We have been in Austin for almost a year now. Initially we expected to be in Austin for three months, now we call it home (read more on Medium). While I can honestly say that Austin as a city has truly impressed me in more ways than I could have imagined, it is the startup ecosystem that made us pack-up our lives in LA and move ourselves, and our company, Fashion Metric out here.
Last week Forbes broke some very big news, Austin is now the #1 city in the country when it comes to creating tech jobs. Couple this with the fact that over 140 people a day are moving to Austin and it would be hard to miss the fact that there is something pretty special happening in Austin right now. We are proud to be a part of the community and also very proud to be one of the companies creating those jobs as well.
However, while communities are made up of many different people, each contributing in their own way, there are organizations that work incredibly hard to bring the community together. While there are easily 50+ organizations shaping Austin’s startup ecosystem there are five that I personally have seen make a huge impact since we’ve been in town.
Capital Factory – led by one of Austin’s most well-known entrepreneurs Joshua Baer, Capital Factory is both a co-working space, incubator, and the hub for many of Austin’s startup events and MeetUp groups. I think it’s safe to say that Capital Factory has really led the charge in developing the ecosystem here in Austin and they have done a great job growing and adapting over time. One of the things that has really impressed me about Capital Factory is the dedication of the people behind it and the commitment to grow the community. You can honestly go to a free event at Capital Factory several times a day and they recently expanded their operations onto the fifth floor of the Omni offering even more options for startups looking for office space in downtown Austin.
Techstars – while Austin is one of the newest Techstars programs it has already made a major impact on the startup community. One of the places where Techstars really shines is bringing in people from all over the world into Austin. While Capital Factory’s incubator focuses on startups that are in Austin (about 80% of CF’s incubated startups come from Austin), Techstars focuses on startups outside of Austin and brings them into the city for the program (about 80% of TS’s incubated startups come from outside of Austin). After going through Techstars we moved from Los Angeles, our friends from Pivot Freight moved from Phoenix, and our friends from LawnStarter moved from Virginia. None of us had Austin on the radar until Techstars showed us what Austin had to offer.
Built In Austin – if you want to know what is going on in the startup community in Austin, Built In Austin is one of the best places to go. I see Built In Austin as the online hub of the Austin startup world. Along with highlighting all the amazing things that are going on within the startup space, Built In Austin also has a great job board to help startups in Austin highlight their open positions and connect with talented people in the community. Going to the Built In Austin site has become a part of my daily routine and they have done a great job of keeping fresh relevant content and a detailed calendar of events, all of this with no membership fees and no fees for job listings.
General Assembly Austin – we know General Assembly from Los Angeles where they are one of the central resources in the startup community. In January of this year General Assembly came to Austin and they’re already making an impact with an awesome calendar of events for startups and people in the community wanting to hone their skills in a variety of different areas. When I think of high-quality educational events for startups I think General Assembly and I am really excited that they have added Austin as their latest city to expand to.
WeWork – popular co-working space WeWork recently came to Austin and it is quickly becoming another startup hub in downtown Austin. Currently located on Congress Ave (the Main St. of Austin) two blocks from Techstars and two blocks from Capital Factory it offers even more reasons for startup founders to call downtown Austin home. Like Capital Factory, WeWork has flexible pricing plans and offers solutions for single founders all the way up to 10+ person teams. WeWork also is starting to host more and more MeetUp groups and startup events and is the current home for General Assembly Austin.