Famous for its live music, BBQ and alternative culture, Austin, Texas has a reputation as the hippest and most eccentric city.
Host to the world famous South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, the state capital is nowadays also a blooming startup destination, with 4,700 tech companies operating in the area.
A more affordable quality of life compared to California and New York, no state taxes, strong local support, numerous startup communities and plentiful local talent from nearby schools have all served to attract startups to Austin.
With 162 tech deals completed so far this year and 115 startups funded and 31 acquired in 2014, Austin is also receiving increasing investments and attention.
TechSpace is coming to Austin in 2016 so we wanted to learn more about the startup scene. From established local players to innovative new entrants, here are 15 funded Austin startups to keep an eye on.
Atlas Wearables make an advanced fitness tracker that is capable of automatically tracking any exercise.
With its built in display and heart monitor, the tracker recognizes activities, measures performance and even advises users on how to change their form to improve their workouts.
The company is also developing a ‘Motion Genome Project’ library to identify all known human activities based on information from trackers.
This library could have a wide variety of applications, for example recording a police officer’s actions or providing a full overview of a user’s daily activities.
Funding: $2.45 million from 4 rounds.
Cratejoy is a software-as-a-service commerce platform that makes it easy for entrepreneurs and small businesses to create their own subscription box service. Cratejoy is aiming to be the Shopify for subscriptions.
The platform offers all the tools needed to set up and manage subscription boxes, from managing and packing information to shipping and billing cycles, product inventory and communications.
With over 8000 thousand paying merchants so far, there’s clearly considerable demand for this service.
Funding: $4 million from 1 round.
Austin Startup Granddaddy Appsumo offers daily deals on software and tools for entrepreneurs and startups.
The site features heavily discounted apps, often arranged into collections, services, ebooks and learning based products. With its digital only distribution model, the site is typically able to offer 50 to 75% off retail prices.
Appsumo has also recently launched a new flagship product called SumoMe, a one-stop shop for tools to improve websites. After including a single line of java code, a range of email, social sharing and analytic apps can be installed.
Operating on a freemium model with paid plans, the platform currently reaches over 200 million unique visitors per day.
Funding: Limited seed investment with over $1 million in revenue reached in the first year.
Localeur is a local recommendation platform for places to eat, drink and play.
Designed to help visitors find authentic local spots, it features curated recommendations from a community of people who live in that city rather than visitors.
By focusing on favorite recommendations from locals the platform aims to offer better and more efficient recommendations than Yelp or Foursquare.
Localeur features curated lists of local recommendations, such as the best local bars or seafood spots, and the ability to follow your favorite people who give great recommendations.
Funding: $1.2 million from 1 round.
This app-based personalized delivery service allows you to order anything you want from any store within the delivery area.
Orders are delivered by Favor ‘runners’, who keep in touch via text message in case of any problems. Payment for deliveries is cashless and done in-app.
The service currently focuses on delivery from grocery stores and restaurants, although almost anything a user wants can in theory be delivered from early in the morning until late at night.
Favor currently operates in 14 cities.
Funding: $16.86 million from 4 rounds.
Silvercar is a modern airport car rental services that aims to disrupt the industry. Through its mobile app, customers can book, access, unlock and pay for rental cars, which are always brand new silver Audi A4s.
With everything done in the app for a fixed price, users can bypass lines while avoiding paperwork hassles and expensive extras.
Once customers are ready, an in-app button summons a car and driver to take them to their rental. Currently operating in 8 US locations, the startup plans to expand to up to 6 more airports this year.
Funding: $37.28 million from 4 rounds.
SpareFoot is a marketplace for finding and reserving self-storage units online. Another stalwart of the Austin startup scene, it was originally founded in 2008 with a focus on peer-to-peer storage.
With over 160 employees, the company now lists more than 7,000 storage facilities and has the largest inventory of storage units in the US.
The platform features exclusive discounts, over 30,000 reviews and up to date information on pricing, availability and facility amenities.
Funding: $49.35 million from 5 rounds.
Green & Grow
Agtech startup Green and Grow develops naturally derived agricultural products, based on Agriplier™ Technology, that helps soil health and plant growth for farmers, gardeners and other end users.
Their non-living, non-toxic technology is derived from microbes and can be used in seed and soil conditioners.
The line can also be used alongside popular agricultural products, is easy to apply and store and has a long shelf-life.
Funding: $6 million from 1 round.
Everfest is a worldwide festival discovery and community platform. The site allows users to discover festivals, book travel packages, find other festival goers and share experiences.
Festival organizers can also use the platform to manage their online presence, connect with the festival community and offer discounts or perks.
A hybrid of TripAdvisor and IMDB for festivals, according to founder Paul Cross, the site features all types of festivals, grouped into 12 categories.
A special algorithm recommends festivals to users based on preferences, locations and previous events attended. The startup also offers a mobile app that makes it unnecessary for festivals to create their own.
Funding: $1.5 million from 1 round.
WayBlazer is a travel search and discovery company that aims to use cognitive computing to redefine how consumers plan, personalize and purchase travel.
The startup works with travel companies to offer personalized advice and suggestions for travelers at all stages of their journey.
Using IBM Watson cognitive computing technology, the company is able to process and link a huge amount of data to create tailored recommendations.
The company is led by Travelocity founder and ex-Kayak chairman Terry Jones and recently received a series A investment from IBM.
Funding: $5 million from 1 round.
Food startup EPIC manufactures meat based protein snack bars. The jerky-like meat bars, made with grass fed animals, are available in a range of flavors from Bison Bacon Cranberry to Chicken Sesame BBQ.
The company was founded in 2013 by husband and wife team Katie Forrest and Taylor Collins, who saw an opportunity to meet growing demand from within the Paleo diet movement.
Revenue this year is projected to nearly triple to $20 million, from $6.8 million in 2014. The company has expanded its product offerings to include meat based trail mixes and jerky bites.
Funding: $750,000 from 1 round.
Illumitex manufacturers LED lights, made with a patented LED optics system, that emit a uniform, highly precise beam directly from the source.
The company makes lights for architectural, industrial and horticultural applications. A key area for Illumitex is energy-efficient LED grow lights for greenhouses, hydroponics and research.
Illumitex LEDs are used to grow a range of vegetables in vertical farms around the world, including medical marijuana.
Their LEDs can be set to produce wavelengths that target growth in particular plants.
The company claims their LEDs create more usable light per watt than any other manufacturer and have a Digital Distribution™ system that ensure even light distribution to plant canopies.
Funding: $79.84 million from 11 rounds.
Health care startup ENTvantage DX focuses on medical diagnostic tests for ear, nose and throat illnesses.
They are currently developing rapid, accurate in-office tests that will allow physicians to quickly and efficiently diagnose illnesses.
Their first product is a BacDtect-3 assay kit to test sinusitis patients to see if their symptoms are caused by bacterial pathogens or a virus.
With 90% of all cases sinusitis viral, the $15 test will stop the over-prescription of antibiotics to roughly 30 million patients annually.
The company estimates their test kit should be available next year.
Funding: $1.02 million from 1 round.
Equipboard is the world’s largest crowd-sourced database of artists and the equipment that they use. Initially focusing on music, the platform showcases the gear, products and tools that musicians use.
Users can follow their favorite artists, read about their tools and add equipment to profiles themselves.
In addition, users can show their own gear collection, create a want list and share their ratings and reviews.
The site also features articles with tips and techniques about gear and music making. In addition to music, the platform also has the ability to cover a range of other activities, from sports to filmmaking.
Funding: Undisclosed from 2 rounds.
Tugg is a crowdsourcing platform that helps film-lovers to rent a local cinema with a film of their choice.
The site works with social media to help people promote events to friends or a specific network. In order for the screening to go ahead a certain number of tickets need to be sold.
Featuring a library of 1839 films, many of them independent and a listing of local Tugg events, the startup is also a very useful platform for independent filmmakers to gain a wider distribution and reach audiences nationally. Tugg currently operates in America and Australia.
Funding: $6.37 million from 3 rounds.