Capital Factory


During our recent trip to South by Southwest, we took a behind-the-scenes (and behind-the-books) tour of Capital Factory, the largest start-up incubator and accelerator in Austin. Scroll through for an Instagram-style look at the city’s bustling technology center.


17 Startups at Capital Factory’s Demo Day

During Austin Startup Week, Capital Factory held a Demo Day for more than 100 investors, according to Joshua Baer.

The event featured 17 Austin startups.

“It’s always one of my favorite days of the year,” Baer wrote in his weekly Startup Digest newsletter.


Capital Factory to expand startup investing

Capital Factory plans to take a 2 percent stake in Austin's best technology startups.
The downtown tech incubator and co-working group has raised $2 million of a $9 million fund to invest in nascent technology companies.

To date, it has invested in 40 startups but plans to reach at least 50, Capital Factory co-founder Josh Baer said Thursday at the group's annual "Demo Day" when the startups make pitches to angel investors.

It’s Austin Startup Week – when the technology community invites people to visit to see why they should start their business in Central Texas. But is Austin a legitimate tech hub?

KUT’s Laura Rice put that question to Joshua Baer – the founder and executive director of the tech startup incubator Capital Factory.

Capital Factory's Accelerator program launched in 2009 with a mission to help incubate local start-ups by providing funding, resources, and perhaps most importantly, access to experienced mentors from across Austin's technological and entrepreneurial community. The inaugural class contained five companies that debuted that fall with presentations at Capital Factory's Demo Day.
By 2012, the number of companies presenting had risen to over a dozen, and the company now hosts two Demo Days a year: one in March to coincide with South by Southwest and one during Austin Startup Week in October. As the fifth annual fall Demo Day approaches, we're taking a look back at some of the most interesting and promising companies among Capital Factory's eclectic alumni.

You can get a pretty good view of the big business buildings' rooftops in Downtown Austin from the 16th floor of the Omni Hotel. If you're lucky and walk into the kitchen at the right time, there's usually free barbecue, too.

It's on that floor you'll find Capital Factory, Austin's Easy-Bake Oven for tech start-ups – small companies founded on little more than an idea and sound wi-fi. More than 150 such companies office within the 25,000-square-foot co-working space, and some 400 workers plug in. "Entrepreneurs" is what the space's Managing Director Joshua Baer calls them. He's started six different companies himself.

Ambiguities around the new regulations for crowdfunding and general solicitation for startups aren’t preventing Joshua Baer, founder of the Capital Factory in Austin, from starting his own syndicate on AngelList, the top website for young companies seeking early investment.


The State of Austin’s Tech Scene

In the ongoing discussion about how Austin stacks up against Silicon Valley, which sometimes feels like a promising adolescent boy eyeballing how he might turn out relative to his all-star older brother, Capital Factory’s Josh Baer said something that should have been definitive: “Silicon Valley is a unicorn. There’s not going to be another Silicon Valley.”

But it wasn’t definitive. And the discussion goes on. The question of whether Austin would ever catch up with Silicon Valley opened a TeXchange panel discussion about the state of Austin’s Tech scene Tuesday night. Panelist Morgan Flager, a partner at Silverton Partners, who grew up in Silicon Valley pointed out a fundamental difference between the two places: that being “laid back” is not considered a virtue in Silicon Valley.

Eight companies pitched to a crowd of more than 100 potential partners, investors and others at the Co-founders Meetup at Capital Factory Monday night.
Jason Brown, a game designer with many Microsoft games to his credit, is working on games to help autistic children interact. From moving a spaceship up and down by smiling or frowning to mirroring games with “smiley” faces that have various facial expressions. He’s gotten positive feedback from both teachers and parents on the games.

Daniel Senyard from Vivogig explained the new sponsorship platform his company is creating for its app and website that allow people to share photos of bands on social networks. The sponsorship platform would connect companies looking to sponsor specific bands or performances with discounts on the company’s goods and services. Points and discounts can be earned by followers of the band who share the band’s photos.


The 10 Hottest Startup Incubators

Capital Factory likes the number 20. Startups accepted into the program receive a $20,000 investment, another $20,000 worth of perks (think legal and web-hosting services) and round-the-clock access to 20 mentors. In return, Capital Factory gets a 5% equity stake in each company. Founder Joshua Baer co-teaches “One Semester Startup”, an entrepreneurship course at the University of Texas in Austin.

It’s not a stretch to say that Alex Smith pretty much lives at Capital Factory.

The 21-year-old entrepreneur, who is working on his second software company, typically shows up at 10:30 in the morning and leaves at 4 a.m.

Just last month TechStars made it public information that they were branching out to Austin Texas. While it was news for them, it wasn’t that surprising for everyone in Austin; in fact most business field individuals were wonder why it took them so long to land there.

According to public information, Austin is a known area for startups; much like Kitchener Ontario Canada, Silicon Valley, and the newer Lafayette, IN. Therefore, it’s a little odd as to why TechStars hadn’t branched to Austin sooner. But according to TechStars they only wanted to go there under certain circumstances, and this included an invitation from the community. CEO, David Cohen, made it clear that the team wanted to wait until the time was completely right.

Who out there wouldn't love free money, free groceries, a free apartment for a year in one of the coolest cities in the country and relocation expenses all paid by someone else? Five founders of emerging Internet companies competed in Capital Factory's "Move Your Startup to Austin for Free at SXSW." Capital Factory is an Austin-based company that helps tech startups become entrepreneurs.

The 2013 South By Southwest Interactive event is likely to bring hundreds of smart, plucky startups to Austin, Tex. next month, but co-working space/accelerator program Capital Factory wants at least one to stick around.

Capital Factory is inviting startups to enter into its “relocate to Austin” competition for a shot at getting a relocation package worth up to $50,000.

If you think that the only way to have access to a team of proven entrepreneurial mentors while building your startup is to join an accelerator, you’re wrong. A new breed of ecosystem-as-a-service companies is providing a place for entrepreneurs to work together and learn without forcing them to give away equity in exchange for investment. A new 22,000 square foot facility in Austin, Texas, is providing entrepreneurs with a place to work and learn for as little at $150 per month.

Capital Factory is located on the 16th floor of the Austin Centre complex at 701 Brazos Street. The facility is managed by Cospace, a popular coworking program that has already assisted more than 20 startups grow using its workspace and educational programs.

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce is teaming with veteran business investor and mentor Joshua Baer to create an ambitious tech startup campus downtown.

The startup center, called Capital Factory, opens today in 22,000 square feet of space on the 16th floor of the Austin Centre complex at 701 Brazos St.

Baer founded Capital Factory in 2009 as a fast-paced startup accelerator program designed to get young companies up and running and learning about attracting investors.

One thing that didn't vary at Capital Factory's 2011 summer boot camp was the work schedule.

"It was seven days a week, 16 hours a day," said Mike Fisher, whose Chicago startup, Storymix Media, was one of five companies chosen from a pool of 300 applicants to participate in the camp run by the Austin tech incubator. For 10 weeks, Fisher and his wife and co-founder, Ariane, spent their days — and many nights — taking part in the annual mentoring program, which was founded by a group of Austin entrepreneurs three years ago.


A Lesson from Demo Day: It’s Personal

Congratulations to Josh Baer and his colleagues at Capital Factory for mounting a very successful Demo Day on September 7. A capacity crowd of about 300 in the ATT Center Amphitheater on the University of Texas campus seemed to be about evenly divided between entrepreneurs and investors. The latter included individuals from around Texas, the West Coast, and Atlanta. There was enough money in the room to fund all the 22 deals on display, and that’s a very positive mix. One investor commented to me that this was the best such presentation day he had attended, and I know he’s been to plenty. The five capital factory graduates were highly polished in their morning 8-minute pitches, and the afternoon gang of 1-slide, 3-minute presenters made for a more interesting format than I anticipated. They got their points across.

The Rackspace Startup Program had the chance to attend the biggest pitch session of Austin Startup Week with the third year of Capital Factory’s Demo Day held at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. Capital Factory is an early stage accelerator program for tech startups that provides a small amount of seed capital and weekly mentoring sessions by entrepreneurs who have founded successful companies. It’s a 10 week summer program for entrepreneurs from five companies with over 20 mentors. Capital Factory’s goal is to get the startups pointed in the right direction with a clear path to profitability and growth.


Inside Austin’s Capital Factory 2011 Demo Day

It was an absolutely perfect day in Austin this past Wednesday, a temperate and breezy 89 degrees. The kind of day that seemed ripe with possibilities. Austin’s startup community gathered en masse at the University of Texas to hear the pitches from the five companies debuting out of Capital Factory, Austin’s summer startup accelerator. The vibe there was optimistic, and full of energy.


Capital Factory’s Demo Day 2011 #DD11

This is the third year for Demo Day, and the third year I was fortunate enough to be in Austin and able to take time out from BPM to attend. Josh Baer’s signature event has been refined each year. Two keynotes book-ended the startup pitches – Bob Metcalfe, now of UT; and Brian Sharples, CEO of HomeAway.


Meet Capital Factory’s 5 graduating startups

Austin, Texas’ answer to TechStars or YCombinator shows off its graduating class of startups today (plus 15 other companies) as the third year of the Capital Factory accelerator program comes to a close. While you can view the live stream starting at 7 a.m. PDT/10 a.m. EDT, I went out last week to interview the startups at the Capital Factory office in downtown Austin to give readers the scoop before the event.

The LAUNCH team live blogged the Capital Factory Demo Day, from the opening keynote to the five Capital Factory startup pitches to the final talk on recruiting talent. Our profiles of the summer 2011 class: StoryMix, GroupCharger, SwimTopia, SpeakerMix and HelpJuice.


AustinStartup» Capital Factory Demo Day 2011

Today marks the 3rd Capital Factory Demo Day! About 300 investors, entrepreneurs, and press have shown up to see the five companies that have gone through the program this year. Watch the live stream here!

Here is a brief summary of the five companies that went through the program this year.


Start It Up

Start-up businesses got bullied in the public eye of the late Nineties as the boom faded into a bust. The prevailing notion was one of snot-nosed kids with too much money riding Segways around their "thinkspaces" (what the rest of us call offices). The very notion of venture capital might seem antithetical to today's chilly economic climate, but there remain individuals and organizations looking to get on at the bottom floor of a business that – fingers crossed – may be about to make a rapid ascent. But where does one find these rough diamonds? From Sept. 6 to 10, many of them will be right here for the inaugural Austin Startup Week.

Capital Factory sets up shop in Austin, Texas, from the end of May to the beginning of August each summer. The program is capped by a demo day with 250 investors in September. For the 10 weeks of the program, each team receives $20,000, office space, and brand and logo development as well as accounting, banking, help with PR, and legal aid. In exchange, Capital Factory asks a 5 percent equity stake. Capital Factory prides itself on the mentors it makes available to participants, including SKYLIST founder Joshua Bear, founder Jeremy Bencken, and Smart Bear founder Jason Cohen.

A number of new startup accelerator and incubator programs have popped up lately, a response no doubt to the success of the Y Combinator and TechStars programs and the success of the programs' participants. At some level, many of these programs offer similar features: networking, mentoring, office space, and funding. Many of these new programs are modelled on YC or TechStars, but that doesn't really guarantee their success. So in order to help entrepreneurs have a better understanding of which programs were really worth the time and effort, Aziz Gilani from DFJ Mercury, working in conjunction with Tech Cocktail and the Kellogg School of Management, undertook a research project to actually rank the accelerator programs in the U.Some of the results of his research were made available today on Tech Cocktail, and although the details of the methodology and the findings won't be released until later this summer, the initial results and rankings are interesting nonetheless.

There are a number of startup accelerator and incubator programs in the United States. We are fans of these programs (not to be confused with pure co-working spaces) as they offer entrepreneurs a way to spend a few months laser focused on a single idea. Through the accelerator or incubator they receive mentoring, guidance and a small amount of funding in return for a small stake in the company. With all the startup accelerator programs popping up across the country we were curious to find out which programs would offer the biggest bang for the time, money and effort spent in the program.


Why Capital Factory?

The application deadline for Austin-based Capital Factory‘s 2011 program is Sunday, and momentum for tech startups and entrepreneurship in general are riding high as the SXSW Interactive festival wraps up. Signs of the frenzy include an increase in Startup Buses from one to six this year, a busload of MBA students from Michigan who are out to networks with startups, and recent tech investor Ashton Kutcher making an appearance at the Foursquare party. With the number of technology accelerators on the rise, the most frequent question I get asked is how Capital Factory is different from other programs. I posed this question to FamigoGames co-founder Q Beck. “One difference we found very important is the fact that the program mentors are also the investors in the fund, and they’re active practitioners themselves,” Q told us. “With only 5 companies in the program, and 20 mentors you get some very hands-on advice and a lot of attention compared to other programs we looked at.”


Capital Factory startups meet expectations

Capital Factory, a 10-week business accelerator, was designed to teach young entrepreneurs how to refine their business plans. And organizers of the summer program that graduated its second crop of five companies earlier this month said their own plans have turned out pretty much as they anticipated.

Two years and 10 startups after launching Capital Factory, its founders are finding that the companies that have gone through the program are meeting their expectations. Meanwhile, they’ve found that attracting enough mentors has gotten easier as the program progresses, although the amount of time mentors are spending with budding entrepreneurs has been a mixed bag, founder Sam Decker said.f time mentors are spending with budding entrepreneurs has been a mixed bag, founder Sam Decker said.


Five Austin Startups Launch at Capital Factory

Today in Austin, Texas five companies launched as part of the Capital Factory startup accelerator program. The program, which was founded in 2009 by Joshua Baer, an email marketing pioneer and founder of OtherInbox, Sam Decker, Chief Marketing Officer at Bazaarvoice, and Bryan Menell, founder of, offers up to $20,000 in cash as well as a 10-week mentoring program with a select group of successful entrepreneurs.

Online self-storage marketplace SpareFoot Inc. has received a $2 million round of financing. Austin-based SpareFoot, which was founded in 2008, received the funding from eight investors, according to a filing today with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. SpareFoot was one of the five startup companies that completed the 10-week incubation program at the Capital Factory last summer.

When hundreds of startups applied to be in this year’s class at Capital Factory, which runs a 10-week accelerator program during the summer for early-stage tech startups, the people choosing the five selectees were looking less at their companies’ ideas and more at the people responsible for making them work.

The Capital Factory has selected three Texas companies and two out-of-staters for the second season of its summer business incubator program.

The 10-week Austin-based program, which begins its second season in June, provides participants with up to $20,000 combined with guidance from 18 entrepreneurs. The program concludes with a demo day in September when the companies present their business plans to professional investors and fellow entrepreneurs at the University of Texas

It's graduation season on college campuses and that means lots of young minds are eagerly awaiting the freedom of summer vacation. But for the young entrepreneurs participating in this season's various startup incubators, the tough work is still ahead. Capital Factory, an Austin-based early-stage startup incubation program, has announced the five companies invited to attend their summer program and in doing so has disclosed a tip that helped the finalists to be selected.


20 Cool Business Incubators

Spun out of university research labs or started by local entrepreneurs trying to supercharge their hometowns, business incubators are everywhere. This map puts the spotlight on 20 initiatives.

While many people in the tech world only make the trek to Austin, Texas once a year for SXSW, the city has a fairly sizable startup community. Now Austin is getting its own Y Combinator-esque program, dubbed Capital Factory.

As with other similar programs, Capital Factory offers entrepreneurs a modest amount of funding in exchange for equity (the program is offering ‘up to $20,000′ in exchange for 5% of each startup). Capital Factory is also advertising ‘$20,000 in free stuff‘, which includes server usage, PR support, and legal help. But the real value from these programs comes from their associated mentors, who work with the startups to help them get on their feet, and help tap into their established networks of VCs and other entrepreneurs.

Silicon Valley may have the most established and well-known startup incubator in the form of Y Combinator, but other areas are joining in, with TechStars in Boulder, Colo., Launchbox Digital in Washington, D.C., and Start@Spark in Boston, Mass. — and Austin, Texas is getting into the game with Capital Factory.

Applications are now open for its first batch of startups; the firm says it will be selecting 10 finalists, then narrowing the list down to the winners in mid-April. Those winning startups will receive $20,000 in cash, $20,000 worth of “free stuff” such as IT infrastructure and hosting, and access to 20 mentors including serial entrepreneurs, investors, and attorneys. Since the application deadline is little more than a week away (11:59pm Pacific on April 3), I thought I’d email co-founder and co-managing director Joshua Baer a few questions about the program. (Baer is also the founder and chief executive at email organization startup OtherInbox).


Capital Factory is looking for startups

Capital Factory — the tech incubator launched last year by a group of Austin entrepreneurs — has put out a call for startups for its 2010 program. Five companies will be chosen for the intensive mentoring program. In exchange for a 5 percent stake in each startup, Capital Factory will provide up to $20,000 in investment; in-kind services, including office space, legal counseling and public relations support; mentoring from Austin tech executives and a 10-week summer boot camp.


Capital Factory: Austin-Based Incubator

We spoke recently with Joshua Baer and Bryan Menell of Capital Factory, a technology incubator/accelerator based in Austin, Texas. Capital Factory puts on an intense 10-week summer program that gives participating startup companies up to $20,000 in cash, more than $20,000 in free services, and mentorship from a group of successful entrepreneurs…

Capital Factory, Austin’s attempt to recreate the success of technology incubators such as YCombinator and TechStars, today announced the five startups it has chosen to invest in and mentor as part of its inaugural session. The startups will receive $20,000 as a direct investment, $20,000 of in-kind services, and 10 weeks of mentoring from Capital Factory’s group of entrepreneurs. Capital Factory was created this year to support and boost Austin’s startup and technology community. Below are the five finalists chosen from more than 300 applicants to the program:


Capital Factory incubator chooses five startups

Capital Factory, an early-stage incubator that provides its annual class of startups with up to $20,000 each, mentorship services, office space, legal counsel, public relations and accounting support, has announced its 2009 selections. See those chosen from 250 applicants are internet and mobile companies aimed at making consumers’ lives easier.

Silicon Valley may have the most established and well-known startup incubator in the form of Y Combinator, but other areas are joining in, with TechStars in Boulder, Colo., Launchbox Digital in Washington, D.C., and Start@Spark in Boston, Mass. — and Austin, Texas is getting into the game with Capital Factory.