Austin Startups SXSW Texas

SXSW: Joshua Baer Delivers The Texas Startup Manifesto

joshuabaer-sxsw-panel-top SXSW: Joshua Baer Delivers The Texas Startup ManifestoCapital Factory Founder Delivers The Texas Startup Manifesto, Powered By Union at SXSW 2018

Entrepreneurs, startup founders and startup ecosystem participants from across the state flocked to hear Capital Factory Founder Joshua Baer at SXSW Interactive on Friday in his session entitled The Texas Startup Manifesto, Powered By Union.

The busiest man in startups in Austin already had a full plate as SXSW 2018 kicked off. Around 11am, Linda McMahon, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration stopped by the Capital Factory to see the  facility and hear pitches from local entrepreneurs. Baer is no stranger to hosting top ranking guests in the world of startups (and even small business). A few years ago the Capital Factory Hosted President Obama. Earlier this year they hosted both Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (but not on the same day). That was just one of the highlights of Baer’s presentation, a 40 minute snapshot into the thriving startup ecosystem across the state of Texas.

In the beginning of the session Baer chronicled some of the successes at The Capital Factory, a hybrid coworking, acceleration and incubation space he founded nearly a decade ago. We remember back in 2011 The Capital Factory only took up the 16th floor of the Omni building in downtown Austin. Today, just about every space not inhabited by hotel guests is inhabited by founders, entrepreneurs and a good supply of software developers.

Baer has also had Capital Factory join Union, the platform that connects, startups, entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and alumni together. The Union platform was created by CEO/Founder Evan Burfield, the founder of 1776 DC and designed specifically for accelerator/incubator models.

For Capital Factory, The Union Platform helps manage

  • Community Directory
  • Office Hours
  • Conference Room Bookings
  • Events
  • Online Contests
  • Discussions across the Capital Factory community and all of the other communities within Union, including 500 Startups. 

Baer raised the Capital Factory in a model all his own back then, now the model is being replicated at some of the bigger startup facilities across the country. But even with their Friday evening ATX Startup Crawl, that hosted over 20,000 people, Baer’s true attention in this particular SXSW session was the state of Texas as a whole.

There’s a startup leader in just about every state nationwide that touts why their ecosystem is the biggest and the best. There are so many good startup ecosystems out there, but when Baer stands up and tells the room that Texas is consistently the #1 or #2 state for startup activity in the Nation, there’s data to back that up.

Austin, home to SXSW and the Capital Factory is consistently the fastest growing city in the country, surpassing even Nashville’s 100 people a day moving to town. Austin is the home to the second largest Apple headquarters in the country, a large Google headquarters, Facebook headquarters and of course Dell, who Baer credited for being a key player in the early formation of Austin’s tech and starutp culture.

No more than a few hours away though are two of the top 10 cities in the country, Dallas (#9) and Houston (#4) both cities have enormous startup ecosystems and thriving startup culture. Rounding out the four major startup hubs in the state of Texas is San Antonio, home to RackSpace another company that’s been instrumental in spreading startup culture nationwide.  Both Dallas and Austin are in the top 4 for places Amazon is considering for their second headquarters. A new high speed train will bridge Dallas and Houston in 45 minutes making it possible to work in either city and live in the other. All the while companies, entrepreneurs and startups continue to move to Texas.

A lot has changed since the days the Capital Factory opened it’s doors. While Baer admitted to taking things cautiously and slower in the beginning, to date they’ve helped thousands of startups in-house, hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs including those that attend Capital Factory events and have over 250 companies in their portfolio. Today Baer is preparing to launch a second official Capital Factory location in Dallas and he’s become the catalyst for startup activity statewide. The Capital Factory is hosting the $100,000 challenge which selects one startup in each of the four cities for a $100,000 investment.  The winners of this contest so far have been:

  • Austin, Kiss & Tell
  • Dallas ShearShare
  • Houston: GroupRaise

In the near future Baer is looking forward to more talent, more startups, more corporate headquarters, more international connectivity, more investment dollars, more transportation options across the state of Texas. He believes this will come because

“Investors go where the startups are. Startups go where the talent is, the talent is moving to Texas and has been for many years” Baer said.

Check out the Capital Factory here.

Nibletz is the #1 Google News Source for Startups at SXSW and the SXSW Accelerator. Find all of our coverage, here. 

  • Rodney Sampson

    Good post on Josh’s work. For accuracy, the $100,000 challenges were specifically designed to fund Black and LatinX founders and hats what Josh did. You may want to update that in your narrative as it’s important that Josh is on board to do work that increases the authentic diversity of the ecosystem as a reflection of the browning of America.