Austin, Texas, has always been considered one of the South’s most bustling tech cities. Often called Silicon Hills, Austin has been a hub of technical innovation for companies, both big and small. Austin is home to wide variety of tech influencers who have helped the city become what it is today.
With the city of Austin growing at lightning speed, it may be easy to get lost in all the innovations. Who’s doing what? What names should you know? Stick around while we break down the details about the top tech influencers in Austin, Texas.
Tech Job Trends in Austin
Austin has long been a hub for all things technical innovation. Before we take a look at the top tech names in the area, let’s pay attention to Austin’s tech industry as a whole. With the implementation of some of the most significant tech innovations in the industry, Austin has quickly risen to become a major tech powerhouse of the region. How successful is this city doing? Let’s take a look at the numbers!
Austin by Numbers
This central Texas town may not be the first place on your list of major U.S tech cities. In fact, it may not even rank in your top five. This idea of Austin is starting to change, and it’s due in part to the bustling economy and major companies that call the city home.
Have you ever owned a Dell computer? If not, somebody you know certainly has. The company was actually founded in a UT Austin dorm room back in the 1980s. Today, the company is a staple of Austin’s corporate culture and is, in fact, a major part of the local community.
Dell’s founding opened the door for other major tech companies looking to call the city of Austin home. Other companies in the area include Amazon, Apple, Adobe, AT&T, 3M, and more. Often called “Silicon Hills”, the city of Austin is home to both major and small corporations.
There are currently an estimated 7,000+ startups in the Austin area. Additionally, these companies have worked to build the city’s economy by bringing in over $1 billion in funding.
Austin’s Tech Influencers
Now that we have some background on the humble beginnings of Austin, we can speculate about the future of tech in the city. The following individuals are just a handful of people who made an impact on the town and continue to shape the local tech industry today.
1. Michael Dell
Founder and CEO of Dell
This individual needs no introduction. Michael Dell founded his famous computer company in a freshman dorm at the University of Texas. During the past few decades, his makeshift operation grew into the multibillion-dollar corporation it is today.
Michael Dell spearheaded his company, and also became chairman of the board at Dell Boomi, SecureWorks, and VMware. If that’s not impressive enough, he also became a board member at Pivotal and co-founded the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.
2. Joshua Baer
Founder and CEO of Capital Factory
Joshua Baer is the founder of Capital Factory, a coworking community and accelerator designed to help startups find their first investors, customers, and employees. Baer also teaches entrepreneurship classes at the University of Texas.
The Aspen Institute recognized Baer as a Henry Crown Fellow, and also joined the National Committee on US-China Young Leaders Forum. He’s also an Eisenhower Fellow, and a member of the board of directors for the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Startup Games, Pingboard, the Texas Tribune, and WP Engine.
3. Mark Phillip
Founder and CEO of Are You Watching This?!
Mark Phillip is the founder and CEO of a B-to-B Sports Excitement Analytics company called Are You Watching This?! The company uses algorithms to identify instant classics in the making, all in real-time. Phillip dedicated his efforts to enhancing the game-watching experience through digital and physical innovation. Phillip currently serves on the board of the Austin Center for Design and as a mentor at Sports Tech Tokyo, MassChallenge, Divlnc, and Capital Factory.
4. Rob Taylor
Co-Founder and CEO of Convey
Rob Taylor is the Co-Founder and CEO of Convey, the delivery experience management platform that combines real-time visibility, post-purchase experiences, and advanced insights to create a solution to perfecting delivery.
CEO of Storyfit
Monica Landers is the CEO of Storyfit, a company that delivers artificial intelligence insights and machine learning solutions for book publishing, movie, and television producing industries. Landers also has a rich history in the content creation field with past positions at NBC News, Written.com, Demand Media, and Authors Inc.
6. Sam Decker
Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Fair Worlds
Sam Decker is the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Fair Worlds, an immersive marketing and advertising agency focusing on VR, AR, and XR. Decker has over 25 years of experience in B2C, B2B, and B2B2C, for startups and Fortune 500 companies across a variety of roles in marketing, product development, business development, and chief executive leadership.
Decker has a rich history of innovation and growth and has worked with a variety of Austin’s major players, including Dell, Silvercar, Spacecraft, and many more. Decker was one of the co-founders and mentors of Capital Factory and is currently on the board of directors at Interplay Learning.
7. Jason Cohen
Founder of WP Engine
Jason Cohen is the founder of WP Engine, which is a WordPress Digital Experience Platform meant to efficiently drive businesses forward. Jason is also the founder of four different technology startups, all worth over $1 million dollars in annual revenue. Cohen currently serves as the CTO for WP Engine.
Cohen was also a founding member of Capital Factory and has been an angel investor at the facility for the last six years.
Founder of SandBox Commerce
Sterling Smith is the founder of SandBox Commerce, a program that allows marketers and retailers to build a functional and appealing mobile eCommerce platform. Smith is also a Google Code 2040 Entrepreneur in Residence. Smith is also the founder of Launch Partner, an Austin based mobile branding company.
Sterling Smith is the recipient of many awards and achievements, including the Austin 50 on Fire award, the 2015 AustinPrenuer of the Year Award, and recipient of various Booz Allen Hamilton awards.
What’s the Takeaway?
Whether you’re from the great central Texas city of Austin or you’re considering a move to the Lone Star state, Austin’s tech scene is a vibrant and innovative place to be. With continued growth throughout the past decade, it doesn’t look like this city is slowing down any time soon.
So, what does this mean for you? Knowing the “who’s who” of the industry, regardless of where you live, is never a bad thing. You never know who you may run into at a conference or whose company you may apply for one day. Staying in the know on the latest tech events of the industry can give you a major leg up when it comes to networking and career readiness.