There are company holiday parties. And then there are Austin tech startup holiday parties. One gives you a chance to enjoy potluck casseroles and a glass of Sprite mixed with sherbert. The other might challenge you to put on a swanky 1970s-style polyester suit, down a craft cocktail or two and party like it’s 1999.
We wanted to know how Austin was partying heading into the holidays this year. So we reached out to a few startups with a reputation for throwing great parties. And we quickly learned that companies like Spredfast, BuildASign.com, TrendKite, The Zebra, Indeed and others threw big time shindigs, replete with adult hot coco bars, live bands and even a bunch of fake snow.
Here’s a round up of what the companies shared with us.
Square Root took over The Madison on Friday, Dec. 9, and had a ’70s prom themed party. It included everything from disco dancers teaching the hustle to boogie-worthy tunes, a balloon arch prom photo station, a groovy horoscope station, and retro cocktails and food, including a chocolate fondue fountain. Then, they capped the night off with the announcement of the prom king and queen.
“The Zebra party involved as many festive traditions and games as we could possibly squeeze in,” Manager of Communications Strategy Alyssa Connolly wrote in an email. “We had an ugly sweater contest; Secret Santa exchange; raffle (we earned tickets over the two weeks prior by bringing in homemade treats, dressing up as holiday characters, decorating our desks, donating to a food drive, making paper snowflakes, and eating excessive amounts of candy canes, among other more ridiculous things); and as always, plenty of food, drinks, music, and – eventually and for some – our own special version of karaoke. So much fun!”
“Not even a cold, rainy night could slow down the TrendKite tribe!,” Lacey Miller, TrendKite’s content marketing manager, wrote in an email to Austin Inno. “We decked out the Brazos Hall rooftop with swanky furniture, cozy throws, and incredible heaters, allowing people to check their coats and rage on! The spread of food included brisket stuffed jalapeńo poppers and later, delectable TrendKite cookies for late night sweet treats. And because the whole team is obsessed with a good gif, the photobooth turned your memories into one. From a well stocked bar, mixing everyone’s favorite cocktails, to a DJ who fed the rage, the TrendKite tribe had an amazing time celebrating an incredible 2016!”
BuildASign.com rented out Speakeasy at 4th Street and Congress Avenue for its Dec. 2 holiday party. They set up a s’mores bar to build tasty treats and an adult hot chocolate bar to wash the snacks down. BuildASign hired a live band, brought in a photo booth and had a raffle that gave away more than $4,000 in prizes. When the party wound down, employees and their plus ones had access to a Fasten discount code to get home safe.
“When there’s a reason to party, we make a day of it,” Kickstand’s Kristina Kennedy wrote in an email to Austin Inno. Here’s how their day went.
– First, we worked with our client Dropoff to donate more than 1,200 diapers to local refugee families in need.
– Then, we headed to grab some brews and food to watch Office Christmas Party
– After that, we fancied it up and headed out to the Hills Country Club in Lakeway with employees and SO’s for some awesome cocktails, great food, and one hilarious White Elephant filled with way too many inside jokes.
Jackrabbit had its holiday party at its new office on the Eastside. “It was a great opportunity to celebrate the team and their +1s in a cozy setting,” Jackrabbit’s Nina Ho wrote. “We had stations set up to make DIY ornaments (for our holiday arbor), cookie decorating, and care kits for the homeless. We hosted a potluck and also had hard cider and egg nog flowing all night. Lastly, we played white elephant and gifted each other epic mugs – all in front of a warm Netflix fireplace.”
They also had a custom tree topper that one of Jackrabbit’s Android developers, Caroline, made.
This IT monitoring company partied down at the Market and Tap Room downtown. The team watched shots flow down an ice sculpture shot luge and had custom poems typed up by the Typewriter Rodeo. The Nightowls were on stage playing fresh jams. And there was no shortage of bites from Eastside Tavern and desserts from Casa De Glaze.
Remote employees who didn’t fly in got an email from CEO Greg Stock with a choice of 6 gifts to choose from, including a Salt Lick BBQ dinner.
The very sociable social media insights company threw a big party at Brazos Hall, complete with an 80’s themed costume contest. Spredfast brought in The Spazmatics, one of Austin’s favorite cover bands, and had two signature 80’s themed drinks — “Who shot J.R.?” and “Where’s the Beef?” The team hit up a photo booth that printed and texted the party pics. At the end of the night, employees got cab vouchers for a safe ride home.
Indeed, one of Austin’s fastest-growing tech companies, rented out the ACL Live Moody Theater for about 1,700 employees and guests. The company band rocked out on the big stage. They had a guitar pick making station. And, for those with no guitars, there was a place to jam out on Rock Band on a 90-inch TV — or you could just go hang out on one of the two custom-made Harley’s on the stage. The company also added two very rock ‘n roll speciality cocktails called the Axl Rose and the Whiskey River.