With their roots in Haight-Ashbury, Hollywood, or NYC’s star-studded residents, what is more than evident is that innovative cities are the result of creative communities that draw appeal to the region while reminding entrepreneurs and investors that they too can take the same risks that creatives and artists take by putting themselves out there. No more has that been more evidently established than in the recent startup and tech boom of Austin, TX.
Major bookend events start and wrap the cultural appeal of Central Texas, with SXSW in the spring and the year winding down with Austin City Limits in October. October, not coincidentally, has long been Austin’s hottest month for entrepreneurs, not because it’s as hot as the Austin summer but because October usually hosts Austin Startup Week (now pushed to November), numerous demo days, incubator cohort launches (we’re taking applications!), and more – this season finds itself popular well beyond Austin, with San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas, celebrating the cooler weather and potential in innovation and venture capital.
As if to further submit proof in evidence, 2022 will see Austin mature from Startup Week, with the launch of Austin Venture Fest, thanks to the incredible work and community of the Austin Venture Association.
Austin City Limits 2022
Before I explain Austin Venture Fest, let me clarify my cultural correlation.
Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival is an annual music festival held in Austin’s Zilker Park on two consecutive three-day weekends. Inspired by the KLRU/PBS music series of the same name, the festival is produced by Austin-based company C3 Presents, which also produces Chicago’s Lollapalooza (if you’re curious why Chicago’s startup ecosystem is starting to boom). The festival was inspired by the show with which you might not be as familiar, Austin City Limits, which first aired in 1975; the pilot was shot on October 17, 1974, and starred Willie Nelson. A bootstrapped look and feel in what’s thought to be a deliberate lack of production slickness, but with attention to audio quality, pleased the known-to-be-shy red headed stranger. Lead Marketer Ken Waggoner, and ACL creator Bill Arhos pitched the pilot to PBS to be part of its 1975 pledge drive. The show’s success as a fundraiser for PBS was enough for Arhos to get ACL green-lighted – ACL is why you KNOW Austin and how the city became widely known in the United States as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” The show has gone on to incredible acclaim as the only television show to receive the National Medal of Arts, which it was awarded in 2003, and the rare Peabody Award in 2011 “for its more than three decades of presenting and preserving eclectic American musical genres.”
October witnesses the Austin City Limits Music Festival
This year, its star-studded lineup includes headliners Paramore, Lil Nas X, P!nk, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Chicks, SZA, Kacey Musgraves and Flume. Scheduled to take place over October 7-9 and October 14-16 at Austin’s Zilker Park, this year bands will play across 9 stages with headliners joined by Diplo, ZHU, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Billy Strings, Wallows, Jazmine Sullivan, Tobe Nwigwe, The War on Drugs, Spoon, Conan Gray, Goose, Oliver Tree, Lil Durk, James Blake and Phoenix.
Austin Venture Fest
With early strategic and financial supporters, we’ve co-produced a first event series of its kind— but don’t forget to check out the local *tiny music festival – Austin Venture Fest rolls right into each weekend– CS Freeland; Co-founder and Executive Director of Austin Venture Association
I LOVE the vision underlying Venture Fest because it resonates so much with our mission to develop startup ecosystems throughout the world, venture development, by recognizing the critical role of a diverse community of people, perspectives, and organizations, all supporting the risks taken by entrepreneurs and creatives, “Austin investors. We don’t just fund startups, we help power the startup ecosystem. We don’t just focus on returns, we’re major contributors. We don’t just benefit from our city, we build the region.”
Two weeks focused on venture growth.
Kicking off October 4th and running events through October 14th, Austin Venture Fest blends Austin’s incredible culture with the impactful community of collaborative venture investors, programs, and entrepreneurs.
Venture pitches, DJ battles, workshops, coffee meetups, wine tastings, investor nights, dinner parties, private events, poker, workouts, podcasts, happy hours, venture crawl… and one big, Texas-sized brunch. Plus, the little music festival to end both weekends.
A couple of the notably media-oriented events during Austin Venture Fest, reinforce the critical role of MediaTech in developing a startup ecosystem: creating awareness, informing audiences, and drawing attention. In much the same way that the entertainment side of a city draws appeal and encourages risk tolerance, media in your startup ecosystem is critical to anything working well.
1. Venture Pod Day
THURS, 11 – 4pm
See your favorite Austin podcasters live and in-person for some tweet-worthy interviews with Austin startup investors.
2. DJ Ventures
FRI, Oct 14, 7-10pm
From pitch decks to DJ decks, see who in Austin’s investor and startup scene can spin up some serious vibes. This is the place to be when the beat drops.
As of this moment, 30 organizations working together to make October in Austin even more meaningful; MediaTech Ventures of course busy with our own feet on the ground and getting together to develop this ecosystem to be even greater than it already is.
Involved besides myself and CS Freeland, get to know Alex Aitchison, Cherie Werner, Cory McKane, Framroz Bankwalla, JD Weinstein, Julianna Giraldo, Marisa Vickers, my good friend in Founder Institute, Martin Martinez, Matt Saitta, Michael Marra, Pat Moody, Seena Vajed, Tanner Cerand, Umar Brimah, and Zach Feinberg, reach out and connect – these are your super connectors and community builders volunteering to turn Austin’s startup community into a Venture Fest.
Austin Venture Fest is not a formal conference, it’s ideas from the startup community and from organizers who want to try out, to test, a different type of meetup or event. It’s not a buttoned-up conference, it’s a series of activities with a focus on the impact and potential of Austin’s venture community.– CS Freeland
Austin City really has no limits. Creatives drive culture and culture drives innovation and entrepreneurship – Austin City Startups -> Austin City Ventures.
Want to get involved or help? If you have a venue, event to plan, if you already have an event in October (let’s add it!), or would sponsor to make even more of Austin Venture Fest, feel free to join MediaTech Ventures here and message me, or share interest with the Venture Fest team here.