When The Next Bubble Bursts, Will Austin Feel It?

Recently there’s been speculation that the next tech industry bubble is about to burst. But whether you consider this a likely event in Silicon Valley, it is also important to consider how outside markets like Austin would be impacted.

In a recent study by Forbes, called America’s Next Boom Towns, Austin has once again earned first place for growth and growth potential. Forbes cites that “Austin has become the nation’s superlative economy over the past decade.” So it’s not just the relaxed atmosphere, live music scene and killer food? Sure, that’s some of it. This huge culture draw has helped to separate Austin from the rest by drawing a major influx of young college educated professionals to the city. But Austinites also recognize that our growth isn’t just due to the culture here or the continued growth in tech over recent years.

We have always known that other factors like the state government and university systems have historically helped to build a foundation for our economic growth. Austin has recently been able to add Formula 1/COTA and X-Games to its annual event line up along with the ACL music festival and SXSW.

Other businesses such as the Austin Convention Center and the related hotel industry growth have also recently helped to create more jobs to handle all these extra visitors. Growth comes in many forms.

So, now back to tech. It’s huge here and compared to the old days when there were only a few major tech employers like Dell, AMD, and Motorola, Austin has become much more diversified with more small and mid-sized tech businesses, including a thriving start up community. That’s a lot more places for people to land if things get rough.

After the tech bubble burst about 15 years ago, investors fled the Austin market, but over the last several years, investment has been very strong. In a recent MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association, covered by SiliconHills, Austin grew 20% in venture capital in 2015 with $780 million in funding to 99 companies such as TrendKite, Sparefoot, and Phunware. Half of all that capital in Austin went to software companies. All this investment allows companies in this area to hire more workers, invest in new equipment and ramp up product development and marketing.

The major tech players haven’t gone anywhere though. Growth within the major brands in tech manufacturing & services is still strong with other big players like IBM, Samsung, and Flextronics increasing their footprint here. Oracle even announced in December that it would build a “massive” 560,000-square-foot campus along Lady Bird Lake in East Austin to focus on cloud computing technology, securing a 295-unit apartment building nearby to house some of its workers.

And yes we are playing our part. Just has hired six new employees in Austin in the last six months, opening new larger offices and with plans to continue aggressive growth.

What’s your opinion about Austin’s growth? Let us know what you think.

Luke Bone
Just Media, Inc.


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