We have now been living in Austin for about a month and a half and thanks to Techstars and the incredible network Jason and the team has built we’ve had a chance to meet upwards of 80 people involved in the Austin startup scene from VC’s to Angel Investors, founders that just had a big exit, to founders who have had three or more.
So lately I’ve had a lot of conversations with my friends who are running startups in LA, SF, and NYC about what makes Austin so special and why I’ve fallen in love with the city and the startup scene here so quickly. While there are more than a few things that make Austin special, here’s what has really stood out to me about the startup scene:
- It’s okay to just be yourself – I think what I like most about the Austin startup scene is that everyone is incredibly genuine. This is a common feeling throughout Austin and it has definitely permeated the startup scene. Nobody is trying to pretend to be something they aren’t, we’re all just glad to be here and it truly feels like everyone is okay being themselves. I’ve never felt more comfortable just expressing my opinions, acting like I would typically only around family and close friends, and doing that with everyone that I meet and feeling completely comfortable with it. In LA I’ve always felt there is this pressure to have the perfect car, perfect house, memberships to private clubs, etc. That’s all gone now, the real me is here.
- You will meet startup founders everywhere you go – in LA everyone you bump-into tends to work in the movie or music industry, in NYC finance dominates, in Austin (like SF) it’s startups. There’s a buzz going on and everyone is interested in what everyone else is doing and how we can all help each other out, which leads to #3.
- Community – there’s a real community here and it is incredibly inclusive. Thanks to people like Joshua Baer, Jason Seats, Bijoygo Swami and many more there is a real sense of community. The cool thing is that rather than feeling competitive it really feels communal, everyone wants everyone else to succeed. I think this has to do with the pride people have in Austin and building their companies here, we certainly do! One of the highlights is that other companies in the community like HomeAway, RetailMeNot, uShip and many more play an active role in the startup scene in a way ushering in the new wave of startups coming into the city.
- VCs and Angel Investors – as more and more startups have decided to call Austin home, so have more and more investors. From Austin Ventures to S3 there are some amazing VC firms and incredibly inspiring Angel Investors that are incredibly active in the Austin startup scene. This is only growing as more investors come out to Austin and decide to call it home after seeing what’s going on here.
- Did I mention it’s the fastest growing city in the US – 140 people move to Austin every day. There are massive skyscrapers going up just about everywhere and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. Couple this with the fact that Austin has one of the highest quality of life scores in the world and you know why.
I’ll try to give updates every couple of months as we continue to become more deeply involved in the startup scene here. What I can tell you now is that what I thought would just be a three month adventure has turned into a life-changing experience and a new home for us and Fashion Metric.