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Thursday, April 12, 2018
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First Up

Brent: MassChallenge Texas startups are officially moved in at the new WeWork space on West 6th Street. I got a quick look around this morning after a nice chat with Janice Omadeke, founder of The Mentor Method, which is one of the 84 startups in the new program. With so many new startups setting up, you’ll probably be meeting new innovators at events downtown — their cohort includes founders from as far off as Zimbabwe and as close as, well, down the street here in Austin.

Now, let’s kick a Beat…

The Big One

A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.

Austin Didn’t Do So Well on This Ranking 

It must be the season for rankings. The past couple days, we’ve highlighted quarterly funding totals, which showed Austin startups are on pace for a strong year in venture capital fundraising. Austin also just landed the prestigious best city to live in designation from U.S. News & World Report.

But, today, the news isn’t so hot. Careers site released its annual list of the best cities for job seekers. Austin fell from its No. 4 ranking in 2017 to No. 12 in this year’s report. The rankings were based on job market favorability (ratio of job postings on Indeed’s site vs. job seeker interest); salary (weighted for cost of living); work/life balance; and job security and advancement rankings. And the methodology was the same for the 2017 and 2018 rankings.

So what went wrong? Well, it appears Austin’s job favorability ranking fell fast. Austin’s rank in that category was 28 out 50. The market’s strongest rating was for work/life balance, with a No. 12 rank. Ouch. So, although we don’t have all the data at hand, we can surmise that either there are few job postings or fewer people interested in those Austin jobs — or a mix.

I suspect Austin’s rising cost of living (pretty tough to find a decent home for under $350K within 10 miles of downtown) may play a role if fewer people are looking for jobs here. Two other things I think may factor in: Austin’s traffic congestion reputation; and perhaps the increasing popularity and job growth of Dallas, which could translate to fewer smaller town Texans picking Austin to launch a career after high school or college.

Making Moves

Inside the people, companies and organizations making moves today.

Workforce Development Accelerator Cohort Revealed

Impact Hub Austin, a co-working space and social impact incubator, announced the organizations selected for its Workforce Development Accelerator, which runs April 11 to June 20. The cohort includes:

  • 3 Day Startup (Brianna Kablack and Alexis Taylor)
  • Alcye (Lav Chintapalli)
  • Austin Coding Academy (Chris Lofton)
  • Central Texas Allied Health Institute (Jereka Thomas-Hockaday)
  • Hernandez Hospitality, LLC (Olivia Hernandez)
  • KeyUp (Adam Chasen, Mary Hannah Duhon and Mariangela Marin)
  • MediaTech Ventures Collective (Paul O’Brien and John Zozzaro)
  • PelotonU (Navid Ladha and Hudson Baird)
  • Workforce Inclusion (Ryan Steglich and Tasha McCarter)

You can hang out with the new cohort and Impact Hub’s team this evening. RSVP here.

Baxter Planning Systems Appoints New CEO

Baxter Planning Systems, a supply chain software company, appointed Chuck Moeling as its new CEO. He was previously CMO and EVP of sales at Interface Security Systems, and he has worked with other SaaS companies. He takes over for Greg Baxter, who founded the business in 1993. Baxter will remain in a leadership position as chief product officer.

Oracle Already Has Plans to Expand… Someday

Oracle‘s East Riverside campus grand opening was three weeks ago. And it looks like the tech giant has already plotted out an expanded footprint here in Austin. The Austin American-Statesman spotted the plans in city documents and broke the news Wednesday afternoon. The Austin Business Journal followed up, noting that the plans were actually submitted back in December and that Oracle’s plans to add 420K sq. ft. of office space probably “would not happen any time soon” and that there’s no timeline for that expansion. While it may be year’s off, it’s a bonus for Austin to know that Oracle sees an even bigger future here.

Houston Opens Innovation District

Houston officially announced its new Innovation District Wednesday evening. It will be anchored by a former Sears building in Midtown that’s being renovated by Rice University and will become a startup incubator. All told, the new innovation district includes $100M in redevelopment, the Houston Chronicle reported. The district will be ran by Station Houston, which has a partnership with Austin’s Capital Factory, and Houston Exponential, a nonprofit set up to build the city’s startup scene. I was at Station Houston last November, and the leaders I spoke with there were buzzing about the evolving ecosystem and its huge potential.

As part of that big announcement, Hypergiant, a new AI consulting and development startup that has offices in Austin, Dallas and Houston, announced a new fellowship at Station Houston. Hypergiant will fund the hire of an AI Fellow to work throughout the Houston AI ecosystem. And the program “will support entrepreneurs, attract investors into the ecosystem; engage students to connect with new opportunities; and serve as a resource to corporations who are exploring how AI will transform business practices and industry growth,” a press release says.

In The Know

The Inno stories you need to read today.

– Designing the Perfect Product from Scratch (Sterling Smith)
– Chicken Shit Bingo among Austin’s brilliant ideas (San Francisco Examiner)
– Bitcoin Buyers Have to Take a Wild Guess on Their Taxes(Bloomberg)

New Money

Your daily funding roundup.

Quarterly Updates

No new fundings reported by Austin tech startups today. So take a minute to check out three recent pieces on local VC funding from the first quarter of 2018.

In The Community

The events and happenings to know about tonight and this week.

Coming Up

Keeping Austin Weird & Wired

The fun stuff

Of 8-Tracks and BBQ

There was a time, probably in the late 70s, where you could find a Texas hippy rolling down the street in an old school pickup tapping the steering wheel while an 8-track spins the sweet sounds of Stevie Ray or Willie. Well, flash forward 40 years or so and we’re in the midst of a vinyl revival as streaming eats the rest of the audio world. The 8-track, one might suspect, is as dead as any discontinued format. But, alas, there is this thing called National 8-Track Day where we pause (or hit play, rather) to consider these old thangs. has a nice throwback. But I want to point your attention to Austin’s favorite stoner rock band, The Sword. They put a new spin on the old format when they released their latest album, “Used Future.” They used the clunky 8-track plastic shell and inserted USB ports that have the new album and a “trippy visualizer.” And they made them by hand. This could be filed under “creative recycling.”

OK, on to the BBQ news. Another hat tip to here… they noted Aaron Franklin recently chatted with Esquire about his approach to food — and life. In it, the pitmaster reveals he doesn’t eat BBQ very much.

Wait, what? Yep, he says he doesn’t “eat that stuff” but loves to cook it. But, if you think about it for a moment, it’s not all that shocking. I don’t get off of work and plow through another pile of tech articles. We tend to try to escape from our work. So, perhaps it’s not all that surprising that Franklin reserves his BBQ binges for special occasions (trips to the Carolinas, for example).

And, of course, Franklin is nibbling along the way — “I taste it all the time,” he said.

Featured Jobs

Featured startup and tech jobs on Austin Inno’s new Careers Directory.

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Meet The Author

Brent Wistrom

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