A fast glimpse of one locale from our list of the top ecosystems
1. Austin and San Antonio, Texas
Elon Musk made a huge deal when he moved his Tesla empire to Austin at the end of 2020, but the area was on the fast track of startup growth long before that. Austin is the home of companies such as grocery chain Whole Foods and job-listing website Indeed. About 80 miles south, the city of San Antonio is encouraging entrepreneurs to solve city-identified problems. It’s also home to major colleges and universities, so its talent pool is bountiful. The area is ranked number one because of its combination of high startup rate and low cost of living. It’s no wonder some are calling it the “next Silicon Valley.”
Events and Meetups:
There are plenty of small meetup groups that range from niche to broad, such as Austin Hardware Startup Meetup or Feminist Hack ATX, in Austin, or the San Antonio Entrepreneur Meetup Group in San Antonio. There’s also Austin Startup Week, a 5-day event that showcases startups and brings entrepreneurs together in the city, powered by Capitol Factory. The city also hosts the annual South by Southwest festival, which attracts close to 500,000 people to the city.
The Founders Institute, a national incubator, published a detailed guide of Austin on its website with more resources, including incubators and accelerators for each level of development. There’s a more detailed list of San Antonio resources on entrepreneur resource and information group FundingSage’s website.
Restaurants and Gathering Places:
Several coworking spaces create communities for entrepreneurs, such as Cubes on the Quonest or Geekdom in San Antonio. Entrepreneurs tended to gather at coffee places around Austin before the pandemic, such as Houndstooth and Radio Coffee, according to Maria Brown-Spence, the program manager at the city’s Entrepreneur Foundation. The Domain area in Austin is also a popular location for entrepreneurs, she said.
Austin is near multiple lakes, such as Lady Bird Lake and Lake Travis. Mueller Lake Park, in the northeast, holds food truck events with live music. People tend to walk their dogs in the areas and have picnics, Brown-Spence said. In San Antonio, you can hike the Leon Creek Greenway, or bike the Salado Creek Greenway on the northwest part of the city. Or, visit the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, a nine-mile path through historical missions.
— Skyler Rossi