In 2015, Forbes pitted Austin and Silicon Valley against each other as the best hub for startups. Though Silicon Valley is home to notable companies like Google and Apple, it’s an expensive place for a business to establish its roots. Meanwhile, Austin offers many of the same tech and business benefits as Silicon Valley — without the high price tag.
Could Austin Become the Next Silicon Valley?
Between 2001 and 2013, Austin saw a 41% increase in tech-industry employment. It’s expected that Austin will provide more than 11,000 new tech-related jobs within the next five years. While Silicon Valley has become one of the most expensive housing markets in the United States (with the median home price hovering around $2.3 million), Austin has remained relatively cheap (where the median home price is around $310,000).
Among these benefits, experts have seen numerous advantages to the Austin startup scene. Some of these include:
- Lack of a personal income tax
- A strong tech community
- Thriving downtown scene
- Few land-use and zoning restrictions
- Better traffic/fewer traffic jams
- 120 Austin newcomers every day
- An unemployment rate of 3.2%
- Anti-regulation and pro-business legislature
- Texas incentive programs near $19 billion per year
- Easy public transportation
While the Forbes article concluded that Austin is “unlikely to ever become a serious contender to the Bay Area’s throne,” it’s clear that it should rank high on the list for any entrepreneur or startup. Whether or not Austin could become the next Silicon Valley, it’s been pegged as a “smaller, friendlier place to do business.” With its emphasis on smart growth, it doesn’t look like that will be changing anytime soon.