Questions to Ask at Capital Factory Demo Day 2011

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Next month I’ll be at the Capital Factory Demo Day 2011 on 9/7 in Austin, Texas. In addition to being my first time in Austin, I’m looking forward to learning how the startup community is similar and disimilar to the Atlanta community. Austin is like Atlanta in many ways — low cost of living, prominent university, numerous young professionals, and more. Atlanta wins when it comes to metro population, professional sports teams, and airport size but Austin wins when it comes to anchor technology company (Dell), coolness factor (Keep Austin Weird), and events (SXSW and live music).

Here are some questions I’m going to ask people in the local Austin startup community:

  • What things are going well in the Austin startup community and what areas are struggling?
  • What group or organization acts as the heart of the community and what do they do?
  • Which local angels and VCs are actively investing and how many investments have they done in the past 12 months?
  • What local startups are doing really well? Which ones are close to an IPO?
  • What’s the B2B vs B2C startup mix like for the startup community?

These aren’t hard hitting questions but rather the goal is to get a feel for the community and get a feel for what is and isn’t working. I’m looking forward to the trip.

What else? What other questions should I ask and what should I look for in Austin?

5 thoughts on “Questions to Ask at Capital Factory Demo Day 2011

  1. I’ve been in Austin since May. I moved from Eastern Europe. Here’s my take on it:

    Which ones are close to an IPO?
    Homeaway and BazzarVoice (I think HAway went IPO a few weeks ago)

    What’s the B2B vs B2C startup mix like for the startup community?
    Mostly B2B. I kind of get a “focus on building an actual business, rather than flipping it” kind of attitude in Austin, which is why I really love it.

  2. Hi David,

    We’re looking forward to seeing you in Austin! I think those are good questions. I think you’ll get a variety of interesting answers and I hope that you share them.

    There have been something like 7 IPO’s in Austin this year… some of the companies to watch are Bazaarvoice, Boundless,, Dachis Group, Greenling, Gowalla, HomeAway, Hurricane Party, OtherInbox, Ricochet Labs, SocialWare, Spanning, Sparefoot, Spiceworks, Vast, Volunteerspot, WPEngine… and of course the 5 Capital Factory startups this year 😉 I’m sure I’m missing a bunch.

    If I had to pick one, I’d say Austin’s tech niche is “Consumerization of B2B” – taking enterprise software and turning it into more of a SaaS model. There is a push to be more B2C but it would be a stretch to say we’ve had repeatable success there yet. We’re strong in many other areas including enterprise software, gaming, film, music and more.

    I’d also be asking what it is about Austin that is causing so much talent to move here.

    See you next month!


  3. David,
    It would also be great to hear about what organized start-up groups are active and successful. By that I mean Incubators, University backed initiatives like ATDC, or networks of Angels, VC/Angel + Entreprenuer networking groups, etc… I guess another way of asking is: what are the vehicles being used most successfully in Austin to match the start-ups with their investors?

    And I echo Josh’s point about digging into WHY talent is moving there and what we can focus on in the ATL to move in that direction.

    Have fun!

  4. As a Sandy Springs native and now one year Austinite, I think there are some pretty stark contrasts between Austin and Atlanta – mainly culture.

    I’m not sure I can articulate it clearly; but Atlanta has this prevalent “one-upmanship” mentality that just doesn’t exist in Austin. I call it the “country-club” atmosphere. In Austin, startups (and people in general) are more wiling to help each other and make introductions.

    Do you feel the same way or am I off base?

  5. Taylor,

    I can’t speak to whether or not Austin has one-upsmanship mentality, but I can tell that your comment was better than mine, so now I am going to go back and work on a better reply for this post. As a native Atlantan, I am not to be “out commented!!” 🙂


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