Since Dell’s founding in the mid 1980s, Austin has been a growing hub for tech companies, startups and entrepreneurs looking to make their mark. The area soon became known as “Silicon Hills,” a nod to California's Silicon Valley, and the rolling hills of western Austin.
Following Dell’s example, some of the biggest names in tech laid down roots in Silicon Hills. Leaders like Hewlett Packard, Intel, Cisco, IBM, Apple, eBay, Oracle and Facebook all established headquarters or offices in the area.
With the University of Texas residing in the heart of Austin and innovation events like South by Southwest (SXSW) setting up shop downtown each year, the city is a hub of innovation and activity. To help you navigate the area and its tech scene, we've put together a rundown of Silicon Hills: which companies call the area home and how to keep up with the latest news and events.
Silicon Hills Tech Companies and Startups
Silicon Hills is the tech epicenter of Texas with 5,500 startups and tech companies calling the greater Austin area home. Being extremely business friendly and one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Silicon Hills is becoming a competing force with Silicon Valley.
The companies of Silicon Hills have been hard at work, bringing in a cool $950 million in collective funding in 2017, with BorrowersFirst alone raising $100 million. To give you a rundown of the space, we’ve broken down the areas with high concentrations of tech companies and startups. Get to know them!
Bordered by the banks of the Colorado River to the south and the University of Texas campus to the north, downtown Austin is the city's business center.
Additionally known for its local establishments on Sixth Street, numerous cultural institutions and housing the Government of the State of Texas, downtown Austin is where the action is. Here's a quick snapshot (by no means a definitive list) of some of the tech companies and startups that have set up shop in the heart of Silicon Hills.
Industry: E-commerce, Software
What they do: BigCommerce provides a SaaS platform by which merchants can build and manage their online stores. Not just for small businesses, BigCommerce is utilized by leading brands like Camelbak, Toyota, Martha Stewart and Gibson.
Industry: Big Data, Software
What they do: Trendkite is a public relations analytics platform for brands and agencies. Used by leaders like Google and Nike, their solutions provide accurate tracking and insights into the impact of public relations efforts.
What they do: Procore Technologies is a cloud-based construction management tool. Used around the world, Procore’s solutions help construction companies build safely and efficiently.
Industry: Digital Media
What they do: Chive Media Group is home to multiple media brands, a non-profit, a streaming channel, an in-house production company and millions of views. Known widely for theCHIVE App, the content machine produces daily humorous articles and photos for more than 30 million users.
What they do: ThousandEyes provides network intelligence technology to companies like Comcast, Lyft, Slack, Digital Ocean and GitHub. Its solutions monitor internal and external network performance to ensure visibility from end-to-end.
What they do: RetailMeNot is an online destination by which consumers can find savings and connect with brands, retailers and restaurants. RetailMeNot has more than 28 million unique mobile visitors and facilitated $4.8 billion in worldwide sales in 2017.
Situated across I-35 from downtown, East Austin is a mixture of old and new. A neighborhood with working-class roots and character, the area is also experiencing an influx of residents, new establishments and companies. This diversity makes East Austin an eclectic part of the city’s history and future.
Industry: Digital Media
What they do: Condé Nast is a leading global media company engaging over 120 million people across digital, video and print. With offices all over the United States, the home of The New Yorker recently opened a location right here in Silicon Hills.
Industry: Marketing Tech
What they do: Sumo is all about helping companies grow their site performance. Compatible with multiple platforms like Wordpress and BigCommerce as well as email services like MailChimp and HubSpot, Sumo’s tools increase site shares, traffic and track success.
What they do: Handsome is a design agency for web and mobile apps, providing user experience, visuals and product strategy to companies of all sizes.
Industry: Food, News + Entertainment
What they do: Tastemade is a content platform and global community for travelers and food lovers. Founded in 2012, Tastemade has audiences in more than 200 countries and some two billion monthly views.
Industry: Sports, Media
What they do: FloSports is a subscription-based sports media and events company. Starting out with just a few sports and events, Flo now covers everything from basketball and football to racing and grappling.
What they do: Rocksauce is a mobile studio creating stunning designs for better user experiences. Working with all kinds of brands, Rocksauce creates aesthetics and apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.
With populations rising and prices joining in, businesses and residents have flocked to other parts of the city, specifically Southwest Austin. With lower prices and more space for companies to stretch out, it’s a growing new hub for Silicon Hills innovation.
Industry: Big Data, Software
What they do: Vyopta provides companies with a system to monitor and support their collaboration networks. Its solutions supply insights to enterprises, enabling them to improve user experience and optimize collaboration.
Industry: Adtech, Mobile
What they do: Adaction Interactive is a mobile app company that works with app developers, publishers and brands to increase engagement, sales and downloads. Just a few of the brands working with Adaction include eHarmony, Yelp, Poshmark and Tinder.
Industry: Security, Software
What they do: NSS Labs helps enterprises reduce the operational burdens and address critical gaps in their cybersecurity efforts. Companies like Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Phillips 66 all trust NSS Labs.
Industry: Software, Big Data
What they do: DrillingInfo provides a SaaS platform to monitor price movements, manage risk, understand market trends and identify underperforming assets in the oil and gas industries.
What they do: TurnKey offers thousands of vacation rental properties in over 50 U.S. destinations. Whether you want to golf in Palm Springs or enjoy a historic home in Cape Cod, TurnKey offers easy booking, 24/7 support and even local recommendations.
Industry: Green Tech, Retail
What they do: TreeHouse is a home improvement retailer providing materials to promote sustainability in the home. Keeping design and function in mind, TreeHouse ensures clean looks that increase efficiency around the house.
North MoPac and The Domain
North MoPac and The Domain are retail and business hubs situated along Mopac Expressway (Loop 1). The north side of Austin is home to some of the big names like Amazon and IBM. Here are some other major players in the space.
What they do: Blackbaud makes tools and software solutions for non-profit organizations. With a comprehensive suite, Blackbaud covers everything from financial and customer relations to onboarding and donor management solutions.
What they do: Bazaarvoice is a SaaS platform that leverages social media into a marketing tool for global brands. Retailers and brands like Macy’s, Pepsi and Austin-based YETI all use Bazaarvoice to connect with potential customers.
Industry: Travel, E-commerce
What they do: Homeaway is the leading vacation rental marketplace for those just wanting to get away. Through HomeAway, travelers browse destinations and rental owners manage their listings and bookings.
What they do: Q1Media uses location-based device targeting to provide companies with ad and media campaign data. Its technology utilizes GPS to locate ads and gain valuable consumer insights.
Industry: Internet of Things, Software
What they do: CCC Information Systems expedites the claims management process for insurance carriers, auto manufacturers, repair shops and part suppliers. CCC gets drivers back on the road faster and more cost effectively after accidents.
What they do: Social Solutions lives up to its name, providing software solutions for social service organizations. Its platforms are used by organizations and nonprofits working in services for children, victims and the homeless, among others.
SoCo is a neighborhood nestled just south of LadyBird Lake and the Colorado River and is named for the highway it resides on, South Congress. The area is well known for its art and music scene, variety of retailers and restaurants, and its famous congregations of food trucks. In addition to the eclectic establishments dotting the neighborhood, tech companies and startups are also included. The following companies are a few that have put down roots in SoCo.
Industry: Professional Services
What they do: Adia connects employers with temporary staff for retail, marketing, customer service and hospitality work. Through the platform, employers can plan shifts, communicate with staff, approve time sheets and more.
Industry: Retail, Mobile
What they do: Shelfbucks is an in-store digital platform for merchandising optimization. Shelfbucks also provides retailers with additional marketing opportunities, encouraging shoppers to engage with merchandise.
Industry: Green Tech, IoT
What they do: Curb is a home energy monitoring system that hooks into home breaker boxes to monitor all electrical use. The device connects to the Curb app, providing energy insights and consumption data in real time.
What they do: Worksmith provides a platform for businesses to connect with local service providers. Founded in 2015, the service works with restaurants, healthcare, office spaces, retailers and salons. Worksmith’s impressive list of clients includes Coach, J.Crew, Bonobos and Tory Burch.
Industry: E-commerce, Transportation
What they do: UShip is a transportation marketplace for freight, vehicle shipping and household products. The service cuts costs on shipping big items by connecting customers to providers with extra truck space.
Industry: Big Data
What they do: Clearhead is all about enhancing customer experiences for leading brands with its Problem Solution Mapping framework. The company's solutions include design, research, analytics, experimentation, personalization, testing and learning consultations.
As Silicon Hills matures into a major tech space, multiple publications are keeping tabs on the comings and goings of entrepreneurs, startups and tech companies. The following sources keep Silicon Hills informed on all things tech.
Silicon Hills News is a digital tech news source covering central Texas with a focus on Austin and San Antonio. The site features recent startup and tech company happenings and events.
512 Tech is an online division of the Austin American-Statesman daily newspaper. The online news source covers a variety of tech topics, local startup companies as well as SXSW.
Austin Business Journal features top business news for a variety of industries including technology. In addition to news, the online source covers industry awards, companies and prominent people in the business space.
We couldn’t forget ourselves, of course. Built In Austin keeps the tech community informed, covering fundings, office culture, companies hiring and local events.
SXSW is well known for its arts, music and film festivals but it has so much more to offer. The festival boasts conferences and events revolving around tech and innovation, connecting entrepreneurs, startup founders and established empires.
InnoTech Austin is an annual event covering a range of topics like IT Leadership & Strategy, Women in Tech, Cloud Technologies and a variety of others.
To find general postings for local tech events around Silicon Hills, check out our Built In Austin Events page as well as other tech event listings like Tech Events Network, Austin Tech Happy Hour and ATX Live.