Austin is one of America’s fastest growing cities regularly beating out San Antonio, Houston and Dallas in terms of growth. The tech scene is one of the reasons that Austin is growing so fast, Austin has become the go-to hotspot for new tech start ups. What makes Austin so appealing as a tech destination?
A Brief History
Austin came to the attention of the IT world back in the 80’s when IBM, Dell and AMD all chose to set up shop in Austin. Those three companies brought in an influx of money and talent to the Austin area that only grew in the 90s. Trilogy software arrived and produced software and web development products, helping other start-ups get their businesses off the ground. Within a 10 year period Indeed, Home Away and Gowalla showed the world how successful start-ups were coming out of the Texas capital.
Some Notable Start Ups in Austin
- Gowalla: Back in 2007 when social media was first getting established, 4 Austin residents built Gowalla. It was a social network based on location, it quickly became popular even winning some awards at the South by Southwest Conference. Nonetheless the network was snapped up by Facebook in 2012 for an “undisclosed sum” and was quickly shut down.
- HomeAway: HomeAway is a fixture on the Austin tech scene, this hugely successful vacation rental site boasts almost half a billion dollars in revenue in 2014. HomeAway launched back in 2006 and after some mergers and shuffling around it later became headquartered here in Austin and it went public in 2011 with a valuation of nearly $3 billion dollars.
- Indeed: Indeed is the go to site for job hunters all over the world, founded in Austin back in 2004 it has been growing ever since. In 2010 it overtook Monster to become the most popular site for job hunters. In 2012 Indeed was sold to Recruit Co for $1 billion.
Why Move to Austin?
Money is the lifeblood of any new business and there is plenty of it in Austin. Austin has a large share of venture capitalists and angel investors here looking to add to their portfolios. For a start-up attracting the right venture capitalist could mean the difference between success and failure.
South by Southwest
For an entire week all eyes are on Austin, SXSW is the most important tech festival in the world. This is where Twitter, Foursquare and others launched and became cornerstones on the web. This event started out as music festival now focuses on start ups. Here is Twitter at SXSW:
Cost of Living
When you put Austin up against other tech hotspots like San Francisco, Austin wins hands down. Texas is one of the few states with no income tax and the city and suburbs or consistently listed as some of the cheapest places to live in the US. Combine that with its vibrant arts and culture, and great weather, attracting young professionals isn’t that hard.