The entrepreneurial spirit is still very much a part of the Austin Texas business philosophy and we have the accolades to prove it. Entrepreneur magazine has ranked the University of Texas at Austin among the top 10 on its list of Best Graduate Programs for Entrepreneurs and the Wall Street Journal named UT’s Executive MBA Program the 12th best among business schools.
The Austin Technology Incubator the University of Texas’ IC2 Institute the Central Texas Angel Network the Austin Technology Council and Capital Factory – a technology incubator program in which companies apply for cash support and mentoring sessions with experienced successful and local entrepreneurs – have all made it possible for young companies to be successful.
The Daily Beast has ranked Austin Texas seventh on its America’s Smartest Cities list and it’s that range of talent and ideas that have made Central Texas one of the top targets for venture capital investment in the country. In fact one of the largest venture investments in the country in the last eight years was made in an Austin-based company – vacation home rental site HomeAway.com – which received $250 million in venture funding in November 2008.
Prime investment sectors in the last several years have included biotechnology business products and services computers and peripherals consumer products and services electronics/instrumentation financial healthcare and IT services media and entertainment medical devices and equipment semiconductors software networking and related equipment retailing and distribution and telecommunications.
Austin Texas is also home to several nationally known companies that have their roots firmly planted here. GSD&M Idea City a national advertising agency founded in 1971 by six University of Texas students that is now owned by media giant Omnicom had billings of more than $1 billion in 2010. Whole Foods Market Inc. the world’s largest retailer of natural and organic foods is also based here. Founded in 1980 and consistently named among FORTUNE magazine’s annual Best Places to Work list the company had sales of more than $10 billion at the end of fiscal year 2011. And Dell Inc. founded by Michael Dell out of his University of Texas dorm room in 1984 reported a 16 percent increase in revenue growth to $61.5 billion at the end of fiscal year 2011.