This article first appeared on Built in Austin.
Austin’s startup culture blew up about five years ago when SXSW became less about the music and more about tech. In 2016, startups here grew faster than anywhere else except for Washington, D.C., increasing by 81.2 percent.
But the tech sector was part of Austin’s ecosystem long before #startuplife blossomed, with Dell breaking ground in the 1980s, followed by a series of software companies launching throughout the 90s. Those companies continue to thrive today.
We caught up with leaders from RateGenius, DrillingInfo and Zilliant — which all launched in 1999 — to learn more about how they remain competitive in a job market heavily influenced by young startups.
Zilliant’s President and CEO Greg Peters said that whenever someone joins a tech company, there is an assumed risk tied to the market, technology and execution of the product. However, Zilliant, with its AI-driven B2B customer relationship platform, has proven its technology to an emerging market over the years and is backed by an experienced management team. That lowers the risk substantially.
In a sea full of “sexy” startups, how does your team attract recruits?
At Zilliant, we’re squarely focused on our customers: global B2B companies. Our employees have deep pre-Zilliant experience solving the unique challenges our customers face. Roughly 65 percent of our current employee base has expertise related to AI and machine learning. Considering the caliber required to deliver the best possible results, our best recruits come from good old-fashioned referrals and traditional recruiting channels.
How has your company played a role in the growing Austin tech community?
Given our tenure here, many of our employees have gone on to hold leadership positions at both well-established and start-up tech companies. We actively support the Austin tech industry and charitably contribute to the community to keep it thriving.
What would you like to see happen in Austin tech over the next 5 to 10 years?
I’d like to see Austin tech continue to thrive. A continued increase in capital availability would allow the city to take advantage of the great ideas springing up.