Super Bowls and Scenes

helmetsmobileTech Tuesday by Steve Guengerich

The University of Texas and the other great public and private universities in Texas – from my alma mater Texas A&M in College Station, to Rice University in Houston, and many more – serve to educate each new generation’s youth with the skills and knowledge to make their mark in the world.

Recently, university research in addition to teaching has made the headlines. One of the upshots is a renewed interest in the commercialization potential of research produced by our universities. While many research projects lack immediate commercial application, the public has a unique annual opportunity to see a few instances where research, commercialization, and teaching perfectly mesh.

Next week is the annual Texas Venture Labs competition at the UT Austin campus. Formerly known as the Moot Corp competition, this program is the “super bowl” of MBA business plan pitches. And, if the trend in recent years holds true, a number of the plans will be designed around commercializing technology or other discoveries originating with university research.

The public is invited to attend a large majority of the program at no charge. I especially urge you to attend the Venture Showcase on Thursday evening, where all of the teams are present, standing beside small demonstration tables, speaking about their products or services.

It’s a great chance to learn their process, ask questions, and frankly be inspired by their enthusiasm. I, for one, am hoping to see some novel apps and other mobile products and technologies this year.

The local newspaper has been highlighting Governor Perry’s desire to see the Austin area become another “Silicon Valley.” By continuing to serve as host and grow the stature of the Venture Labs competition, Austin’s business community and the University of Texas help to make this happen.

dfw sceneAnother way we make can make this happen is to continually remind ourselves that another key to success is to think in terms of nurturing a regional eco-system.

Just as Silicon Valley actually represents a corridor of companies, institutions, and cities from San Jose north to San Francisco (and, if you want to be more broad-minded, on north through Oakland up to Livermore), we need to think of Austin as a hub of a regional tech eco-system.

Specific to mobile, then, we took another step this week in mapping the broader mobile scene in two other Texas cities: Dallas and Houston.

As before, when we introduced the map for the Austin mobile scene, we want to stress that the Dallas and Houston maps are starting points. And, in the spirit of collaboration, we hope that others will join to contribute the names of more companies, events, investors, media, associations, and key people to the maps over time, as they’ve done with the Austin mobile scene.

I look forward to forward to hearing from you and working together to build the Texas mobile scene.