Austin’s Mission To Grow
While Brunner acknowledges there are many great things about Austin’s startup scene such as “some great venues for inspiration,” she does feel the city lacks some “think big global perspective.” So while Austin may be a great place for startups, Brunner would like to see the city’s small-to-mid-size companies think bigger.
As part of that goal, the Austin Technology Council is on a mission to help grow 10 Austin tech companies to $1 billion in revenue in 10 years, and 100 companies to $100 million in revenue over the same period.
“I think we’re capable of reaching those goals in this community, especially if we pull together and support existing businesses,” she says. “But we need more global thinking, mentors, and investors to push entrepreneurs to go for the brass ring.”
Austin has its sectors that it does very well in – such as semiconductors, security, marketing analytics, software, and a burgeoning gaming sector. And Brunner believes the city’s tech ecosystem will only continue to grow.
“We have a lot of good people interested in the upward and outward growth of Austin tech,” she said. “But what Austin has more profoundly than anywhere else I’ve lived is spirit of community. The generosity I see from leaders in tech sharing their time and expertise is something I haven’t seen anywhere else. From the moment I set foot here, I was genuinely surprised by how open and willing to share advice people were.”
Looking ahead, Brunner hopes to create Austin as a model for growing female leaders of any color in tech. Towards that end, the Austin Technology Council has launched a sponsorship program to pair women with experienced senior men and have them sponsor their careers.
“I think the way that we can continue to distinguish Austin is our heart,” she says. “It sounds very new-agey, but I do think that you can find good engineers in tech in any market. But you can’t find this sort of heart in leadership elsewhere that you find in Austin.”