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techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

Why Austin is tech’s new destination of choiceJoin Transform 2021 this July 12-16. Register for the AI event of the year.* * *This is a guest post by Julie Huls, President and CEO of the Austin TechnologyCouncil.Silicon Valley is still the gold standard for tech entrepreneurship. However,Austin is now emerging as a new destination of choice for tech startups aswell as larger enterprise companies — for a variety of economic and culturalreasons.Companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Oracle are headquartered in SiliconValley and there’s no question it’s is a hotbed of skilled labor; both workersand entrepreneurs from around the world migrate to the Valley to pursue theirdreams and careers. It’s not unusual for startups to land funding rounds inthe neighborhood of $50 million.Austin is doing the same thing, just in a more organic, sustainable manner.Austin now hosts a healthy mix of larger companies and savvy entrepreneurscoming in droves from California, New York and other tech hotbeds. Privateinvestors are often surprised at the number of seasoned executives operatinghere, but the truth is that Austin has grown into one of the nation’s go-tospots for startups and large players alike, and a market for high-growthcompanies to thrive.### A year-round ecosystem for successOne estimate has it that one-third of the companies that are moving to Texasoriginated in California, where the high cost of doing business often sendscompanies looking for alternate options. In addition to homegrown companieslike Dell, established tech companies that employ more than 2,000 people inAustin include Apple, Microsoft, AT&T, Flextronics and Samsung.We’re also home to an ecosystem of hot startups spanning across numerousindustry sectors: OutboundEngine (DIY marketing), Taskbox (social taskmanagement), Macheen and Mutual Mobile (mobile), Zilliant (pricingoptimization), WP Engine (site hosting) Bazaarvoice (social commerce) andGameSalad (gaming) and numerous other exciting and rapidly growing startups.Austin’s economy is diversified outside of hardware and software, too. We’re abiotech hub with more than 160 companies and 8,200 employees. Whole Foods,Keller Williams, Sweet Leaf Tea and many other major brands are alsoheadquartered in Austin.### Incentives for growthOne of the most unique draws for companies is the incentives structurepropagated by the state of Texas. The state offers companies about $19 billionper year in incentives, the highest amount of any state in the union. TheEmerging Technology Fund in particular reflects Texas’s commitment to growthwithin the tech sector. This fund awards grants that help product development,public-private partnerships and the recruitment of research talent. So far,more than $410 million in awards have been given, with an estimated 54,000jobs created.Austin has arranged an ecosystem that welcomes early-stage companies inparticular. Our incubators, notably the Austin Technology Incubator, andCapital Factory, nourish young companies. Our universities, which include theUniversity of Texas and Texas A&M, feed our talent pool, as do colleges fromthe southeast and Midwest. A recent Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) reportrankedAustin as the fifth major U.S. technology market out of 20 surveyed. Austin’snearly 2,600 tech companies provide 50,000 jobs; the sector grew by 8.1percent in 2012. When you consider that each innovation job creates anadditional five jobs in the local economy, it’s no wonder that Austincontinues to see net growth, even during the national recession.### Low Taxes, low cost of livingGreater Austin is one of the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan areaaccording to the most recent available statistics; 65 percent of thepopulation migrated here.In addition to a favorable funding, regulatory and legal environment forbusinesses, Austin boasts housing costs, utility expenses and tax burdens thatare lower than most of the rest of the country. Texans don’t have to paycorporate or personal income tax. It is 47th of the 50 states in terms oftaxes paid per $1,000 of personal income, according to the local chamber ofcommerce.Compare that to Silicon Valley, where housing prices are more than three timeshigher than in Austin, and hefty taxes and regulations challenge the abilityfor companies to compete on securing the best talent.### Bigger Doesn’t Mean BetterLike Austin, Silicon Valley started organically. Back in the 1980s, it used tobe the Valley against Boston. The Valley won because of its casual culture,freedom to experiment, and collaborative environment . People flocked from theMidwest and elsewhere to pursue their entrepreneurship and innovation dreams.That’s akin to where Austin is today. The JLL report termed Austin a risingmarket, whereas Silicon Valley and San Francisco are closer to being peakingmarkets. Investors love our open landscape, literally and figuratively:information sharing and collaboration are standard practice here in Austin.Our seed rounds may be smaller, but we focus on organic growth to scale ourcompanies, cultivating a sustainable environment in the process.Everything Silicon Valley is doing, we’re doing, too — just on a smallerscale. And that comes with its own unique benefits.Julie Huls has served as the President and CEO of the Austin TechnologyCouncil since 2009 where she collaborates regularly with state and nationalleaders on economic and workforce policy development.### VentureBeatVentureBeat’s mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Oursite delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies toguide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member ofour community, to access: * up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you * our newsletters * gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More * networking features, and moreBecome a member

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