5 Austin Companies Worth Watching This Spring

by Taylor Karg
March 24, 2021

This spring is shaping up to be an exciting one for the Austin tech scene. Across the city, tailwinds are gaining speed while companies gear up for a quarter of new opportunities. 

Take brand success platform Loomly, which is focusing its efforts on scaling operations — in terms of both its team and its infrastructure — to keep up with major industry shifts to e-commerce and remote work. 

And Studio X, an innovation incubator, is rethinking current methods of working and workflows in the energy exploration space. The goal? Provide necessary resources to foster faster and more efficient exploration. 

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about the innovation, growth and development happening across the city, Built In Austin caught up with leaders at five local companies. They filled us in on their plans for the future and the impact of their work — on both their business and the industry proper. Here’s what they had to say. 


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Sara Yakin
General Manager, Orchard Home Loans

What is one of the most important focuses for Orchard in the coming months?

At Orchard Home Loans, our biggest focus is hitting our rapid growth goals while continuing to deliver a great customer experience. “Creating raving fans” is one of our company values, and we are committed to delighting our customers, even as we expand the business rapidly. We’ve developed a service that puts the customer first — we find the best loan options to fit a customer’s financial goals, and help them understand all the steps and costs involved in the mortgage process along the way. 

To deliver a great service, you need a great team and a great company culture. I’ve never worked alongside people who are so devoted to our customers, and Orchard’s culture of ownership really empowers them to go above and beyond. 


What impact will this have on the business and your industry? 

Orchard Home Loans, in partnership with its affiliate Orchard, is focused on simplifying the way people buy and sell their homes. For the average American, this process is drawn out over many months, and filled with uncertainty and hassles along the way. To help solve this problem, Orchard has reimagined this experience by focusing on ways to make it fair, straightforward and easy.

Traditionally, homeowners looking to purchase their next home face a stressful and uncertain process — they have to either sell their old home first and move twice, or buy as a contingent buyer and risk not getting their dream home. From providing customers with innovative home search tools to providing the ability to buy a new home before selling a current one, Orchard is committed to making one of the biggest life decisions — the purchase of a home — less intimidating.


Lucas Curfman
VP of Product Management

What is one of the most important focuses for Arrive in the coming months?

Over the next several quarters, our team will be deploying a key set of personalization features in our proprietary Transportation Management System (TMS) that will deliver an experience to our users tailored to their everyday work. This will greatly reduce the amount of effort it takes for every user to do their jobs with all of the relevant data, everything from pricing to customer history and predicted costs, in a seamless UI that notifies or alerts on key events that require their attention and are prioritized according to their role in the business.


What impact will this have on the business and your industry? 

In the freight industry, the saying “time is money” could not be more true. There is a very linear relationship between the volume of shipments a brokerage like ours is capable of moving and the number of people we have on our team. That’s where we have been changing the approach to growth in our space, developing a sophisticated co-pilot with our TMS to enable our teams to move and cover more freight faster, with a better price and a better customer experience than any other broker on the market. Our mission is to be the smartest, most efficient freight brokerage powered by technology, and delivered by our people.


Paul Genberg
Interim CEO & Head of Product

What is one of the most important focuses for Studio X in the coming months?

The global energy transition will span decades and require unprecedented collaboration between policymakers, leaders from business and non-governmental organizations, and consumers. Studio X is focused on innovating the current ways of working and existing workflows in energy exploration — providing the technology, tools, community and resources necessary to nurture ideas and redefine the world of exploration.


What impact will this have on the business and your industry?

Emerging technologies and collaborative tools are opening new pathways to working faster, smarter and more efficiently. Studio X is focused on bringing new solutions to the exploration sector with its products: XCover, Xeek and SixLab.

XCover is connecting geologists to flexible, remote exploration projects, Xeek is crowdsourcing solutions by launching prize-winning challenges at the nexus of data and geoscience, and SixLab is a no-strings-attached incubator for entrepreneurs and startups by providing access to world-class mentorship, resources and facilities to help shape the future of energy.


Thibaud Clement

What is one of the most important focuses for Loomly in the coming months?

As a brand success platform that empowers marketing teams to streamline collaboration, Loomly lies at the intersection of two major digital transformation trends. The first is a shift from brick-and-mortar to online for many small and medium businesses and the second is a transition from office meeting rooms to remote collaboration for larger organizations. Our most important focus is to scale operations, both on the team side (we are hiring four new team members) and on the infrastructure side, in order to absorb this growth seamlessly.


What impact will this have on the business and your industry? 

As far as the business is concerned, we just achieved $5 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and we are looking to reach $10 million in ARR within the next 12 months, sustaining the triple-digit yearly growth rate we have been experiencing since the inception of the company in 2016. 

As far as the industry is concerned, we are on a mission to define new standards in terms of marketing collaboration, particularly cross-functional collaboration, which is the secret weapon of the most successful brands. Just like engineering teams collaborate on GitHub and product teams collaborate on Invision, more marketing teams collaborate on Loomly every day (8,000-plus at the time of writing these lines).


Ben Johnson
Founder and CEO

What is one of the most important focuses for Spruce in the coming months?

Spruce’s vision is to change how people live in their homes. In five years, we will be the most trusted provider of home services in the United States. We’ve built our network of service providers by partnering with local businesses and providing them with the tools and resources they need to scale their operations in today’s tech-enabled service economy. 

Over the next few months, Spruce will focus on developing and enhancing our service provider platform with proprietary logistics, routing and scheduling tools to solve our partners’ most pressing operational challenges, like capacity management and smart staffing. By helping our providers increase their efficiency, we are able to offer our consumers more accessibility and convenience and, ultimately, a better experience.


What impact will this have on the business and your industry?

Gig workers might be well-suited for jobs outside the home, but a different level of trust and care is required for jobs inside the home. Spruce’s model of working with local businesses brings a higher-quality worker and service to our customers. Moreover, we enable small businesses to grow and compete in the new economy, which has left many SMBs behind in recent years. For the end consumer, we want to make finding dependable help with everyday chores more accessible. Instead of paying for an expensive comprehensive cleaning, you can hire Spruce to just wash your dishes or do your laundry.


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