Wow, I can’t believe it’s been another year. Kicking off this year marks my 5th program as Managing Director of Techstars Austin and the 10th (yes 10th) program in Austin since 2013. We have a very exciting program ahead of us and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the incoming class. This year we have five companies from Austin and a sixth from Dallas – so, Texas is very well represented. The other four companies hail from New York, Florida, Ohio and we have one international company from India!
We love experimenting in the Austin program and are constantly figuring out how to optimize and continually provide better and better experiences for our founders. This year we’ll be experimenting with two new tools. The first is Maslo which is a “Smart Companion for Coaches”, and a Techstars LA alumni. Our goal here is to enhance the mentor/company experience. The other new tool is a new product from our portfolio company, WriterDuet. We will also be beta testing Flexdocs which is an absolutely incredible collaboration tool for businesses. I’ve been using it for a while and it blows Google docs away (by an order of magnitude).
Specific to the program, there is one change and one major enhancement. The change is that we shifted the program dates back to start on December 2nd and end on March 11th. We did this because SXSW runs in March and historically it occurred in the middle of the program. For a while I thought this was a good thing, but it turns out it is more of a distraction and the companies weren’t ready for it. With our new program schedule, this year’s companies will be fresh off Demo Day and ready to take SXSW by storm.
And finally, the enhancement. We’ve been tweaking programming in Austin for the past 5 years and in the past 2 programs have settled on a first week we love! And while it’s packed, the companies love it too. In our first week of program we deliver 5 foundational workshops in a progression which are intended to give our companies all the framework they need to build and grow amazing businesses. The 5 workshops, in order, are 1) Finding your W3 (road to product market fit) 2) Finding your Revenue Formula (testing your business model) 3) Product Prioritization (taking the work from the first 2 workshops and coming up with a product plan 4) Building a Metrics Driven Business (essentially a KPI workshop but based on the data you’ve built to date) and 5) Building and running your business with a Financial Model. We’ve tested all these pieces over the last few years and the consensus is we’re onto something amazing – and spoiler alert – we’re also turning it into a book which we hope to hit the shelves in fall 2020.
And with that, I present to you the Techstars Austin 2020 class:
Coral Gables, FL
8base is a Backend-as-a-Service that combines computing, application services and integrations for building SaaS and market-facing applications.
Aquifer Motion is SaaS platform that combines augmented reality and machine learning to make professional 3D animation accessible for all creators.
Binaize is a network intelligence software product for Industrial IoT that helps minimize machine downtime and increase the operational efficiency of industrial control systems.
Boutiq uses data science to buy and manage luxury vacation rentals.
Crave is a SaaS platform purpose-built to enhance the fitting rooms of premium enterprise retailers with modern digital experiences and analytics to optimize conversion opportunities.
EarBuds allows people to listen along LIVE with their favorite music curators in key moments.
Homebuyer is a lead nurture system for mortgage lenders that reduces customer acquisition costs and increases per-loan profits.
Jolly is a professional social network for the gig economy, where freelancers and businesses connect to grow their networks, work together freely and build their reputations.
Propertymate is SaaS platform that allows real estate agents to predict which property is most likely to be purchased by a client and helps to make deals within a brokerage or our network.
SURVIVR is a VR training platform to help first responders improve decision-making and response times.