9 Austin Accelerators That Your Startup Should Know
Austin, TX was once renowned solely for its excellent bbq, live music, SXSW and its “weirdness.” Over the past 10 years or so, Austin has also become known for its thriving...
Austin, TX was once renowned solely for its excellent bbq, live music, SXSW and its “weirdness.” Over the past 10 years or so, Austin has also become known for its thriving startup tech scene and active VC ecosystem. With so many young, bright minds eager to leave their imprint on the world, the startup scene in the Live Music Capital of the World is booming.
If you’re a startup founder in Texas or anywhere else around the globe, Austin is a hotbed for some of the country’s best accelerator programs, all of which can help your startup go from a cool idea to a funded company with incredible growth potential.
Whether you’re a homegrown startup or are planning to move your tech startup to Austin, these are the nine Austin accelerator programs that your startup should get to know:
Co-founded by Preston L. James II in 2016, DivInc is a Texas-based accelerator with reach in Austin and Houston. DivInc has created partnerships with both public and private institutions to accelerate economic growth through its hallmark 12-week tech accelerator for early stage startups. Since the accelerator is heavily focused on diversity, one of the requirements for the program is that the participating founder must be a person of color or a woman entrepreneur.
Since its founding in 2006, Techstars has invested in more than 2,200 companies and today has a market cap of $27 billion. Techstars is one of the most well-known startup accelerators in the country. It has programs all across the nation, including Austin. Techstars offers a three-month accelerator program for startups to gain funding, mentorship and access to its network for life.
Read our Q&A with Techstars Managing Director, Amos Schwartzfarb here.
The University of Texas at Austin’s deep tech accelerator is called the Austin Technology Incubator. It is also the United States’ longest-running technological incubator, having opened in 1989. ATI’s aim for over 30 years has been to enable academic and community entrepreneurs through a personalized approach to developing their breakthrough technologies.
Capital Factory bills itself as Texas’s “center of gravity” for business owners. They meet the top Texas entrepreneurs and introduce them to their first investors, workers, mentors, and consumers with boots on the ground in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Capital Factory has been the most active investor in Texas since 2010, according to Pitchbook. Co-founded by Sam Decker, Joshua Baer, and Bryan Menell in 2009, the venture capital firm and accelerator seeks to invest in seed-stage, early-stage, and later-stage companies.
Dr. Oksana Malysheva and Joe Merrill launched Sputnik ATX, an Austin-based accelerator that funds maker-founders who want to transform the world. They bring together capital, training, and experience to help founders achieve their greatest potential. Sputnik is a Russian word that means “partner.” They want to be your partner for your startup’s take-off.
Read our Q&A with Sputnik ATX Associate Amanda Eakin here.
Located in the heart of downtown Austin, SKU is a startup accelerator for early-stage consumer product companies. SKU, pronounced “skyoo” and stands for Stock Keeping Unit, was founded by Shari Wynne Ressler and Clayton Christopher, who founded Sweet Leaf Tea and Deep Eddy Vodka. Forbes named SKU one of the top accelerator programs in the United States in 2016.
TechRanch Austin has empowered over 6,500 entrepreneurs in 42+ countries with over 750 solutions deployed through its entrepreneur development programs. TechRanch has also been named a Top Three Social Impact Incubator by UBI Global and a Top 20 US/Canada Accelerator by Gust’s Global Report. The accelerator was founded by Kevin Koym and Jonas Lamis in 2008.
The Founder Institute is the largest global pre-seed startup accelerator, with over 5,000 firms launched spanning 200 cities and six continents, including an Austin program. Entrepreneur Adeo Ressi and his partner Jonathan Greechan founded the company in 2009. Alumni of the Founder Institute have raised over $1 billion and are estimated to be worth $30 billion.
SXSW’s Accelerator Pitch event has been showcasing innovators and technology sector pioneers, from indie tech enterprises to pioneering startups, since its debut. Between 2009 and 2020, 82 percent of participating startups obtained investment, totaling $9.4 billion for SXSW Pitch alumni and a total of 17% of these businesses have been bought.
About Kennedy Nunez: Kennedy is a Business Development Associate for Swyft, which is a tech PR firm in Austin and Houston and a top digital marketing and PR agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft recently opened a satellite office where it offers tech PR in San Francisco. Swyft was also listed as one of the top tech PR agencies in Texas by the B2B services review site, Clutch.co.