Austin is home to 20 unicorns, with more in the paddock
America’s 11th-largest city, Austin, Texas might very well be the country’s next hotbed for tech: Tesla has recently filed with the city to expand their Gigafactory, the new curved office tower leased by Google is set to sail into Austin’s skyline in just a few months. Many of the world’s biggest tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Meta and SpaceX all have established large workforces and campuses in the Austin metropolitan area. Following the lead of these giants, mid-sized tech companies are flocking to the region. These startups and scaleups are welcomed by the innovative, collaborative and entrepreneurial culture of this state capital.
To track and measure the success and growth of their tech ecosystem, the Austin Chamber of Commerce has launched their own digital database, powered by Dealroom.
Austin has a thriving entrepreneurial spirit, and I am excited for the Austin Chamber to embrace that energy and innovate our support of this vital economic sector. We want this tool to be a place where startups can find and connect with the resources that they need to grow their business.
Austin’s tech scene, by the numbers
Austin’s region is now home to more than 3,380 fast-growing companies. The city’s total combined enterprise value reached $115.3B in 2022 so far, up 2.7x over the 5 past years. Counter to overall US tech industry performance, Austin’s ecosystem value grew between 2021 and 2022 so far, regardless of economic volatility; making it one of the most resilient tech hubs globally. Tesla‘s recent headquarters relocation to Austin adds a whooping $911B to the ecosystem total enterprise value and is sure to have a significant economic impact on the region.
When considering Austin’s investment activity performance, the numbers are also impressive. Fundraising in the region in 2021 was a record breaking year, doubling the amount raised by Austin startups in 2020. But the craziness mainly happened at mid to later stage with $4.3B raised in series B and above, more than double the amount from the previous year. 2021 was also a good year for early stage (below $15M/Series A) investing, although the number of rounds has been slightly decreasing since 2018.
Yet 2022 seems poised to be a strong year for VC investment as well. H1 2022 was the second highest H1 on record (after 2021) and was higher than H2 2021, with a total amount of $2.4B raised. The picture is not all bright however: the region has seen a significant drop in the number of rounds in 2022, especially at earlier stages (pre-seed and seed), an indicator of the cooldown of the VC market over the past 2 years.
A broad set of local capital partners
Investors are increasingly drawn to the city with 117 VCs now calling Austin home. With more 144 rounds raised in 2022 so far, Austin is buzzing with investment activity and potential for the remainder of the year. The most active VCs based in Austin, by number of rounds in the last twelve months, were 8VC, Multicoin Capital and Silverton Partners.
Austin has a robust and well-established local funding ecosystem, with domestic investment largely dominating the funding landscape.
A city of tech giants, unicorns…
The Austin ecosystem is also increasingly attractive to many startups and corporates from elsewhere in the US and the world, who are relocating their headquarters or opening offices in Austin.
But as far as homegrown success stories go, Austin certainly has much to be proud of. With 20 unicorns headquartered or founded in the city, Austin is among the most prolific tech cities in the country. Among the successes, famous dating app Bumble and worldwide employment website Indeed are household names, but newlike LCC provider ZenBusiness, enterprise scale AI solutions provider SparkCognition and healthcare and patient care software provider Iodine Software are all rising stars dotting Austin’s sky.
Together, Austin’s unicorns are now worth $54.4B. Over the past 2 years especially, there was a noticeable surge in new unicorns, with 11 fast-growth companies reaching that status. The time to reach unicorn status is accelerating too, with newer cohorts (2012-2022) becoming unicorns in 6.4 years on average and older ones (2002-2012) in 10.1 years on average. Out of the current 20 unicorns, eight where founded in the past 10 years.
… and opportunities on the horizon!
An ecosystem’s health and growth cannot only be evaluated by the unicorns it produces. Young companies are often creating more jobs and fueling the resulting economic growth. Dealroom Signal refreshes Austin’s next breakout opportunities everyday, surfacing companies showing strong traction and that are predicted to be fundraising soon.
The Austin Metro is an incredible home for entrepreneurial innovation. It’s important for us to help continue cultivating a support system around start-ups so they can continue to prosper here in Central Texas. This new technology platform is just one of the ways the Austin Chamber is involved in helping our thriving ecosystem.
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