Often referred to as “Silicon Hills,” Austin is now home to many big-name tech companies like Tesla, Google, Apple and Oracle — but those aren’t the only companies making an impact in the Lone Star State.
To get a quick pulse of the emerging tech scene, Built In Austin checked in with seven local companies from Living Security to REX Real Estate, Place Technology and more. We asked each company to share what they’re focused on in 2021 and the impact it’ll have on their respective industries.
In 2021, Billd President and CEO Chris Doyle said that the company will be focusing on adding new, innovative products to its portfolio, increasing employee headcount, and navigating the consequences of the pandemic for both employees and customers.
What is one of the most important focuses for Billd in 2021?
At Billd, delivering value to our customers and providing exceptional service to help them grow their business is, and always has been, our primary focus. That doesn’t change from year to year. However, in 2021, we plan to launch new innovative products that will complement our existing product portfolio that will enhance our customers’ ability to take on new, more challenging and more profitable commercial projects.
Additionally, we plan to increase headcount significantly, potentially doubling or tripling our current size. With that type of growth, improving our recruiting, hiring and employee development processes will be critical for maintaining the fun, but hard-working type of culture we’ve built. As companies scale, culture can adapt and morph in many directions, so maintaining our strong culture throughout that growth will remain critical.
Lastly, we understand that COVID-19 will continue to play a role in our country and throughout the world in 2021. We’re continuing to stay focused on helping our customers navigate the challenges they’re facing, while also mitigating the risk we as a business face at the same time.
We’re continuing to stay focused on helping our customers navigate the challenges they’re facing.”
What impact will this have on Billd and your industry?
In construction, payments are painfully slow and cash flow remains one of the top challenges subcontractors and other stakeholders continue to face. Poor cash flow for companies throughout the construction payment cycle can cause major project delays. Additionally, project delays are one of the most costly and unpredictable parts of a commercial construction project.
At Billd, we believe buying materials, advancing payment for your installation crews and incurring normal business expenses shouldn’t put your business at risk and shouldn’t be the reason any of your projects become delayed. Our innovative solution to improving cash flow in construction can, and will, change the dynamics of the entire construction industry to put contractors in control of their own growth. Better cash flow also means taking on more large projects, helping them grow their business. For suppliers, they get paid upfront, eliminating credit risk and opening doors to sell to new customers. And for developers and property owners, more predictability and fewer construction delays for projects will decrease project costs and minimize the risk of investing in new projects.
In 2021, Living Security CEO Ashley Rose said that the company is gearing up to launch its human risk management platform, a program that combines security, behavior and data to provide visibility into human risk and enable proactive decisions that improve customers’ overall security.
What is one of the most important focuses for Living Security in 2021?
The average enterprise has 75 tools in place to protect against cybersecurity attacks, and yet hackers still find ways in, often by taking advantage of a person who didn’t know how to recognize or respond to a malicious email. Better security training is part of the solution, but it only goes so far. In 2021, Living Security is launching our human risk management platform to turn people from cybersecurity vulnerabilities into an organization’s greatest asset in the fight against cybercriminals.
Human risk management combines security, behavior and program data to provide visibility into human risk, produce actionable insights for targeted interventions and enable proactive, predictive decisions that improve the organization’s overall security. With so many employees working from home, the lines between home and work are blurry. Work gets done on personal devices and personal business gets handled on work devices. This puts more pressure on humans to make smart security choices and know how to react to threats. We will be laser-focused on helping organizations measure and automate human risk management in this distributed environment.
Human risk management is the central theme for 2021 and solving for this challenge is going to be critical to the evolution of the cybersecurity industry.”
What impact will this have on Living Security and your industry?
Establishing Living Security as a leader in human risk management propels our mission of leveraging people as assets versus weaknesses in protecting the organization from cybercrime — and it will help move the entire cybersecurity and IT industries forward. We created our company to revolutionize security awareness training, and now we are building on that foundation by tapping into a treasure trove of valuable but disparate data from an array of cybersecurity products.
Through automation and intelligent application of timely and engaging training that empowers employees, organizations can turn human risk into human strength. Human risk management is the central theme for 2021 and solving this challenge is going to be critical to the evolution of the cybersecurity industry.
To better meet the needs of customers, Place Technology Founder and CEO Brandon Metcalf said that the company has deployed a number of platform upgrades that give users the right tools to build flexible forecasts that empower smarter decisions for their business.
What is one of the most important focuses for Place Technology in 2021?
Last year was an incredible year at Place Technology, marked by significant revenue growth and customer acquisition. As we move into 2021, we hope to continue that growth momentum with a core focus on delivering tangible business value to our customers. We’ve deployed a number of platform upgrades that specifically meet the needs of SaaS and professional services companies, arming them with the right tools to build flexible forecasts that empower smarter, more strategic decisions for their business.
As we move into 2021, we hope to continue that growth momentum with a core focus on delivering tangible business value to our customers.”
What impact will this have on Place Technology and your industry?
If we have learned one thing about COVID-19’s impact on financial forecasting, it’s that companies should not solely rely on historical data and past business performance to predict the future. Last year, the financial landscape for nearly every company drastically changed and there is simply no precedent in historical data that can account for new uncertainties businesses now face. A platform that enables fast and flexible forecasting can make a huge impact for companies looking to make critical hiring decisions, streamline revenue, manage expenses and have a realistic understanding of cash flow in 2021.
In 2021, the integrated, data-based emergency response platform is focusing on its expanded partnership with AT&T, which Chief Market Officer Kim Storin said will bring much-needed data to voice-centric call centers.
What is one of the most important focuses for RapidDeploy in 2021?
One of the most important priorities for RapidDeploy in 2021 is our recently expanded relationship with AT&T. This is a focus across our entire company from sales to product, marketing, engineering and implementation.
Together in 2021, RapidDeploy and AT&T will be working more closely together to bring best-in-class cloud technology to 911 agencies, no matter their size or geography.
Together, we are revolutionizing public safety and helping transform voice-centric 911 centers into data-driven organizations.”
What impact will this have on RapidDeploy and your industry?
Our marquee collaboration with AT&T is a huge milestone for RapidDeploy, as it combines our innovative software and technology with the strength of AT&T’s network and geographical sales reach. It enables us to collectively advance 911 performance with data-driven emergency response solutions including analytics, mapping, dispatch and first responder applications.
Together, we are revolutionizing public safety and helping transform voice-centric 911 centers into data-driven organizations.
Thanks to additional funding and its recent IPO, BigCommerce will be able to focus on international expansion in 2021, Chief People Officer Sherri Manning said.
What is one of the most important focuses for BigCommerce in 2021?
International expansion will continue to be a focus for BigCommerce in 2021. Some level of globalization is underway on almost every continent. Specific efforts range from site openings to the commencement of platform sales or related product enhancements to support additional languages and currencies.
With our additional funding and public company status, we are investing in international expansion”
What impact will this have on BigCommerce and your industry?
BigCommerce went public in 2020, so with our additional funding and public company status, we are investing in international expansion. This allows BigCommerce to access new markets and to expand our customer base. Additionally, it’s opened the door to a greater pool of technical and designer channel partners, and we’re excited to partner with them in support of our global BigCommerce merchants.
In 2021, Spycloud is focused on creating new innovations that help customers stay ahead of constantly-evolving criminal tactics, Co-Founder and CEO Ted Ross said.
What is one of the most important focuses for SpyCloud in 2021?
We’re laser-focused on innovation in order to bring new methods for detecting and preventing fraud to market while we’re on the upswing as a company. Innovation can suffer as a company grows, so we’re trying to balance the two.
We’re laser-focused on innovation in order to bring new methods for detecting and preventing fraud to market while we’re on the upswing as a company.”
What impact will this have on the business and your industry?
Even the most careful and sophisticated organizations are vulnerable to cyberattacks, as we saw with the uptick in data breaches, credential stuffing campaigns and successful malware deployments in 2020. Our innovations are centered on direct and effective solutions to help companies and consumers stay ahead of constantly-evolving criminal tactics, avoid fraud losses and any reputation damage that comes as a result.
In order to create a more fair, pro-consumer approach to the industry, REX is participating in a number of lawsuits and attempting to change the industry for the better.
What is one of the most important focuses for your business in 2021?
REX was founded outside of the traditional real estate industry because it’s dedicated to a more fair, pro-consumer approach to the residential real estate transaction. In 2021, REX is continuing to pursue this goal through our involvement in the conversation around public policy and reform.
In addition to working with the U.S. Department of Justice, assisting in its November 2020 lawsuit of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), REX filed a lawsuit of its own. In late 2020, REX sued the state of Oregon over its anti-rebate ban. The state ban prevents REX from rebating to its customers in the state, thus obstructing them from greater savings. The policy is brazenly anti-consumer and REX is proud to take on this fight throughout the new year. REX is also excited about our growth throughout the nation and is anticipating growing our headcount to more than double our current size in the next 12-18 months.
In 2021, REX is continuing to pursue this goal through our involvement in the conversation around public policy and reform.”
What impact will this have on the business and your industry?
The real estate industry has long demanded change, both through technological innovation and public policy and legal reform. Luckily, several ongoing cases in multiple district courts across the country are challenging the NAR, MLS and real estate brokerages.
Three cases filed by groups of home sellers complain of the inflated fees paid to real estate brokers as a result of the industry’s anti-competitive regulations. Two California-based organizations also filed complaints against the NAR for violations of several antitrust laws. REX’s own lawsuit against the state of Oregon seeks to dismantle a law made possible only through industry insiders granted reign over state policy. Most astonishingly, the DOJ’s lawsuit against the NAR demanded real change to their practices.
Litigation against NAR and its affiliates grows at the national and state level, in cases filed by the DOJ and by individuals across states and district courts. NAR’s decades-long reign was enabled by inertia resting in their favor — for the first time, that is changing and American consumers will greatly benefit.