Austin Inno’s 50 on Fire identifies the hottest companies, organizations and people across a variety of categories, all operating within and around the city’s innovation economy.
Last year, we announced a list of 150 finalists and, later, shared the 50 on Fire list at a big party. It was great, but following that big reveal, we immediately transitioned to end-of-year stories and topics.
In order to spend a little more time with the final 50 and truly spotlight the people and businesses that are heating up Austin’s ecosystem, we’re doing things a little differently.
Today, we’re officially announcing the 50 on Fire list. Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll see profiles, stories and more about a handful of these fast-moving companies.
We invite you and your team, friends, family – and anyone that’s interested or invested in Austin startups – to join us at a big party stocked with tasty bites, cocktails, craft beer and wine at Vuka (AKA Gather) on North Lamar on Oct. 4. At the event, we’ll announce the 10 people and companies, one from each category, that a panel of esteemed judges have selected as the Inno Blazer winners (AKA category winners). Get tickets here.
By unveiling the 50 now and gathering everyone at the event, we allow for the community as a whole to celebrate those that are driving Austin forward.
So, now to the most important question. What makes a company or individual on fire? We’re looking at startups that have had a banner year — companies with new funding, recent product launches, hot hires and interesting partnerships.
Got it? Sweet. Now, here are this year’s 50 on Fire!
Ben Rubenstein: Cofounder of Yodle who launched real estate tech startup Opcity with one of the biggest Series A rounds for a software company in years – $27 million.
Tenfold: Techstars Cloud Accelerator alum that raised $15.8 million this year from Andreessen Horowitz, Geekdom Fund LP and Rackspace Hosting Inc. cofounder Pat Condon.
TrendKite: Hired 100-plus people this year and opened a London office, putting last year’s $16.6 million funding to use — it has raised more than $37M to date.
Phunware: $90 million raised and, this year, made the Inc. 5000 list for the fifth time in a row and added 100 million monthly active unique devices to its platform’s reach — which now totals 800 million.
BigCommerce: Recently added $5 million to its $30 million Series E round — total funding at $95 million and promoted former PayPal senior director Alexandra Shapiro as its new CMO.
Aceable: After expanding its drivers ed to new states, it launched a real estate certification program, and it hired about 50 people.
The Zebra: Raised a $17 million round last year, kept hiring and added former Bankrate CEO Thomas Evans as an adviser. Its revenue is eight figures and it’s had 100 percent year-over-year growth.
Jag Bath: The Favor CEO took over at a time on-demand delivery became saturated. The company pulled back in non-Texas markets, expanded inside the state and is hiring runners like crazy.
Data.World: With a quick $32 million in funding (and candor in talking about how it was raised), this social network for data has expanded rapidly and picked up key partnerships with governments and nonprofits.
FloSports: Its subscribership is booming, it has signed more than 300 new rights deals and partnerships with key organizations, including USA Football, NCAA, Big 12 Conference, IBJJF, Premier Girls Fastpitch, Athletics Australia, and an eight-year deal with USA Wrestling through 2024.
Cybernance: Landed the SAFETY Act award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and got its first commercial revenue from platform sales — with aggressive revenue goals without raising VC money.
NSS Labs: It has 280+ enterprise customers and has doubled its team over the last three years from 51 to 100 people.
OnRamp: 20 years in the industry and has expanded headcount 77 percent since 2013 with currently 85 employees.
SpyCloud: Dave Endler and Ted Ross-led company came out of stealth this spring with $2.5 million seed round.
SparkCognition: Closed a $32 million Series B, hired high ranking former government officials and won a DIuX grant.
SchooLinks: Went from small startup relying on investment money to revenue generating, and growing at more than 30 percent each month.
3 Day Startup: They’ve delivered programming to more than 12,000 students and they keep increase their engagement and built international innovation bridges as part of the ATX-PAK delegation Austria to Austin Student Startup Exchange.
PenPal Schools: Launched new global STEM programming, combating fake news and raised $1.25 million round from Honeycomb Portfolio, former San Antonio Spurs CEO Peter Holt and actress Sophia Bush.
GameSalad: This startup helps students learn about coding without writing code by providing drag & drop programs to build games in the classroom. It was founded in 2010, and it has raised more than $7 million from Steamboat Ventures and others.
Health and Life Sciences
ePatientFinder: After $8.2 million Series B in 2016, they’ve launched new products and made key hires.
Remedy: Raised $1.7 million in equity funding to grow its on-demand doctor business
Think and Zoom: Winner of Pitch-a-kid and Pitch Black and landed partnership with the National Federation of the Blind.
Digital Pharmacist: Landed $6.5 million Series B and is a partner with the National Community Pharmacy Association.
EverlyWell: Featured on new Helix marketplace for DNA products, and earlier this year raised $2 million fromNextGen Venture Partners and others.
Key Travel Concierge: Raised an additional $3.8M and expanded to new markets.
Everfest: 2017 highlights – $3.6 million Series A led by Live Nation and ATX Seed Ventures, new office on South Lamar and product enhancements.
Outdoor Voices: Appointed former J.Crew CEO and current chairman Mickey Drexler as Outdoor Voices’ chairman of the board and raised $6.5 million in debt funding.
Phlur: The fragrance startup added $4.3 million in new equity funding and tens of thousands of customers within a year of launch.
TheWaveVR: Raised $4 million from Upfront Ventures in red hot VR market and continues to wow with trippy music experiences.
Kickstand: Works with big players like Aceable, Dropoff, FloSports, Phunware and SquareRoot, doubled its headcount and opened a Boston office this year.
INK Communications Co.: Opened offices in Denver and New York, and grew its client base.
OutBound Engine: Acquired ReadyChat, landed on the Inc. 5000 and had $16 million Series C last year.
Main Street Hub: Added former HomeAway Chief Services Officer Jeff Mosler as its Chief Operating Officer and raised $27 million in debt refinancing at the start of the year for hundreds of hires.
eRelevance Corporation: The Bob Fabbio-led startup reported revenue growth of 275% in the past four quarters and landed $5.1 million in new funding.
DivInc: Accepted its third cohort of diverse founders and has now accelerated 18 companies, 24 women or ethnically diverse tech founders, several of whom got funded.
Matt Glazer: The outgoing executive director of the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce helped transform the organization and increased membership.
Brian Fontenot: Founded and led the BLF Foundation, which had 864 volunteers completed go through its program — also, more than $26,000 in support through scholarships and mentorship given out to students during this programs first year.
Code2College: Last Fall they were in two schools and, now, they’ve expanded into an additional 5 Austin area schools for 2017-2018.
Notley Ventures: Expanded Startup Games to Denver and Atlanta and announced plans to open the Center for Social Innovations. And it’s bringing The Bolder Board Training to Austin.
Supporters (Incubators, VCs etc)
True Wealth Ventures: The firm, which focuses on women-led companies, made a $1.5 million investment in BrainCheck Inc. and is planning to continue investing with a fund targeted at $20 million.
Capital Factory: Launched a VR Lab, opened first floor events space, brought in Apple’s Tim Cook and launched diversity initiatives.
Central Texas Angel Network: Ranked as the most active angel organization in the nation for the second year in a row.
Team Austin: The nonprofit set up scores of events to bring the tech community together for networking and learning.
David Edmonson: Leading Austin Tech Alliance, he spearheaded efforts to engage tech community in civic issues, local politics and campaigns against the “bathroom bill.”
Chris Pacitti: The Austin Ventures General Partner and founder of AVX Partners made several new investments and is poised for more.
Joah Spearman: The Localeur founder has had a big year launching a magazine and raising new money for his startup, and he provides a ton of candid posts about startup relationships, diversity in tech and much more.
Ashley Jennings: The DivInc cofounder is a connector of people and organizations across the startup community.
Mubariz “Moby” Hayat: Producer and host of the Austin Fire Show, a podcast that dives deep with founders and innovators.
Sara Brand: Co-founder of True Wealth Ventures, advocate for women entrepreneurs and active investor.