September 6 – 10, 2011, marked the first Austin Startup Week. The ultimate goal of Startup Week was to create an environment that encourages startups, developers, marketers, college students, investors and tech enthusiasts to check out ATX. Hundreds attended, including the Space Cowboys from the Rackspace Startup Program. During the week of events, startups had the opportunity to pitch their businesses at various venues within the Austin city limits. Startup pitches were witnessed at various events including WeSTART, the Austin Startup Bazaar at the Austin City Hall, and The Next Fest. Private investors, venture capitalists and angel investors attended the pitch sessions in volume hoping to catch a glimpse of the next big thing.
The Rackspace Startup Program had the chance to attend the biggest pitch session of Austin Startup Week with the third year of Capital Factory’s Demo Day held at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. Capital Factory is an early stage accelerator program for tech startups that provides a small amount of seed capital and weekly mentoring sessions by entrepreneurs who have founded successful companies. It’s a 10 week summer program for entrepreneurs from five companies with over 20 mentors. Capital Factory’s goal is to get the startups pointed in the right direction with a clear path to profitability and growth.
Capital Factory’s Class of 2011 included Storymix Media, a fun and affordable wedding video alternative that has already achieved press on ABC, Helpjuice which assists companies in updating the knowledge base on their websites, and SpeakerMix, an online marketplace that helps event planners find and book great speakers. Storymix Media, Helpjuice and SpeakerMix are all using Rackspace Cloud hosting for their companies. Rounding out the 2011 finalists are SwimTopia, a web-based application that helps manage swim teams and groupcharger who created its first web application, AlumniCharger, which helps alumni associations increase donations by increasing involvement.
Demo Day with Capital Factory also included a fast pitch session in the afternoon which allowed 18 Austin startups to pitch their companies in front of a room full of entrepreneurs and investors. Some of those companies included The Daily Dot, Forecast, Copperegg, Greenling, hoot.me, info chimps, OwnLocal, NightRaft, Ricochet Labs, Stormpluse, and VolunteerSpot. Directly following Demo Day was the Startup Crawl sponsored by the Rackspace Startup Program. Locations for the crawl included the Omni Hotel, Infochimps, HomeAway, Uship and Conjunctured.
What a week it was for startups in Austin. The community gathered together for five days of events where mixing and mingling with your peers, meeting new people, and making awesome things happen was the order du jour. Austin Startup Week was something to behold and Rackspace is proud to be involved with the Austin startup community. When it comes to the startup community, you will find the Space Cowboys working side by side with Bootstrappers, Accelerators, Universities and VCs in cities around the globe. After all, we’re a startup, too! Learn how the Rackspace Startup Program is supporting the future of startups and how your company can get registered today.