The Future 5 of Austin Tech, Q2 2022

These emerging startups might be working on the next big tech innovation.

Written by Jeff Rumage
Published on Jul. 07, 2022
The Future 5 of Austin Tech, Q2 2022

Sure the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.

In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In has launched The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. You can check out last year’s round-up here.

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While big funding rounds tend to dominate tech news headlines, there are many emerging players in the Austin tech world who are self-funded or in the early stages of funding. 

Adding to our list of Future 5 startups from last quarter, Built In Austin is celebrating the close of the second quarter by highlighting another five early-stage companies that have not yet raised a Series A funding round. Read on to learn about these companies in our Future 5 round-up.

BUILT IN’S FUTURE 5 UP-AND-COMING Austin STARTUPS, Q2 2022

  • Chipper (Fintech)
  • Eggschain (Blockchain)
  • Kiro Action (Hardware)
  • Onuu (Fintech)
  • Reflex (Gig Economy)

 

Those who stopped making student loan payments during the pandemic will soon have to resume payments when the student loan payment moratorium lifts in August.

Chipper, a student loan platform launched by entrepreneur Tony Aguilar in 2018, made its platform free during the moratorium, attracting tens of thousands of people who tried to get ahead on their payments.

When the moratorium lifts, non-paying users can continue to sync their student loans with the platform and explore forgiveness and payment options. Chipper’s platform charges $4 per month for those who want to auto-enroll in loan forgiveness or repayment programs, as well as a feature that rounds up everyday purchases to the nearest dollar for student loan payments. Users can also access the round-ups feature on its own for $2 per month. 

read more about chipperChipper Helps College Grads Tackle Student Loan Debt

 

Wei Escala is a Web3 evangelist who believes the immutability and decentralization offered by the blockchain could be used to provide a more secure and accessible way to store reproductive health data.

Escala is the founder and CEO of Eggschain, which holds the patent for tracking the chain of custody of biospecimens on the blockchain. While Eggschain is primarily focused on reproductive health, Escala said the Eggschain platform — and its patent — extends to biological specimens of all types: organs, tissues, blood, stem cells, DNA, RNA and more.

Eggschain has partnered with the Yale School of Medicine and Boston IVF Fertility Clinic for the removal and storage of the biological specimens.

read more about eggschainEggschain Hopes to Lead Healthcare Into the World of Web3

 

Kiro Action founder Sam Haytham describes his company as “a social good enterprise masquerading as a for-profit company.”

The startup manufactures and delivers flat-packed materials that can be assembled into a flexible housing structure within four hours. Haytham, who won the Best Bootstrap award at the SXSW Pitch Contest this year, initially developed the flex structures as a temporary housing solution for Austin residents without a home. 

The homes will be used to temporarily house people experiencing homeless in four cities later this year, Haytham said. In one of the cities, a corporate sponsor bought 50 shelters, which will be donated to nonprofits to provide housing for veterans experiencing homelessness.

Haytham hopes the flex space structures can be used to house migrant farm workers and people who have been displaced by floods, wildfires and other natural disasters. The structures are also sold to individuals who need an extra office or workout space at home.

read more about kiro actionInside an Austin Startup’s Plan to Tackle Homelessness With Flex Shelters

 

Onuu is a fintech platform that uses machine learning to offer personalized life insurance and banking products based “on you” and your data. The platform also provides AI-powered financial literacy advice from a guide named Candi, a tribute to the late grandmother of co-founder Felix Ortiz III.

Ortiz said he wants to open up lines of credit to people who traditionally wouldn’t qualify. Onuu’s credit cards offer an unrestricted credit line of $500 to $5,000 with interest rates as low as 19.9 percent.

Onuu is able to offer favorable credit card terms, Ortiz said, because it has its own warehouse line of credit that is underwritten by a machine-learning-powered financial security score. The startup also offers a term life insurance product that guarantees eligibility.

read more about onuuOnuu Wants to Improve Financial Products for Underserved Communities

 

Mike Meyers believes the retail labor shortage is not a reflection of people not wanting to work; it’s a reflection of people wanting more flexibility in their work.

Meyers is the co-founder and CEO of Reflex, a website where local retailers post open shifts that need to be filled. Experienced retail employees who step up to fill the shift are paid within a matter of days.

Reflex has partnered with a number of Austin businesses, including some national brands, on South Congress Avenue, at The Domain and in Bee Cave. With $4.5 million in new seed funding, Reflex plans to expand statewide this year and enter other new cities over the next 18 months.

read more about reflexReflex Believes Flex Workers Can Solve the Retail Labor Shortage

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