I’m pretty sure they host the highest concentration of startups in the city at the moment.
Techstars Austin – Techstars is one of the latest entrants into Austin and it has made a big splash attracting some absolutely amazing startups, some of which are staying in Austin. We are staying and I know three other teams who are doing the same, none of us are from Austin and I’m not sure any of us thought we’d be staying here, but we love it here and we’re staying.
Techstars also brings with it an incredibly powerful network of mentors and alumni. This year Techstar’s annual founders conference aptly called FounderCon is taking place in Austin so Techstars founders from around the US will converge in Austin in September – needless to say, I’m excited.
Angel Investors - there are a lot more angel investors in Austin than I would have thought, however now that I’m here I understand it 100%. I see this as a domino effect in the making and as more startups in Austin see solid exits more angels will be created.
VC Firms – while Austin VC’s haven’t been super well-known for early stage investments that seems to be changing as startups flood the city. Sure, the Bay Area is still without a doubt the leader in early-stage investments and I know that Austin loses some early-stage startups to the valley for this reason, but as the investment climate changes I think more and more early stage startups will call Austin home.
Low cost of living – while I still hear people complain about Austin getting more expensive, compared to SF, LA or NYC everything is on sale from apartments, to gas, to beer. One bedroom apartments in San Francisco and NYC are $2,500+/month and beer costs $8/glass, those costs are literally cut in half in Austin.
The only downside to Austin is that it is insanely, mind-numbingly hot in August. Still, I’m told it will cool down soon which is good because I do miss afternoon jogs. All-and-all Austin is poised to be the next mover-and-shaker in the startup world if it’s not already.
Since we now call Austin home you can expect a lot more coverage of the Austin startup scene here on MorganLinton.com. I’ve been blogging since 2007 and all of you have followed me from Boston, to Los Angeles, so let me be the first to say, “Welcome to Austin!”