An Update on Austin Tech Accelerators

mobileTech Tuesday, by Steve Guengerich

A couple of items that recently crossed my desk inspired today’s post. The first item was a wonderful list of incubator/accelerator programs, sorted by their respective deadline dates for participation, from the team at Launch.

My own firm, Appconomy, had the opportunity to work with the Launch team and conference in February as we readied our first commercial app, Grouped{in}.  It was a good process and while we got both negative and positive reviews, as one should expect, the overall experience definitely made us stronger.

The second item was the well-deserved write-up on TechRanch in Monday’s print edition of the Austin American-Statesman by Lori Hawkins.  Many of you know Kevin, Jonas, and Graham, as well as the mentors, sponsors, and other key participants in the Tech Ranch solar system – fine people all.

So, with those two items to spur me on, I began to make a list of the similar organized resources. Mind you, these aren’t just for mobile firms. But, many of them have tended to attract a healthy number of mobile deals in recent years. So, without further adieu:

Tech-focused incubators/accelerators

Austin Technology Incubator: http://ati.utexas.edu/ – the “grand old man” of the Austin tech scene, ATI’s affiliation with UT-Austin and IC2 give it staying power. Member companies get mentorship, low cost office space, and assistance

Capital Factory: http://www.capitalfactory.com/ – founded by Josh Baer and partners, Cap Factory has been going strong with its 10 week accelerator program for several years, with participating companies pitching at the capstone Demo Day. Hurricane Party, among notable app-making alumni, was the sleeper hit of SXSWi 2011.

Tech Ranch: http://techranchaustin.com/ – read the Statesman article above…they are great.

Venture Labs: http://www.mootcorp.org/ – Venture Labs and the Venture Labs Investment Competition are the producer and event program, respectively, of what many refer to as the “superbowl” of MBA investment competitions. In recent years, Venture Labs has expanded beyond mentoring just competition winners to providing services to other promising entrepreneurial ventures as well

Event-related programs

SXSW Accelerators: Interactive (http://sxsw.com/interactive/accelerator) and Music (http://sxsw.com/music/accelerator) – if you’ve paid any attention to Southby in recent years – especially Interactive – I don’t need to tell you that this isn’t an Austin event, it’s an international event that is held in Austin. Thus, it’s not surprising that there was a lone Austin company (Portalarium) qualifying as an Accelerator finalist among a sea of California firms

InnoTech Beta Summit: http://www.innotechconferences.com/austin/ – the Beta Summit is a classic pitch program that has become a favorite of this mainstay regional IT conference. There’s no money at risk, per se’, but the bragging rights and opportunity to be mentored and ‘discovered’ by a sophisticated audience of buyers, purchase influencers, and occasional investors are definitely worth the application

There are a couple of other events that have had a unique accelerator twist to them in the past – Startup Weekend (http://Austin.startupweekend.org) and ArtSpark Festival (http://www.hbmgfoundation.org/) – but they both seem to be on hiatus currently and somewhat episodic, depending on sponsor and participant interest.

Entrepreneurial/Niche programs

If what you are looking for is of a more general entrepreneurial nature , then there are a range of groups to help, including:

These are the tip of the iceberg, with more on this handy Austin entrepreneurship scene mindmap.  There are also specialty incubator/accelerator groups to lend a hand. Two noteworthy ones are:

Technology Business Accelerator: http://www.ic2.utexas.edu/global/innovative-products-solutions/technology-business-accelerator-te-2.html – a crazy-long URL with a very practical intent… to provide business acceleration services to Mexican companies desiring to launch entrepreneurial efforts in the US, especially leveraging the Austin tech scene

Creative Media Center, managed by the Austin Music Foundation (AMF): http://www.facebook.com/austinmusicfoundation#!/cmcamf?sk=info – the follow-through by the City of Austin, the AMF, and a host of other key stakeholders on a long-time commitment to eventually provide a space where creative types could go to get mentoring, studio time, and business assistance.

Co-working

Speaking of “providing a space,” I’d be remiss if I didn’t put in at least a quick plug for a handful of the co-working, co-space locations that are available around town, including:

While the menu of business assistance services and formal mentorship range from place to place, many of them have fans who swear by the collegial, informal network of smart, experienced people with whom they are able to discuss ideas and problem solve.

That’s a wrap, for now. I know I’ve left a bunch of options off of the list, from venture associates programs at AV or CTAN, to company-sponsored internal incubators, and more.

If you have an Austin area program that is noteworthy or that you especially favor, please tell us about it in the comments – in particular if it specializes in app development or other mobile tech.

Comments

  1. Hi Steve, thank you! This is very helpful – a great roundup on Austin’s tech accelerators and coworking spaces including GoLab Austin. In my opinion, the rise of these space is one of the most exciting profound trends hitting Austin right now and I’m expecting great things to emerge as a result.

    Aside, there is an interesting phenomenon that is occuring here. This past month 15 or so of the incubators and coworking spaces convened and discussed how we could build more connective tissue between our organizations. The pace of meshing Austin is picking up quickly.

    Rather that trying to come up with some grand plan, we spotlighted some projects that we could begin working on together. For instance, we discussed the idea of launching a Visa program that would allow members of one space to colocate at different space whenever it makes sense. Also, we’re all gearing up for a local blood drive competition as well as Austin’s startup week this Sept 6-10 (http://austinstartupweek.com). I hope you have time to come on out and join the fun.

    Steve Golab
    Founder, GoLab Austin

  2. Hi Steve,

    Thank you for this excellent snapshot of several of our city’s entrepreneurial hot spots. We’d like to include Perch Coworking on the list, one of Austin’s newest spaces on E. 6th. We house a variety of businesses, including a team of mobile app developers. Please email us if you need more information and follow us @perchcoworking or on Facebook at Facebook.com/perchcoworking.

    Thanks again!

  3. Hi Steve,
    Great article and my thanks also for mentioning the Beta Summit at InnoTech that Bryan Menell has been hosting for several years. If you wish to submit an application for the Beta Summit please ping me at seanl@prosperaevents.com. On October 20 InnoTech will also host an entire educational track on mobile applications and development which should be very timely for this tech hot bed.
    Best Regards,
    Sean Lowery

  4. Steve,

    Excellent article providing a detailed snap shot of the austin technology community. I look forward to seeing you around!

    Cheers,

    sf

  5. Thanks for this. I didn’t know Steve had a coworking space! I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting programs.

  6. Steve,
    Thanks. After several years of investment the Tech Ranch Austin is really taking off… and its been the Austin community that has made this possible. Thank you for the long term support. I am happy to see the Ranch becoming the place that supports entrepreneurs that change the world. :-)
    Hope to see you soon around the Ranch. We’re moving into our new digs by September 1- so look for an invite to come celebrate with us shortly thereafter.

    Thanks!
    Kevin

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments (hi Sloan!).

    Other than a brief mention at the end of the post, you’ll notice I deliberately left out the variety of outreach programs that the venture investors offer, because they are of a different nature.

    However, I wanted to highlight AV’s entrepreneur hours coming up soon. Check into it further here: http://blog.austinventures.com/austin-ventures-entrepreneur-hours-aveh-is-back-submission-form-dates/?sf1968533=1