There’s a reason why Austin has been named the top tech city in the US in 2019 and 2020 by CompTIA. With the sheer number of startups, talent and investment funds within Austin or moving to the city, it is no surprise that the number of individuals relocating to the area continues to increase. To give a high-level snapshot of the activity in just the investment community alone this past June, ATX Venture Partners closed a $150M fund, 8VC filed with the SEC regarding plans to raise an $880M fund and Mainsail Partners, a growth equity fund based in San Francisco, is planning to open an office in Austin this September (Source: AustinInno). And these groups are not the only ones; it seems like every day we are seeing news of new and established firms closing capital in Austin.
It’s no surprise investors are choosing to come to Austin. The city was ranked number 6 on CBRE’s Tech Talent Report in 2020 out of 50 North American markets and is home to 5,500 startups. Not to mention notable tech giants such as SpaceX and Oracle coming to the area. With giant players such as these calling Austin home and the ripe talent pool, it certainly creates a recipe for a creative and innovative startup ecosystem.
I had the privilege of sitting down with one of the leaders driving edtech innovation in Austin’s vibrant tech community, Ruben Arias, CEO & Co-Founder of Beereaders, to discuss their business model and traction as well as why the city’s startup ecosystem was a perfect fit for their needs.
Beereaders, a member of gener8tor’s inaugural 2021 cohort of the OnRamp Education & Workforce Innovation Accelerator with ECMC, is a digital platform that promotes literacy skills among K-12 Spanish-speaking students using adaptive learning and authentic Spanish content in a game-like environment.
Ruben relocated to Austin from Chile in early 2020, prior to the start of COVID, after receiving the opportunity to join the International Accelerator with Beereaders. Texas was a top target for the company with the large Spanish speaking population and the growing startup ecosystem. Since arriving in Austin last year, Beereaders has seen impressive results from students using the platform. Beereaders not only helps students to improve their reading comprehension, the company also guides students to improve their learning behaviors, which builds stronger learning habits and improved retention of content. After just 6 hours of usage, students can improve their reading comprehension scores by 11%, and not only are students improving their reading comprehension, they are also having fun while reading! 85% of students say that reading with Beereaders is more engaging than reading with other platforms or materials and 75% of teachers would recommend the platform to their peers.
Beereaders is helping to drive the future of education through their software platform and is being recognized for it, having been one of the startups recently selected for the Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition Prize. Beereaders is one of the many examples of amazing founders and leaders continuing to build the impressive and diverse tech hub that Austin has become. But Beereaders is not alone, Austin is also home to fellow portfolio companies within the gener8tor platform including from gener8tor’s OnRamp Insurance Accelerator in partnership with Allianz Life and Securian Financial: Rocket Dollar and Truelytics. Each of these startups receive investment of up to $100,000 and access to gener8tor’s global network of mentors and investors to take their business to the next level.
Austin’s fruitful investor community and talent pool continue to make it an intriguing spot for startups to launch and scale. I look forward to seeing the continued growth of the community and these startups helping to drive this innovation!