32 UT Austin alumni who founded major Austin tech companies

Written by Tessa McLean
Published on Feb. 25, 2016
32 UT Austin alumni who founded major Austin tech companies

Austin universities are renowned for producing top-tier tech talent and entrepreneurs. Amongst the wide selection of institutions, The University of Texas at Austin has produced graduates who have made early and sustaining contributions to Austin tech. From MBAs to degrees in History and Literature, these Austin grads used the knowledge they gained in college to create some of Austin's top startups:


Matt Chasen: uShip.com

The idea for uShip was hatched in 2002 when Chasen moved from Seattle to Austin and was frustrated with the process. Today, it's the world’s largest transportation marketplace primarily serving the freight, household goods and vehicle shipping markets. In 2011, Matt received the prestigious “Rising Star” Award from the University of Texas, which recognizes professional success of its extensive network of alumni. Chasen has both his MBA and a degree in engineering from UT Austin. 



Josh Alexander: Toopher

Alexander graduated with a degree in Finance and went on to found Toopher in 2011. The company was selected to present as a finalist in the mobile technology category at SXSW's Accelerator Program in the same year. It was acquired by Salesforce in April 2015, where Alexander currently acts as Director of Product Management.


RelatedYour Guide to the Best Companies to Work for in Austin


Antonio Arocha: Nuve

After graduating in 2009 with a BA in both computer science and government, Arocha started working on Nuve, which sells a sensor system that tracks and secures cargo while it's on the move. The new technology based on sensors, a cloud-based platform and a mobile application allows the asset management industry to better protect, control and monitor their property.


Mark Floreani: FloSports

Floreani is cofounder and COO at FloSports, where he oversees the sales operations, customer support and live production of all FloSports events. Mark started the company out of a van with his brother Martin. He was an All-American track star at the University of Texas, while earning a BA in economics. 

Adam Salamon: Perk

Salmon is the cofounder of Perk.com, a rewarded engagement platform bringing together the interests of advertisers and consumers to deliver insights and actionable results. He created the company in 2010 after working as director of business development at Socialware from 2010 - 2011, and as partnerships director at Bazaarvoice from 2008 - 2010. At the University of Texas, he earned his BA in political science and Middle Eastern studies.



Michael Garel: eyeQ

Garel is founder and CEO of eyeQ, which allows brands the ability to enhance their in-store shopping experience with interactive digital content, while also providing them with the online style monitoring and influencing tools they need to drive incremental sales. He earned his MBA at UT Austin's McCombs School of Business in 2013. 

Stephen Goodwin: Edgecase

Goodwin co-founded Edgecase (formerly Compare Metrics) in 2010. He has a B.S. and Master's degree in Computer Science. He previously worked as a software developer at both Indeed and Microsoft. He has since left Edgecase. 

Mateo Gutierrez: Mat & Kitchen

M&K is a subscription website Gutierrez founded in 2013, where members pay $32 per month for a new 30 minute workout every three days and access to 300+ recipes. He received a Master of Fine Arts in New Media from UT in 1999.

Tim Hamilton: Praxent

Having founded Praxent over 15 years ago, Tim is actively involved in the strategy and operation of the firm with a passion for perfecting the process of software development and building a world-class culture. He has degrees in MIS and Economics from UT Austin.

BJ Heinley: Dipity, Bear James and others

Heinley is the CEO and Founder of Bear James, a company that designs media and interactive experiences for kids and families. He formerly designed for Yahoo! Kids and Yahoo! Games until the company eliminated them to cut costs. Since then, Heinley has launched a variety of creative entities and web properties, including Dipity, a tool for quickly building interactive timelines for online storytelling. He earned his degree in Fine Art, Studio Art, Graphic Design in 1994.

Travis McCollum & Ed Hemphill: WigWag

Hemphill founded WigWag with Travis McCollum in 2013. Both men are graduates of the UT Austin McCombs School of Business and former colleagues at LifeSize Communications, a video conferencing product maker acquired by Logitech in 2009.

Cam Houser: 3 Day Startup

As CEO of 3 Day Startup, Houser helps teach entrepreneurial skills to college students in a hands-on environment. More than 8,700 3DS alumni from 132 programs in 18 countries have launched more than 90 companies, raised $85 million in investor capital, and received acceptances to 34 accelerator programs. Houser is also a professor at McCombs, where he earned his MBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship in 2010.



Divakar Jandhyala and Ranjit Nayak: eVapt

eVapt, was born out of the work these two founders did while earning their MBA's at McCombs. The software startup was acquired by MagnaQuest in 2009. Jandhyala is currently CTO & CIO at the American Achievement Corporation and Nayak is Principal Product Manager at Oracle. Both founders received their MBA from McCombs and Nayak also holds an engineering degree. 

Brad Knox: Emoters Robotics

Founded in 2015, Emoters is developing simple pets that happen to be robots. Knox has conducted research at UT Austin and MIT on the control of robots and other agents, machine learning (reinforcement learning in particular), human-robot interaction, and computational models of human behavior for cognitive science research. He received his Ph.D in Computer Science in 2012, in addition to his master's and post-baccalaureate.

Charlie Leonard: Cybernance

While attending UT to earn his MBA, Leonard founded Scalar Security, a cybersecurity research and consulting firm. He then cofounded Cybernance, a platform to help corporate boards and executive managers protect themselves against liability from cybersecurity breaches.

Gardner Marshall Mundy: CarServ

As Founder and CEO of CarServ, Mundy leads the cloud-based software platform for communication in the automotive repair industry. The company began in the Techstars Austin accelerator program this month. He received his J.D. in 2015.

Jagath Narayan, Sangram Kadam & Naruby Schlenker: Ordoro

Narayan, Kadam and Schlenker launched the software provider for e-commerce merchants right after earning their MBA's from McCombs. They serve as CEO, CFO and CMO respectively. 



Marc Nathan: T-Squared Agency

Nathan founded the hybrid digital agency T-Squared to support clients with growth strategy and funding resources. He also is the founder and publisher of 
Texas Squared Startup Newsletter, a weekly email that discusses news, opinions and events for the Texas startup and technology ecosystem. He earned his B.S. in Radio, Television and Film in 1999. Nathan is also a Capital Factory mentor.

Daniel Nelson: Datical

Prior to Datical, Daniel was Founder and VP of Products at Phurnace Software. Nelson earned his BA in Psychology and an MBA. In 2010, Daniel was honored with the Rising Star Award from the McCombs School of Business. He is no longer with Datical.





Roj Niyogi: Perk

Niyogi founded Perk.com, the shopping rewards platform, in 2012 and has since founded two other companies that act as divisions of Perk: Appsaholic, whose tools reward app users for watching ads, and Corona Labs, which builds games and other apps. He graduated with a degree in Biology in 2003.

Erik Norwood: CURB, Inc. 

In 2011, Norwood founded Curb, a suite of devices whose sensors and software harness energy usage data to help consumers make their homes more efficient. As a staunch supporter of STEM education, Erik has led multiple initiatives to help students develop a passion for solving problems with technology. He earned an MBA from the McCombs School of Business.

Rick Orr: TabbedOut & RealSavvy

Orr founded TabbedOut in 2009, pioneering a movement to allow restaurant patrons to open, view, split and pay tabs with a smartphone while providing merchants with a rich CRM to better understand and engage their customers. He also founded RealSavvy, a Pinterest-like real estate bookmarking tool, and currently acts as CEO. Orr also acts as an advisor to many Austin startups including Favor and Aceable. He holds a B.S. in Architectural Engineering.

Rena Pacheco-Theard: Prepify

Prepify is a source for free online SAT test prep for aspiring college students. Pacheco-Theard founded the company in 2014 to narrow the opportunity gap between socioeconomically disadvantaged students and their more privileged peers. She has an M.P.Aff. in Social and Economic Policy.

Michael Pierce: Equipboard

As an aspiring musician, founding Equipboard was a natural step for Pierce. The online database of instruments and gear used by popular artists appeals to musicians and fans alike. Pierce earned his MBA from McCombs in 2006.

Jason St. Peter: DRAFT

St. Peter graduated from McCombs with an MBA in 1998. He is the co-founder and COO of DRAFT (formerly hrvst), an online portfolio management tool for consumers. He also holds a Master's degree from UT in Technology Commercialization.

Tyron Stading: Innography, Inc. 

Stading founded Innography in 2006 with a vision of redefining the intelligence/analytics landscape. He is also an active mentor to entrepreneurs and startups. He has a MS in Technology Commercialization from The University of Texas at Austin.

Chris Treadaway: Polygraph Media

Treadaway founded Polygraph Media in 2011. The Austin-based company helps companies optimize social advertising campaigns with data science. He earned his MBA from McCombs in 2004. 





Henry Yoshida: Honest Dollar

Yoshida launched Honest Dollar during SXSW in 2015 with Whurley in an effort to make the investment process more transparent. He received his B.A. in Political Science from UT Austin. He is no longer with Honest Dollar but currently mentors at Techstars Austin. 

This article has been updated to include people we regretfully omitted. 

Hiring Now
Information Technology • Internet of Things • Mobile • On-Demand • Software