On the Subject of Austin Entrepreneurship

Scott Francis
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[Author’s note: In a continuing series of posts on startups, and startups in Austin – we’ll detour briefly from BPM and address entrepreneurship.  Of course, there’s a lot to learn from entrepreneurship that can be applied to a kind of intrapreneurship that happens in BPM programs, but we’ll leave that for future posts… ]

Lauren Modery makes an excellent point along the way in her article on CultureMapAustin – that Austin entrepreneurship isn’t just about high tech.

In less than three years, Goodpop has gone from being a UT grad’s homemade invention to a polished product distributed in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. You can find Goodpop in your favorite Whole Foods, Central Market or HEB. All of this was achieved by the hard work of two twenty-something men, Daniel Goetz and Andrew Kurland.

She goes on to talk about Genius (a gin company), and she didn’t even mention the plethora of Tequila and other beverage startups (some of which have grown beyond startup stage).  I think of companies like Sweat Leaf Tea, Greenling, and several local restaurant franchises. The presence of Whole Foods, healthy eating, local liquor stores, and nightlife venues has made these food and beverage startups more appealing to Austinites.  They know where the marketing dollars need to go – and how to test their market of customers and middle men.

Tech isn’t the only game in town!

And on that topic, how about the local restaurant entrepreneur scene- and an article on a new restaurant, and expanding other local franchises – Austin Java, Little Woodrow’s, and now Umami Mia Pizzeria. It’s impressive what these guys have done with their brands (they also operate Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que, Texadelphia, Austin Chill, and my favorite, Ski Shores).

“The recession did hit and hurt, but we were very smart and made sure we made it through,” Engel said. “Now it feels like Austin is just on fire again. We were smart to wait and watch. We’ve got a bunch going on that will add jobs and tax revenue.”


The three new restaurants will open from midsummer through the fall. Umami Mia Pizzeria will occupy the former space of Romeo’s Italian Grill & Bar at 1500 Barton Springs Road. Meanwhile, Austin Java will take over space in Tarrytown at a neighborhood center at Windsor Road and Exposition Boulevard. Little Woodrow’s will occupy the former Nelson Pruitt Insurance building at 5425 Burnet Road. All three spots were leased.

 And beyond that news item, There’s Paul Qui, winner of Top Chef, and a great number of food-driven “startups” (aka restaurants) popping up in Austin.  The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Austin!

(and it looks like restaurants can be a hot commodity outside of Austin too – as Starbucks is reported to buy a French Bakery in northern California.)

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