ATC Weekend Update | September 17

In this Weekend Update

Barbary talks about why we endorsed the Austin's Mobility Bond
WSGR share their 1H 2016 Entrepreneurs Report
Avison Young tell us why a lot of tech companies are looking to East Austin for office space
We Invite you to MedTechTX2016


Why ATC Endorsed the Mobility Bond

Recently, Joseph Kopser, President of ATC Member company Moovel, and Founding Member of the ATC Policy Coalition, wrote an article about why he supports Austin’s $720 Million Mobility Bond, slated to be on the ballot this coming November.  He writes that, “Better mobility enables the American Dream” and that the Bond is “a realistic next step toward establishing Austin as the national leader in social mobility….. While addressing traffic congestion problems for all.”  He’s not wrong about this.

There are a lot of folks in Austin who don’t work in tech who increasingly believe the new Austin story is one of a tale of two cities, and that tech is largely to blame for a lot of our civic challenges including traffic, the rising cost of housing, and the gentrification of neighborhoods which were once, but are no longer, affordable to all our citizens.  I’m not convinced that that the tech community is solely at fault—Austin is in the middle of the fastest growing metro area in the US for 5 years running.  People move here because Texas is a great state to do business in, and Austin is an exceptional community to live in. 

We’re also the number one city to start a business in according to the Kauffman Foundation.  All of this means more people, more businesses, higher wages for many, more demand on housing stock and people moving infrastructure, all of which drives up prices, particularly in the close-in areas.  And this means that over time, our less advantaged citizens get priced out of geographically desirable areas and moved away from easily accessible economic, educational and cultural opportunities.  It is just that, in Austin, this seems to be happening at a lightning fast pace. 

In the tech community, we pride ourselves on our native innovation, our cool home-grown companies like HomeAway, Spredfast, CSID and Trendkite, as well as our ability to attract the biggest and best from elsewhere—Apple’s second biggest location in the US is here in Austin, Oracle is building a huge facility, Google has an enormous presence in town.  But our reputation for innovation and ability to continue to attract great talent from outside the market depends a great deal on the quality of life that our city serves up.  I believe that the tech community, as cutting-edge thought leaders, innovators, business founders and creators of both material and intellectual wealth, have a responsibility to nurture the growth of our city and ensure a great future which allows our businesses, and others, to flourish.

Yes, the Mobility Bond, long overdue, does start to create people moving solutions that will enable more of our citizens to participate in the American dream.  It also solves for some really basic problems, like decreasing your morning commute wait time at key intersections by as much as 40% through automating signal timing based on time of day and weather.  Right now, our traffic signals require manual adjustment, which means a City employee gets in a vehicle and drives to the intersection and makes changes by hand.  This in a city known for technology. 

The Bond also moves us forward on increasing housing density around our major corridors, creating more walkable, close-knit neighborhoods.  Newcomers from big coastal cities are used to being able to manage most or all of their errands, entertainment, and commuting either on foot or via some sort of public or shared transportation—they pay attention to walkability scores when they are looking for real estate.  And the success of the Mueller community shows us that a lot of Austinites don’t want a big yard to take care of, enjoy smaller space living, and enjoy the sense of community that living very close to your neighbors brings.  The Bond also provides for better and safer commute by bike, which is critical in a city where more and more people use bicycles as either primary or secondary transportation.  Making more designated room for bikes keeps riders safe, and decreases frustration for motorists. 

We are getting bigger, and that isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Our ability to attract talent, new businesses and grow our existing businesses, particularly those which are innovation-based, will depend on how forward-thinking we are as a community around creating solutions to livability and quality of life issues for all our citizens.  The ATC sees the Mobility Bond as the first step in the right direction, which is why we’ve joined the Chamber and many other leaders in town in support of this issue.


The Entrepreneur Report

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the leading law firm counseling emerging growth companies in Texas and across the U.S., has published its 1H 2016 Entrepreneur’s Report. This edition contains a range of data on venture financing transactions in which the firm was involved in the first half of 2016.  The data in this report identifies relevant trends in activity and valuation levels for the U.S. venture capital industry.  This report also features an article on the growing investor disapproval of dual-class stock structures and an interview with Charlie Bonello and Matt Harrigan of NYC-based accelerator Grand Central Tech.  Please click on the link below to access this report. If you have any question on the Entrepreneur’s Report or corporate financing, please contact Brian Beard (, Rob Suffoletta (, or Joey Alcorta (

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Tech Companies Look to East Austin for Office Space

What is it about East Austin that has tech companies salivating at the opportunity to open an office across I-35 from the CBD?

Is it the eclectic vibe the neighborhood provides or the bevy of coffee shops and bars that never seem to close?

What about the ease in which people can take the MetroRail to Plaza Saltillo or ride their bikes to work?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any those questions you would be right. Companies such as Oracle, Condé Nast, C3 Presents and Handsome have already made the jump across I-35.

Not only does East Austin provide all of those amenities, but it also offers reduced office rates relative to the CBD, free street parking from 8am-6pm in some locations and more affordable housing options.

CEO of Handsome, John Roescher, made the move to the East side years ago when his company originally was located at 501 Studios. “East Austin has been great for our creative workforce. Due to the low barrier to entry we’ve been able to not only establish ourselves as an entrepreneurial landmark, but we’ve been able to contribute to the community.” When Handsome leased their new office, located at 1000 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702, they installed a full size bar and a presentation area with stadium seating, allowing entrepreneurs the opportunity to mix, mingle and present their latest ideas. This functionality of Handsome’s office space not only supports their own company culture, but fosters the growth of East Austin’s entrepreneurial culture around them.

While Handsome is certainly one of the first-movers in the trending East side market, several other companies are being drawn to the area for many of the same reasons. Condé Nast and C3 Presents both signed leases at the Eastside Village last year, which was the latest mixed-use project to deliver. In terms of location, Eastside Village is hard to beat - just 1 mile from Rainey St., 2 miles from Lady Bird Lake, 2 miles from The University of Texas, 6 miles from the airport and across the street from the Plaza Saltillo MetroRail station.

Add in the luxury apartments and some of Austin’s hottest restaurants in the surrounding area and these companies have a true live-work-play environment to offer their employees.  

While the area is rich in amenities, office product inventory is scarce with vacancy rates at 2.07%. This is due in large part to the challenges with assembling enough land to build sizeable projects and offer the necessary parking.

The good news is that new development is on the horizon. Nine buildings, totaling 1,034,952 SF, are being proposed in this market, however, developers will need pre-leasing to get the financing necessary to start these projects.

This requires tenants to commit to projects that won’t deliver until 2018 or beyond. While that takes time, forward-thinking businesses have the opportunity to get involved early to help shape this next wave of development and reap the rewards for being an early adopter.

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Join us at MedTechTX2016: October 3-4

ATC is pleased to co-host MedTechTX 2016 with Texas State’s SBDC Spectrum Program.  Have you ever wondered why your great product idea is struggling to get market acceptance? Healthcare is a complex and changing environment.  Historically, decision-making has been largely carried out by clinical teams based upon best-in-class criteria. Now, with increasing focus on outcome-based solutions, multiple stakeholders have emerged. Each must be considered when unlocking the market.
A value proposition to one stakeholder is not enough. At the end of the day you have to have a value proposition for each stakeholder group. This conference provides unique perspective from key players in the healthcare industry in relation to their roles in technology adoption. Each stakeholder will share their challenges, pain points and the drivers of their decision-making process.
This conference has been meticulously planned to bring together the right mix of speakers and moderators so this will not be just a set of sessions about how to get funding for medical technology and devices. This event was designed to provide a completely different perspective and to help medtech entrepreneurs get connected to the different players in the ecosystem.

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