Austin has been known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” because of its various local live music venues and nationally popular music festivals. Now the growing Texan metropolis is synonymous with innovative technology, entrepreneurship and startups. Austin’s latest urban moniker “Silicon Hills” practically overshadows its former title as the world’s live music capital. Here’s why the city is dubbed as the next Silicon Valley — the hot new destination for big tech companies and rising startups.
Major tech companies like Dell, AT&T, Google, HP, Microsoft and Samsung anchor Austin as a leading tech hub. In fact, Austin boasts 17 companies on the Inc. 5000 list, reports Forbes, including mobile app developer Phunware, the pioneer of Multiscreen as a Service (MaaS). Accenture recognizes other notable tech players headquartered in Austin such as Applied Materials, the global nanomanufacturing leader, and Freescale Semiconductor, a leading embedded processing solutions company for various markets. Austin is also where GM opened its first IT Innovation Center in 2012, and where headset manufacturer, Plantronics, relocated in 2013.
Apple’s Second Home
Apple is expanding by opening its second-largest office complex in Austin with goals to complete construction in 2016. The campus will feature seven buildings, restaurants and onsite health and fitness centers. Set on 38 acres of land with 1.1 million square feet of office space, Apple’s second location plans to employ 7,000 employees. Austin’s educated workforce, high-tech talent and millennial demographic attracted Apple and marked it as an excellent metro for building and expanding in the consumer electronics industry.
Career & Entrepreneurial Opportunity
Forbes adds that the Austin Technology Council estimates 9,000 new jobs in technology will be created by 2017. Tech-focused employment jumped by 41.4 percent from 2001 to 2013, with predictions that job opportunities will skyrocket in the years to come. A pervasive reputation as a Silicon Valley alternative attracts venture capitalists too, which means affluent opportunities for startup entrepreneurs. These days, Austin’s not only known for its music scene, but its startup scene. Companies like HomeAway, Spiceworks, LiveOak Venture Partners and Capital Factory have all found success in “Silicon Hills.”
Network of Influencers & Investors
Along with investment opportunities, Austin-based entrepreneurs can delve into the hub’s active tech community. A network of connections, collaborators and investor/startup mixers are within reach. Entrepreneurs can learn, work and accelerate their company at Capital Factory in downtown. Known as “Austin’s Center of Gravity for Entrepreneurs,” Capital Factory connects entrepreneurs with investors, talent and customers. Silicon Valley is no longer the only place where “you can make it” as Austin rises with top talent and escalating opportunity. Investors see the potential of Austin, especially with an average of 150 people per day moving to Austin. In Q4 of 2014, Austin’s venture funding totaled $352 million.
Livability & Affordability
Set on pursuing your dreams in Austin? The affordable cost of living is also on your side. The housing price tags in the Bay Area are high enough to make you wince. Silicon Valley’s Los Altos has the most expensive housing market in the nation, reports Forbes. The median price for a one-bedroom apartment rental has hit $3,400 in San Francisco. Rentals available in Austin are a third of the cost and three times the size of what you might find in Silicon Valley. For renters who have a higher budget and financial room to spare, luxury apartments in Austin offer more bedrooms, more bathrooms and cutting-edge amenities.
The allure of Austin doesn’t end at economic growth, entrepreneurial opportunity and reasonably priced luxury housing. The city also entices urban dwellers with its unique vibe, fitness-focused environment and of course, thriving music scene featuring major events like SXSW and Austin City Limits.