Austin’s Capital Factory joins Google’s Tech Hub Network

May 7, 2014
Austin American Statesman

Austin startup incubator Capital Factory is joining forces with Google to promote technology entrepreneurs


Capital Factory on Tuesday became the eighth North American hub in the Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub Network, which provides startups with funding, access to mentorship opportunities and Google products


“This really is a great step forward for the city of Austin,” Mayor Lee Leffingwell, while donning a Google Glass wearable computer, told a crowd at Capital Factory’s downtown offices Tuesday afternoon. “Austin deserves the honor.”


The move, supporters said, not only adds Austin to a prestigious list of other Google tech hubs, but also can boost local entrepreneurs and be a boon for Austin’s economic development efforts. Other Google tech hubs are in Minneapolis; Chicago; Waterloo, Ontario; Nashville, Tenn.; Durham, N.C.; Denver and Detroit


Last month, Google for Entrepreneurs held its first “Demo Day,” where dozens of investors listened to presentations by 10 startups from the tech hub network. AOL co-founder Steve Case, who was listening to the presentations, made an on-the-spot commitment of $100,000 each to the startups — a $1 million investment, said Google spokesman Gerardo Interiano


With plans underway to launch Google Fiber high-speed Internet service in Austin this year, the latest effort also shows the Internet giant wants to have a strong presence here, said Joshua Baer, executive director for Capital Factory


The move “is recognizing Austin as a technology hub,” Baer said


In the past six months, 71 percent of startups involved with the Google Tech Hub program they have seen a “significant impact” on growth, while participating companies have raised more than $50 million and created 1,200 jobs since becoming members, John Lyman, head of partnerships for Google for Entrepreneurs, said in a blog post about Tuesday’s announcement


“Austin is home to some of the best barbecue in the country, a killer live music scene, and an energy that can match any other city in the world,” Lyman said. “It’s no coincidence, then, that it’s also home to some of the most creative entrepreneurs out there, which is why we’re pleased to welcome Capital Factory, an Austin-based incubator and co-working space for startups, to the Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub Network.”


Lyman said the city’s startup community and engineering talent plus its creativity and eclecticism, “make it the perfect place to expand” the network


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