United States

Austin #20

As the Austin startup ecosystem has matured, our work at Tech Ranch has evolved to connect this ecosystem's future to the world, especially around the areas that have developed in Austin around impact innovation.

Kevin Koym
CEO and Founder of Tech Ranch Austin

Highlights

Thanks to coronavirus disruption and the rise of remote work, many founders and tech workers have been reconsidering where they want to live this past year. Austin has been a popular choice among those relocating from other ecosystems. Austin is home to dozens of IT companies, including behemoths like Cell, IBM, and Google, 15 startup incubators, and at least 85 pharmaceutical and biotech corporations. Tesla set up a gigafactory in Austin and plans to employ more than 5,000 employees, making it Austin’s largest tech employer. (Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, was among those who recently relocated from Silicon Valley to Texas.) The city boasts a moderate cost of living, a high quality of life, and a lively cultural scene. It also hosts two world-class startup events. SXSW South by Southwest is an annual showcase of the best in music, independent film, and interactive technologies that draws hundreds of thousands of attendees each year, including internationally prominent entrepreneurs and celebrities. Austin Startup Week is a five-day exhibition where entrepreneurs, investors and other startup insiders gather to connect and collaborate. VCs poured $2.26 billion into Austin startups in 2020. Impressive local success stories include Workrise, a maker of workforce management solutions, that has raised more than $750 million to date and currently has a valuation of $2.9 billion. Telemedicine startup Wheel closed $50 million in funding in May 2021.

Ecosystem by the numbers

TOTAL EARLY STAGE FUNDING
$1.9 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$431 m
ECOSYSTEM VALUE
$19.8 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$10.5 bn
MEDIAN SEED ROUND
$640 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$494 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND
$5.4 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$2.7 m
SOFT. ENGINEER SALARY
$86 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$42.1 k

Sub-sector Strengths

Cybersecurity

With cybersecurity concerns frequently in the headlines, Austin’s many Cybersecurity bootcamps, including The Cybersecurity Boot Camp at UT Austin, Evolve Security, FutureLearn and Heimdal Security, are training talent for jobs in the field. Area Cybersecurity startups are also attracting the attention of investors. Cloud video surveillance firm Eagle Eye Networks raised $40 million in October 2020. Living Security landed a $14 million Series B in March 2021. Anti-fraud platform SpyCloud raised $30 million in August 2020.

Cleantech

An established center for Cleantech, Austin has over 200 Cleantech companies that employ ~20,000 people. University of Texas at Austin is one of the world’s preeminent energy research institutions, while The University of Texas Clean Energy Incubator provides local Cleantech startups with resources to grow. Pecan Street Research Institut acts as a testbed for new smart grid technologies. Local success stories include Modernize, Hylliion, Ambiq Micro, and Bractlet.

Reasons to move your startup to Austin

Growing Job Market

Talent from across the U.S. is attracted to Austin by its red hot job market. Thanks to the region’s mix of established businesses, SMEs, and tech startups, workers make 10 percent more than the national average, luring some of the nation’s best talent and ensuring growing companies a steady stream of skilled workers.

Low Cost of Living

Austin is not the lowest cost of living city in America, but prices in the city compare favorably to many much higher priced startup hubs. Combined with the area’s relatively high median incomes of $74,860 and relatively low rents (the average monthly cost of a one bedroom is $1,068) this makes Austin feel like a steal to many transplants from expensive coastal cities.

Quality of Life

In addition to its economic attractions, Austin is also famed for its bustling cultural scene and high quality of life. Billed as the Live Music Capital of the World, the city is bursting with bars, restaurants, and concerts. Austin also hosts several world-class festivals, most notably South by Southwest and Austin City Limits.

Startup Community

Startup Genome
Partners

3 Day Startup
Austin Technology Incubator
BuiltIN
Capital Factory
Central Texas Angel Network
St. Edward’s University
Tech Ranch
Techstars Austin
University of Texas Austin
WeWork

Get connected

Are you interested in diving deeper into this ecosystem? Drop us a message. Our Ambassadors and Partners can plug you in.