Love this Article about John Price

Scott Francis
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(On the heels of the Apple Comes to Austin post… ) Forbes has published a great article about John Price and Austin:

Trilogy reached about $15 million in sales in 1994 and Price was concerned that it couldn’t grow anymore because Austin lacked sufficient talent. So. Price started Trilogy University — a program to recruit top technology talent to Austin from around the country.

In the next five years, Trilogy invested millions to recruit  ”over a thousand kids to Austin out of the top 20 technology programs in the U.S.” Trilogy reached about $250 million in sales with 40% margins and then fell apart after the dot-com bust. But because Trilogy’s CEO, Joe Liemandt, held on to much of the stock, those Trilogy workers did not become wealthy.

But they left Trilogy hungry and that hunger helped fuel them to start and take public two Austin-based companies — HomeAway (AWAY) and BazaarVoice (BV). And thanks to those IPOs, the Trilogy Alumni network finally has liquidity.

And because they left Trilogy around a very tight set of dates, the network effects have been strong.  I was one of those first college recruits back in 1994, a class of five of us from Stanford and a few more from UT.  At the time I was making an adventure decision – Trilogy was more of a gamble and adventure than the jobs I was considering in the Bay Area. But after living in Austin for a few years, my decision to stay in Austin had more to do with lifestyle and culture and a sense of home.

John was instrumental in attracting the talent from universities – he’s passionate about technology and about everything he tackles, and that enthusiasm is contagious. He touched a lot of young careers in his time at Trilogy.

The article mentions HomeAway and Bazaarvoice, but could have also mentioned a series of other companies:

  • Convio
  • Callidus
  • Lombardi
  • Motive
  • Broadjump
  • Waveset
  • Whisper Wire
  • Crimson
  • Vast
  • Spredfast
  • Mass Relevance
  • ITKO
  • Hirestarter
  • Clutch Creative
  • Thinktiv
  • Oceanus
  • Expero
  • Adlucent
  • Socialware
  • Otherinbox
  • SkyList
  • Capital Factory
  • Indeed
  • Broadway Technology

And many more, including BP3.  Austin doesn’t need to rival Silicon Valley, but we have something special going on here, and the startup common is showing serious signs of life. More liquidity is going to lead to lots of interesting startups in Austin down the road.

  • Jean B.

    Indeed.com had a bunch of Trilogy people, and Broadway Technology has a pretty large Austin presense.

    Also, there is a small network of services companies that can also be traced back to alumni, from marketing to accounting services.

    • Good catch – added those two – and you’re right – lots of services companies that spun out of Trilogy from legal to marketing to accounting, and beyond! :)