There’s no doubt that when you’re considering some of the hottest startup ecosystems in America, Austin has to be near the top of your list. Not only is it the home of the annual SXSW festival, but the city itself is experiencing rapid growth on an unprecedented level; there are anywhere between 80 and 150 people moving to Austin daily.
Thus, it came as no surprise when the 1776 chose Austin over other big, Texas cities like Dallas or Houston for one of the 16 stops on their Challenge Cup Tour. And the startups that came to showcase their ideas were just as great as the city itself.
A big part of the success these startups know is directly attributed to the ecosystem that Austin provides for them. First and foremost, the opportunities for funding are solid.
“It goes without saying that accessing early stage capital is key to getting a startup off the ground,” says WaterLens’ Keith Cole. “In my experience, the culture in Austin is not only more friendly to early stage deals than other parts of Texas – closer to the west coast VC model – but Austin also has the infrastructure to support startups at every turn.”
And that, in turn, brings in a wide array of diverse startup companies to the ever-popular city.
“While the support is naturally more-focused on the IT space, it is still very strong in other industries, such as energy and clean tech,” says Cole.
Jeanette Hill from the health category winning startup Spot on Sciences likes Austin for the aforementioned reasons, but she sees even more to the city as well.
“Besides being a great city to live in, Austin has an amazing landscape of entrepreneurial resources,” says Hill. “There are more than a dozen incubators and accelerators here that are primed to get you from idea to launch and many start-up veterans that are open to sharing their successful battle stories and offering advice.”
Additionally, Austin fosters an incredibly supportive atmosphere that includes entrepreneur training, networking, pitch contests, advisors, and mentors. That support paired with resources gives Austin a pervasive sense of an entrepreneurial culture.
“Austin has been on a lot of ‘top 10’ lists lately – we’re growing quickly, quality of living is high and affordable, is known for ‘keeping it weird’ and has a start-up and business friendly environment. In short, a great – and fun – place to start a business!