Business


Hudson’s on the Bend reopening under new ownership

Hudson’s on the Bend, a landmark restaurant in the Lakeway area for decades, is coming back after its abrupt closure last year. An ownership group that includes real estate developer and philanthropist Dilum Chandrasoma, musician Kris Kimura, former J. Black’s general manager Eric Leonard and entrepreneur Lysa Nguyen purchased the restaurant in December. They plan to reopen in mid-March...


Austin’s HNI Healthcare lands $32.6 million for growth

Austin’s HNI Healthcare lands $32.6 million for growth

A new $32.6 million investment will allow Austin-based HNI Healthcare to speed up its expansion plans.  The physician practice management company received the funding from New York-based Bison Capital and Austin-based Spindletop Capital. Founded in 2002 has , HNI develops technology that it says improves hospital efficiencies and economic performance while improving patient care. The...
‘Monster Hunter: World’ and ‘Dragon Ball FighterZ’ bringing the battles this week in new games

‘Monster Hunter: World’ and ‘Dragon Ball FighterZ’ bringing the battles this week in new games

“Monster Hunter: World.” (Out Friday) Capcom’s “Monster Hunter” series returns with what the game’s developers are calling a huge open-world ecosystem that allows players to interact with environments and wildlife more seamlessly than in past games. It features drop-in multiplayer, gear crafting and transitions from one map to another without loading screens. Rated...
Austin billionaire DeJoria selling off Patron Spirits

Austin billionaire DeJoria selling off Patron Spirits

Bacardi Limited said Monday that plans to swallow the rest of Patron Spirits in a deal that values the tequila maker at $5.1 billion. Bacardi has held a minority stake in Patron since 2008. The two private companies on Monday didn’t disclose terms of the deal for the remainder of Patron. The acquisition is expected to close in the first half of this year. Patron Spirits was co-founded by Austin...
Startup accelerators Techstars and Sputnik ATX introduce new Austin cohorts

Startup accelerators Techstars and Sputnik ATX introduce new Austin cohorts

One startup -- Rosso & Flynn -- brings together the quality of old school butcher shops with the convenience of online ordering and delivery. Another -- Milkful -- supports breastfeeding moms through community, education and healthy lactation snacks. A third -- Locus -- uses eye tracking technology to provide real-time data on where users look on their phones. These are three of the 10 startups chosen...
After strong 2017 finish, outlook bright for Austin office market

After strong 2017 finish, outlook bright for Austin office market

The Austin-area’s office market rolled to a strong finish in 2017, new reports show, propelled by Fortune 500 companies including Facebook Inc., Google, Indeed and HomeAway signing sizeable office leases in the market last year. Major lease transactions were the theme of 2017, according to the latest office market report from the Austin office of Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real...

Up the Ladder

Credit unions Greater Texas Credit Union has named Lisa Bateman vice president-consumer lending. Consulting Potomac Strategy Group has named Jamie Bennett vice president. E-Commerce Twyla has named Thomas Galbraith chief executive officer. Health care HNI Healthcare has named Michael Saunders president. Law firms Weisbart Springer Hayes has named Mia Storm and Matt Wood partners. Medical Dell Medical...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

TEXAS ECONOMY With tax overhaul as ‘tailwind,’ regional economy surged, Dallas Fed says: Economic activity in Texas and parts of two neighboring states surged over the past six weeks, as the federal tax overhaul boosted confidence across a wide range of businesses in the region, according to a report last week from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. In its chapter of the Beige Book, an...
Austin Answered: What’s the story behind Austin’s ‘Ramp of Mystery’?

Austin Answered: What’s the story behind Austin’s ‘Ramp of Mystery’?

If you search on Google Maps for “Ramp of Mystery,” a curious Southeast Austin landmark appears, a concrete structure that leads to nowhere, sitting in an overgrown field.  It’s a steep ramp with too much of an incline to walk up easily. To the side, an aging and precarious set of wooden steps goes up to the top, where the path that led to the ramp leads to... nothing...
Despite tight labor market, Austin job growth maintains momentum

Despite tight labor market, Austin job growth maintains momentum

Back around the middle of last year, workforce experts looked at the easing rate of Austin-area job growth and figured the inevitable had finally arrived: The region’s tight labor market was bringing expansion back to more reasonable levels. In true Austin fashion, though, local hiring re-accelerated in the months since. And after modest job gains in December, it appears that the metro area&rsquo...
Talking about tech for freezing weather on Texas Standard

Talking about tech for freezing weather on Texas Standard

This week on the “Texas Standard” radio program, we bundled up in our winter coats and discussed some of the tech implications of the freezing temperatures we had this week. What are some of the best tech-infused ice scrapers, should you get a remote starter for your car, and why you need to keep your smart phone warm, too.  You can hear the segment on the Texas Standard website...
Abbott shouldn’t mess with Austin’s success

Abbott shouldn’t mess with Austin’s success

Will Austin attract Amazon’s $5 billion HQ2 project? Will bats be involved?   Gov. Greg Abbott wants to have it both ways: Proclaiming Austin’s success as one of two Texas cities that made it to the elite 20 – the cities Amazon named this week as finalists for the tech giant’s second headquarters, called Amazon HQ2. Meanwhile, doing all he can – along...
Austin’s Samantha Snabes, founder of re:3D, takes $1 million WeWork Creator prize

Austin’s Samantha Snabes, founder of re:3D, takes $1 million WeWork Creator prize

An Austin entrepreneur whose company has been focused on industrial 3D printers for emerging countries, won a $1 million award Wednesday night. Samantha Snabes, founder of re:3D, was one of two $1 million winners at the WeWork Creator Awards Global Finals at Madison Square Garden in New York. The other winner, J. Kevin White, runs a nonprofit called Global Vision 20/20. The awards were given out by...
Modest December job growth caps steady year in Austin labor market

Modest December job growth caps steady year in Austin labor market

Austin employers closed out 2017 with modest job growth in December, helping hold the regional unemployment rate steady in a tight labor market. Local employers added about 1,200 jobs during the month, a 0.1 increase that was in line with typical Decembers, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission. The growing payrolls helped absorb not only the expanding labor...
Friday Tech Crawl: Apple and Amazon HQ2 talk, layoffs at Snap and the post-headphone-jack era is fragmented

Friday Tech Crawl: Apple and Amazon HQ2 talk, layoffs at Snap and the post-headphone-jack era is fragmented

Happy Friday, Austin! You survived a massive snowstorm that wasn’t this week. But can you make it to the weekend. We believe in you! Here are some of the tech stories we’re following right now: It’s been a busy week for Austin speculators as Austin made the “Short” list of 20 cities under consideration for its massive 50,000-employee second headquarters project....
Medicine from Texas cannabis crops on cusp of getting to patients

Medicine from Texas cannabis crops on cusp of getting to patients

Pediatric neurologist Scott Perry is optimistic he’ll soon be able to answer some questions that have been on the minds of his epilepsy patients and their families. “I don’t think I go a day without the majority of patients actually asking about it,” Perry said. “If I don’t mention it myself, they’ll say, ‘What’s going on with it? What about it?&rsquo...
SPACE CRUNCH: Retail market remains tight across region

SPACE CRUNCH: Retail market remains tight across region

A lot can change in a decade. Take the local commercial real estate market. Ten years ago, the very first phase of the Domain in North Austin was just getting off the ground. So was the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave. And Ikea had just opened its doors in Round Rock. Thanks to those developments – and countless more since – the Austin metro area has added almost 12 million square feet...
Comparing Austin’s competition for Amazon’s HQ2

Comparing Austin’s competition for Amazon’s HQ2

Here’s a look at how the finalists for  Amazon’s “HQ2” second headquarters project compare in a variety of categories, from economics to education. (Use the tool at the bottom to scroll through the table.) Notes: * This list does not include data for Toronto ** The New York City metro area includes two potential Amazon sites: New York City and Newark, N.J. *** The...
Austin-area home sales, prices hit record highs in 2017

Austin-area home sales, prices hit record highs in 2017

Last year was another record-breaker for Central Texas’ housing market, the newest numbers show. And some local real estate agents and housing market experts predict 2018 will look a lot like 2017, with the market staying strong yet concerns about affordability lingering as prices continue their anticipated climb. The Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday that both sales and the median home-sales...
Recovering loved one’s data after death likely won’t be easy

Recovering loved one’s data after death likely won’t be easy

A reader, Rick, asks, “A friend’s brother died suddenly. The family needs access to his iPhone and MacBook but have no idea what his passwords are. Is there a procedure to request Apple to unlock the devices? Is there a third party that can do this?” The family probably won’t enjoy hearing this, but if a person’s devices are all locked down with passwords and passcodes...
Sorry, Texas: Here’s why you can’t use Google’s art selfie feature

Sorry, Texas: Here’s why you can’t use Google’s art selfie feature

Google’s new Arts & Culture App has been insanely popular over the last week -- and no, it’s not because people are wanting to brush up on their art history skills (though it’s good for that, too). It’s because there’s a hilarious feature where you can upload a photo of yourself and the app will match your face with a work of art that resembles you.  Except in Texas...
Austin-area home sales, prices surge to record highs in 2017

Austin-area home sales, prices surge to record highs in 2017

Last year was another record-breaker for Central Texas’ housing market, the latest numbers show. And some local real estate agents and housing market experts predict 2018 will look a lot like 2017, with the market staying strong even as concerns about affordability linger as prices continue to climb. The Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday that both the volume of sales and the median home-sales...
Gold’s Gym ending 24-hour operations at 4 Austin-area locations

Gold’s Gym ending 24-hour operations at 4 Austin-area locations

Better squeeze in those late-night workouts while you can. Four Central Texas Gold’s Gym locations that are currently open 24 hours will scale back their operating hours starting next month, the chain confirmed Thursday. The affected gyms are: 9101 Research Blvd., Austin 4404 W. William Cannon Drive, Austin 235 Canyon Ridge Drive, Austin ...
As storms batter Texas, billions in state property goes unprotected

As storms batter Texas, billions in state property goes unprotected

You are a responsible property owner, so you make sure to buy insurance to pay for repairs or rebuilding in the event of a disaster. Unless you’re the state of Texas. Last summer, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice sustained an estimated $1 million in damage from Hurricane Harvey, most of it at the W.F. Ramsey complex, about 40 miles south of Houston. It is on farmland near the Brazos...
Austin on short list for Amazon’s second headquarters 

Austin on short list for Amazon’s second headquarters 

Amazon announced Thursday that Austin made its short list of 20 cities that could become the site of the retail giant’s planned second headquarters project. Dallas was the only other Texas city that made the cut. "We are pleased that the Austin region has advanced to the second round," Mike Berman, spokesman for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said in a written statement....
Dallas Fed: With tax overhaul as ‘tailwind,’ regional economy surged

Dallas Fed: With tax overhaul as ‘tailwind,’ regional economy surged

Economic activity in Texas and parts of two neighboring states surged over the past six weeks, as the federal tax overhaul boosted confidence across a wide range of businesses in the region, according to a report Wednesday from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. In its chapter of the Beige Book, an anecdotal report on the economy compiled every six weeks by the Federal Reserve banks, the Dallas Fed...
Jason’s Deli confirms data breach included Austin-area restaurants

Jason’s Deli confirms data breach included Austin-area restaurants

After warning customers of a potential data breach last month, Jason’s Deli says it has now been able to confirm that an unidentified hacker was able to access an estimated 2 million credit card numbers processed by cash registers at some of its restaurants nationwide. The Beaumont-based chain said in a written statement that it believes hackers began using malware to gather data from its corporate-owned...
Lawsuit filed against AMD over security flaws 

Lawsuit filed against AMD over security flaws 

A law firm has filed suit against Advanced Micro Devices after researchers found security flaws affecting products by AMD and other computer chipmakers.  The complaint, which seeks class action status, was filed by the Rosen Law Firm and in U.S. District Court in Northern California. AMD is based in California, but most of its operations are in Austin. The lawsuit alleges that AMD misled shareholders...
Whole Foods products boosted Amazon's online grocery sales last year, report finds

Whole Foods products boosted Amazon's online grocery sales last year, report finds

Amazon’s purchase of Austin-based Whole Foods Market last year is already bolstering the online retailer’s sale of groceries, according to a new report.  Sales of Whole Foods’ store brand, called 365 Everyday Value, helped sales on Amazon’s line of consumables grow by 35 percent year-over-year in 2017, according to e-commerce analytics firm One Click Retail....
Wintry weather tests Austin’s telecommuting abilities

Wintry weather tests Austin’s telecommuting abilities

As Tuesday’s wintry weather hit, a number of Central Texas workers heeded warnings to stay off icy, slick roads and remain at home – but that didn’t mean they all got the day off from work. In today’s high-tech, always-connected world, telecommuting is a viable option for workers in many fields. In fact, in the Austin technology sector, taking a day off for bad weather isn&rsquo...
Austin’s USA Compression Partners plans $1.8 billion acquisition

Austin’s USA Compression Partners plans $1.8 billion acquisition

Austin-based oilfield services company USA Compression Partners plans to buy the compression business from Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners in a $1.8 billion deal, the companies said Tuesday. The deal “expands USA Compression’s geographic reach into active basins, including Eagle Ford Shale, Gulf Coast, Rockies and Permian Basin,” the company said in a news release. The companies...

USA Compression Partners plans $1.8 billion acquisition

USA Compression Partners on Tuesday announced the acquisition of a key rival in a complex, $1.8 billion deal that will make the Austin-based company one of the country’s largest providers of the horsepower that pushes natural gas through pipelines. USA Compression said it will acquire CDM Resource Management and CDM Environmental and Technical Services, a pair of gas-compression divisions at...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

TEXAS ECONOMY Dallas Fed says Texas job growth will rebound to 3 percent this year: With the Texas economy “firing on all cylinders,” statewide job growth will accelerate in 2018, but the increasingly tight labor market here and across the country will limit the surge, according to a forecast from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The Dallas Fed now expects Texas employers to add around...

Up the Ladder

Consulting Bridgepoint Consulting has named Vijay George as director of its technology consulting practice. Finance Casoro Capital has named Joy Schoffler chief strategy officer. Health care Heart Hospital of Austin has named Seth Herrick chief financial officer. Software Rimidi names Josh Claman chief executive officer.
PAX South returns, brings plenty of cosplay, tourneys and retro thrills for fourth year

PAX South returns, brings plenty of cosplay, tourneys and retro thrills for fourth year

In its fourth year in San Antonio, the big PAX South gaming convention continues to be one of the key gathering places for fans of video games and tabletop gaming in the region. Along with SXSW Gaming, Classic Games Fest and RTX, it’s one of the few places in Central Texas where tens of thousands of gamers can gather for a weekend and find their tribes in a family friendly environment....
In Texas, could immigration crackdown cause a worker shortage?

In Texas, could immigration crackdown cause a worker shortage?

Some local and state business leaders — including owners of construction companies, high-tech executives and restaurateurs — say they worry the Trump administration’s crackdown on certain categories of immigrants previously exempt from deportation could cause problems for an already stretched Texas workforce. The administration says it plans to end protections for about 200,000 Salvadorans...
Texas employers worry immigration crackdown may cause worker shortage

Texas employers worry immigration crackdown may cause worker shortage

If it weren’t for people allowed into the United States under temporary work permits, Bill Carson doubts he’d be in business in Travis County. The owner of Native Texas Nursery — a 40-acre tree and plant farm in East Austin — says he has trouble hiring U.S. citizens for the physically demanding, outdoor labor. “And in an urban environment like Austin, (finding employees...
350-unit luxury apartment complex planned near The Domain

350-unit luxury apartment complex planned near The Domain

A local developer is building a 350-unit luxury apartment community near The Domain in North Austin. Oden Hughes said this week that it has started construction on the 10-acre Lenox Ridge complex at the southeast corner of North MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and Scofield Ridge Parkway. Completion is expected in early 2019. The Domain and surrounding areas have seen considerable development in recent years...
Stressed about money? This retreat helps women plan for the future

Stressed about money? This retreat helps women plan for the future

In 2016, more than 30 percent of Millennial and Generation Z women didn’t know how much credit card debt they were in, and more than 40 percent didn’t know how much student loan debt they were in, according to a national study. Millennial women are also more likely to have college debt and less likely to have access to high-paying jobs, according to the Institutes for Women’s Policy...
Austin’s VC profile might be on the rise

Austin’s VC profile might be on the rise

Is Austin finally on the radar of East and West Coast venture capitalists? A new survey suggests the answer is yes. At least 24 Austin startups raised rounds of $10 million or more in 2017, according to a MoneyTree report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights. Much of it came in funding rounds led by outside investment firms. “The problem in the past was that our average deal sizes were...
Is Austin finally on radar of East and West Coast VCs? New numbers suggest it is.

Is Austin finally on radar of East and West Coast VCs? New numbers suggest it is.

Is Austin finally on the radar of East and West Coast venture capitalists? A new survey suggests the answer is yes. At least 24 Austin startups raised rounds of $10 million or more in 2017, according to a MoneyTree report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights. Much of it came in funding rounds led by outside investment firms. “The problem in the past was that our average deal sizes were...
Free tonight? This new app will find you same-day dates at your favorite Austin restaurants

Free tonight? This new app will find you same-day dates at your favorite Austin restaurants

If you’ve watched season four of Netflix’s “Black Mirror,” then this may be a familiar story: a dating app, but over time, it gets to know you better and better. As it sees the type of people you swipe right on, it catalogs your taste. It looks at the interests you’ve inputted: “Running. Biking. Going to the movies. Traveling.” It gives you matches...
Talking with Texas Standard about why Hauwei’s struggling with wireless carriers in the U.S.

Talking with Texas Standard about why Hauwei’s struggling with wireless carriers in the U.S.

This week on the “Texas Standard” radio program, we talked about the news that the Chinese gadget maker Huawei lost a partnership with AT&T to bring a flagship product to the U.S. with that wireless carrier. Why is the government concerned about this company’s products and should consumers have more options for buying products from Huawei? You can hear the segment below...
Friday Tech Crawl: feed changes for Facebook, a Dropbox IPO, GM wants to drop steering wheels (in test cars) and ‘Star Wars’ pencil music

Friday Tech Crawl: feed changes for Facebook, a Dropbox IPO, GM wants to drop steering wheels (in test cars) and ‘Star Wars’ pencil music

Happy Friday, folks! Here’s some of the tech news we’re following this morning: We know we’ve been saying this for a while, but Facebook is really, really serious about changing the news feed experience for its users, saying this week that it’s emphasizing posts from family family and friends over viral videos and news articles from publications...
Austin legal team adds real estate heavy hitters

Austin legal team adds real estate heavy hitters

One of Central Texas’ preeminent real estate law firms is adding another high-profile attorney to its ranks — a move that brings three influential lawyers handling some of the region’s highest-profile zoning cases under one roof. Michael Whellan, a former president and shareholder of Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody, is leaving to join Armbrust & Brown. There, alongside David Armbrust...
Always Connected PCs to help blur the line between computers and phones

Always Connected PCs to help blur the line between computers and phones

Have you ever wished your laptop was connected automatically online all the time instead of requiring you to seek a Wi-Fi hotspot whenever you’re traveling or trying to get work done at a coffee shop? Two tech titans, Microsoft and Qualcomm, are hoping to usher in an era where your smart phone and your work laptop both have the same kind of LTE-network connectivity with what they’re calling ...
LBJ’s former ranch listed for $2.8 million

LBJ’s former ranch listed for $2.8 million

The one-time Texas Hill Country property of former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson is for sale, with a $2.8 million asking price. Located on 142 acres near Johnson City, the property is the former home of Italian artist Benini, renowned for his paintings and sculptures. DMTX Realty, a sales team affiliated with Coldwell Banker United Realtors, has the listing for the property, which is at 377 Shiloh...
Uber made policy changes for drivers. Did they actually help? 

Uber made policy changes for drivers. Did they actually help? 

For the past half-year, San Francisco-based ride-hailing company Uber has been trying to mend what at times has been a strained relationship with its drivers. After years of complaints from drivers that the company was not adequately supporting them, Uber from June until the end of last year changed policies and added features to its smartphone application that the company promoted as benefiting drivers...
Yeti’s latest legal target: Walmart

Yeti’s latest legal target: Walmart

Austin’s own Yeti Coolers is continuing its crusade against what it contends are “confusingly similar” products, targeting Walmart for the second time in less than two years. Yeti filed a lawsuit last month in U.S. District Court in Austin, claiming that the mega-retailer is selling counterfeit Yeti drinkware, as well as off-brand drinkware that too closely resembles Yeti’s...
After Bitcoin surges, Texas regulators start to scrutinize virtual currency offers

After Bitcoin surges, Texas regulators start to scrutinize virtual currency offers

The skyrocketing value of Bitcoin and the launch of several new virtual currencies in recent months has attracted a wave of new investors and speculators.  It has also attracted the eye of federal and state securities regulators across the country.  The Texas State Securities Board ratcheted the scrutiny up a notch in recent weeks, as it has issued the country’s first state-level orders...
Tech Crawl: Microsoft’s surprise move on AMD chips, and a big old bunch of CES coverage 

Tech Crawl: Microsoft’s surprise move on AMD chips, and a big old bunch of CES coverage 

A happy Wednesday to you, Austin. Here’s a quick look at some of the tech-related stories making news and generating buzz around the Internet this morning: Microsoft says it has temporarily stopped fixing a serious security flaw on personal computers powered by certain chips from Advanced Micro Devices because the repair is crippling the affected machines.  The suspension will delay...
Dallas Fed: Texas job growth will rebound to 3 percent this year

Dallas Fed: Texas job growth will rebound to 3 percent this year

With the Texas economy “firing on all cylinders,” statewide job growth will accelerate in 2018, but the increasingly tight labor market here and across the country will limit the surge, according to a forecast from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The Dallas Fed now expects Texas employers to add around 366,000 jobs, an increase of 3 percent. The state added 305,900 jobs in 2017, up...
Jason’s Deli warns customers of possible data breach

Jason’s Deli warns customers of possible data breach

Jason’s Deli is warning customers that their credit card information may have been stolen. In a statement on its website, the Beaumont-based chain said it was alerted by MasterCard security on Dec. 22 “that a large quantity of payment card information had appeared for sale on the ‘dark web,’ and that an analysis of the data indicated that at least a portion of the data may...
Austin’s Shelfbucks, which helps retailers make the most of in-store displays, rings up $9M

Austin’s Shelfbucks, which helps retailers make the most of in-store displays, rings up $9M

Shelfbucks, which lets retailers analyze the performance of in-store displays, has rung up $9 million in new funding. Founded in 2012, Austin-based Shelfbucks has developed mobile technology that brands and retailers integrate into product displays to measure and improve their performance. The company says its real-time data and field alerts improve display performance by 20 to 30 percent, while decreasing...
A fish-eye view: Austin startup’s wireless camera feeds live video from your fishing line  

A fish-eye view: Austin startup’s wireless camera feeds live video from your fishing line  

In 2014, Ryan Austin was fishing in Trinidad with a group of people when something on one of their fishing lines began to tug aggressively.  The group fought back and forth with what they presumed to be a massive catch, struggling to reel it in.  Suddenly, though, the tugging stopped. The fish escaped. Austin left disappointed.  But it had little to do with not reeling in the catch...
Austin cigar shop, a Sixth Street fixture, closing doors as owner blasts city

Austin cigar shop, a Sixth Street fixture, closing doors as owner blasts city

Citing what he calls the “deteriorating situation and terrible neglect by the City of Austin on ‘Dirty Sixth Street,’” the owner of Bobalu Cigar Company announced Tuesday that the store is closing the doors at its original location for good. “Things are really bad on Sixth Street, and we hung in there much longer than we should have because I NEVER wanted to close...
Parsley Energy to lease 31-story tower in downtown Austin

Parsley Energy to lease 31-story tower in downtown Austin

Austin-based Parsley Energy, a fast-growing oil and natural gas company, has signed a lease to occupy all of the office space in a 31-story high-rise planned for downtown Austin. The building’s developers said that Parsley Energy has signed a 12-year lease for 302,000 square feet of space in the proposed tower. Named 300 Colorado after its address, the building is estimated to cost about $175...
Too negative? CNN, Fox News, MSNBC blocked at Austin gyms

Too negative? CNN, Fox News, MSNBC blocked at Austin gyms

If you’re a fan of cable TV hosts such as Chris Matthews, Jake Tapper and Sean Hannity, Life Time Fitness apparently isn’t the gym for you. Citing complaints from many of its members, the Minnesota-based chain said it has pulled the plug on cable TV’s biggest news networks. Life Time Fitness, which has two Austin-area locations and 127 total in 35 metro areas across the U.S., recently...
Melinda Gates to keynote SXSW 2018; Michael Dell, Richard Linklater added as featured speakers

Melinda Gates to keynote SXSW 2018; Michael Dell, Richard Linklater added as featured speakers

South by Southwest on Monday announced that philanthropist and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates, will be a keynote speaker in March. Gates nearly two and a half years ago established an outside organization called Pivotal Ventures. Though little was known about its goals initially, it appears to be focusing on gender issues such as getting more girls interested in...

Up the Ladder

Consulting OmniSure Consulting Group has named Laura Luck Martinez executive vice president. Housing industry Campus Advantage has named David Timmerman vice president of operations. RV industry RVshare has named Jon Gray chief executive officer.
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

BIG ENGINE In huge investment deal, Austin’s WP Engine raises $250 million: WP Engine, which provides hosting for WordPress-built websites, said last week that it has raised a whopping $250 million to fuel its growth. The Austin-based company received the funding from Silver Lake, the global private equity investment firm. Founded in 1999, Silver Lake is one of the largest technology investors...
Kroger looks to eliminate check-out lanes as digital services disrupts grocery industry

Kroger looks to eliminate check-out lanes as digital services disrupts grocery industry

As food delivery services and online shopping disrupt the grocery industry, Kroger is looking to eliminate checkout lanes for busy customers. >> Read more trending news  The Cincinnati-headquartered grocery chain will roll out its “Scan, Bag, Go” service to 400 stores in 2018, according to Business Insider. Shoppers can avoid long checkout lines by scanning barcodes...
Discount carrier ViaAir plans to boost Austin presence, add flights

Discount carrier ViaAir plans to boost Austin presence, add flights

An airline you’ve probably never heard of has big plans for Austin in 2018. Florida-based ViaAir will begin nonstop service from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Oklahoma City, Okla., and Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 18. The discount carrier already offers seasonal service from Austin to Branson, Mo., and Steamboat Springs, Colo., operating out of the airport’s South Terminal. Other...
Bid to expand Texas power grid fuels angst among big electric users

Bid to expand Texas power grid fuels angst among big electric users

Large manufacturers and industrial companies across the state are warily monitoring a utility plan in West Texas that could increase their electricity bills but potentially result in a more robust power grid. Lubbock, famous as the birthplace of Buddy Holly and home to Texas Tech University, wants to transfer most customers of its municipal electric utility from the transmission grid currently serving...
Southwest Austin apartment complex valued at $71 million changes hands

Southwest Austin apartment complex valued at $71 million changes hands

A Southwest Austin apartment community has changed hands. Barings Real Estate Advisers said Friday that it had sold the Park at Monterey Oaks, a 430-unit, 37-acre complex at 4701 Monterrey Oaks Blvd., to Northland Investment Corp. A purchase price wasn’t disclosed. The Travis Central Appraisal District valued the property at $71 million last year. JLL managing directors Jeff Price and Scott...
Talking with Texas Standard about the tech we should have left behind in 2017

Talking with Texas Standard about the tech we should have left behind in 2017

This week on the “Texas Standard” radio program, it’s time to take one last look back at 2017 and talk about some of the technologies we wish would have gone away before the new year. You can check out the segment on the Texas Standard website or give it a listen below:
A look at what 2018 could bring for Austin’s economy

A look at what 2018 could bring for Austin’s economy

Austin enters 2018 with a labor market and economy as robust as any it has experienced in nearly two decades. However, two critical issues from the dot-com past are re-emerging and will shape 2018 — technology’s ability to increase productivity and prosperity; and the threat the tech industry could pose to a broad-based sharing of those gains. To find out more about what 2018 could bring...
Austin’s 2018 economy: Tech challenges, job growth, more VC dollars

Austin’s 2018 economy: Tech challenges, job growth, more VC dollars

Austin enters 2018 with a labor market and economy as robust as any it has experienced in nearly two decades. Even as the region’s economic output has eased a bit in recent years, its expansion continues to outpace nearly every large metro area in the country. And, on top of that, its unemployment rate has dropped to levels not seen since 2000. The last time the metro area experienced such a...
How plausible are the tech nightmares in Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror’ series? 

How plausible are the tech nightmares in Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror’ series? 

Last Friday, tucked between Christmas snoozing and New Year’s Eve revelry, Netflix debuted six new episodes of “Black Mirror,” the British-born anthology series that since 2011 has been provocatively exploring the dark side of our love affair with technology. I’ve written before about why -- even as a mixed bag of premises -- “Black Mirror” is typically...
Friday Tech Crawl: FCC chairman death threats, a CES preview, Microsoft’s smart thermostat and grandma + Google Home

Friday Tech Crawl: FCC chairman death threats, a CES preview, Microsoft’s smart thermostat and grandma + Google Home

Happy Friday, Austin! Hope you’ve enjoyed your first week (or half week) back at work after a restful holiday break. Didn’t get a holiday break? Time to call in sick! While you’re figuring that out, here are some of the tech stories we’re following this morning: The fight over net neutrality rules is getting uglier: FCC chairman Ajit Pai has canceled a scheduled talk at next...
Austin alcohol sales up 5 percent in November

Austin alcohol sales up 5 percent in November

Alcohol sales at Austin bars, restaurants and hotels were up 5 percent in November, according to an American-Statesman analysis of state data. Bartenders citywide poured $57.1 million worth of booze during the month, compared with $54.2 million during the same month in 2016. For all of Texas, sales jumped 11 percent year over year, from $480.6 million in 2016 to $533.1 million in 2017. The top seller...
Latest round of Sears closures includes Austin store

Latest round of Sears closures includes Austin store

Struggling retailer Sears Holdings is starting 2018 by announcing plans to close more than 100 Kmart and Sears stores nationwide, including one in Austin. The auto center at the Sears Grand store at 12625 N. Interstate 35 in North Austin will shut down late this month, followed by the store itself in early April, the company said Thursday. Sears Holdings had already announced plans to downsize the...
Juliet owner: ‘Fine dining was something of a trap’

Juliet owner: ‘Fine dining was something of a trap’

Dan Wilkins is willing to admit he made a mistake. A very costly one, too. The owner of what was originally Juliet Ristorante – but is now known as Juliet Italian Kitchen – opened a fine-dining restaurant on a stretch of Austin’s Barton Springs Road known for its casual quirkiness. After 20 months in operation, Wilkins and his team decided they needed to make a pivot to reach a broader...
Scrambling for storage space on your phone? Try deleting some text-message threads

Scrambling for storage space on your phone? Try deleting some text-message threads

If you’re constantly running out of data storage space on your smart phone and you’ve resisted the siren call of buying a new phone with more memory, you might find some help in an unexpected place. While music streaming apps and photo and music libraries are often the biggest hits to a phone’s memory that you can try to clear out, one place you might not think to look is in your...
AT&T to roll out full 5G service this year; will Austin be among first cities to get it? 

AT&T to roll out full 5G service this year; will Austin be among first cities to get it? 

Telecommunications giant AT&T said Thursday that it plans to launch a full mobile 5G service by the end of the year in a dozen U.S. cities.  AT&T officials declined to say if Austin would be one of those 12 markets. Since last year AT&T has been testing a similar service in Austin and 22 other metro areas. The term “5G” stands for 5th generation wireless broadband technology...
Huge swath of US hit by winter storm, bringing snow, cold

Huge swath of US hit by winter storm, bringing snow, cold

A massive winter storm sweeping across a huge swath of the U.S., from the Carolinas to Maine, is expected to dump up to 18 inches of snow in some areas and bring strong winds Thursday, followed by possible record-breaking cold. Blizzard warnings and states of emergency were in effect, schools and government offices closed for the day and motorists were warned to be careful as conditions worsened....
INSIGHT: What women should know before joining the gig economy

INSIGHT: What women should know before joining the gig economy

Martin Schneider often got things done faster than a female colleague, Nicole Hallberg, who worked at the same small employment services agency. He figured this was because of his extra experience. One day, however, a client suddenly began acting “impossible,” “rude” and “dismissive,” as Schneider recalled in a series of tweets. He soon realized why. Schneider had...
Austin-based Accruent continues international expansion, acquires UK company

Austin-based Accruent continues international expansion, acquires UK company

Austin-based software maker Accruent has expanded its European presence by purchasing United Kingdom-based software company Kykloud, the company said Wednesday.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.  The acquisition is the second international deal in the past two months by Accruent, which develops real estate, facilities and equipment management software that the company says...
Owner of Austin TV stations facing $13.4 million federal fine

Owner of Austin TV stations facing $13.4 million federal fine

A company that operates nearly 200 TV stations nationwide – including CBS Austin and Telemundo Austin in Central Texas – is facing a $13.4 million federal fine for allegedly airing sponsored stories that promoted a Utah cancer center in some of its news broadcasts. Those stories, which records indicate Huntsman Cancer Foundation paid Sinclair Broadcast Group to run, in many cases lacked...
In Austin, another person’s trash could become entrepreneurs’ treasure

In Austin, another person’s trash could become entrepreneurs’ treasure

From fabric scraps, oyster shells, concrete anchor straps and wine bottles, teams of entrepreneurs will create something useful out of something used during Austin’s third annual [Re]Verse Pitch Competition, which kicks off this month. Two prizes will be awarded for the most innovative ideas, with prize money totaling $20,000. Eight local businesses and nonprofits will share their raw materials...
As it fine-tunes its business model, Austin-based Snap Kitchen has raised $16M, according to filings

As it fine-tunes its business model, Austin-based Snap Kitchen has raised $16M, according to filings

Austin-based Snap Kitchen, which recently left the Chicago market and closed locations in Philadelphia, has raised $16.3 million, according to a new securities filing. The company received the funding in equity and options, warrants or other securities, according to a Wednesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Snap Kitchen received the funding from two investors, whose...
Facebook’s ‘Engagement bait’ crackdown and 2018 predictions from Omarstradamus on Texas Standard

Facebook’s ‘Engagement bait’ crackdown and 2018 predictions from Omarstradamus on Texas Standard

Even while some of us were busy taking extra-long winter vacation naps and cleaning up several tons of wrapping paper off the floor, 512tech and Texas Standard’s radio program rolled along over Christmas and New Year. Here are two tech-related segments you may have missed over the holidays. The first is about Facebook’s recent moves to crack down on what it calls “Engagement...
Union sues AT&T on behalf of 50 laid off Austin, Bastrop employees

Union sues AT&T on behalf of 50 laid off Austin, Bastrop employees

A national worker’s rights union is suing AT&T on behalf of 50 employees in Austin and Bastrop who were laid off as AT&T announced firings across the United States. News of the firings spread rapidly, fueled by national outrage, following AT&T’s earlier announcement that the company was doling out $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 of its employees in celebration of the Republican Party&rsquo...
Austin-based TrendKite lands $11 million for growth

Austin-based TrendKite lands $11 million for growth

TrendKite, which helps clients gauge the effectiveness of their public relations, has raised an additional $11 million to accelerate its expansion plans. The Austin-based company, which was founded in 2012, makes analytics software that lets agencies and brands measure and analyze the impact of their print, broadcast and online media coverage. The lead investor in the deal was Harmony Partners, a...
Austin’s Asure Software starts new year with three acquisitions

Austin’s Asure Software starts new year with three acquisitions

Asure Software is starting the year with three more acquisitions. The Austin-based company said Tuesday it has purchased TelePayroll Inc. and Pay Systems of America Inc., which both provide human resources,  payroll and employees benefit services. TelePayroll is based in Los Alamitos, Calif., and Pay Systems of America is headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan. In addition, Assure Software...
Tuesday Tech Crawl:  Predicting 2018’s biggest tech happenings -- and will Amazon buy Target?

Tuesday Tech Crawl:  Predicting 2018’s biggest tech happenings -- and will Amazon buy Target?

Happy new year, Austin!  Here’s hoping your holidays were wonderful.  Whether you are still taking some time off or, like us, are already back at work, here’s a look at some of the tech stories generating buzz around the Interwebs today. As Amazon continues to grow into an ever-bigger retail behemoth, there is growing speculation that Jeff Bezos and Company are now setting their...
Best coffee shops near North Austin

Best coffee shops near North Austin

We extended our coffee search to Near North Austin recently and, although we got a good start on this sector in late 2017, we need your help in filling out the candidates. We’d gladly add to this list. Contributed Kick Butt Coffee. 5775 Airport Blvd. 512-454-5425. kickbuttcoffee.com. 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Thurs.,  6 a.m.-2 a.m., Fri., 7 a.m.-2 a...

Up the Ladder

Biomedical Vermillion has named Bob Beechey chief financial officer. Community The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce has named Phil Wilson chair of the board of directors for 2018 and has named Brian Cassidy chair-elect. Natural resources Forestar Group has named Daniel Bartok chief executive officer.
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

AUTONOMOUS AUSTIN Tracking Austin’s role in the rise of driverless vehicles: As high-tech and automotive companies head toward a future where driverless vehicles dominate the market, Austin’s tech sector is playing a significant role in that progress. “Austin should be to automated vehicles what Detroit was to the last century of automakers,” Mayor Steve Adler said earlier...
Exclusive: Austin-based Indeed to lease new 11-story office tower at Domain

Exclusive: Austin-based Indeed to lease new 11-story office tower at Domain

Austin-based online job search firm Indeed confirmed Friday that it will lease all the space in a new office building at the Domain in North Austin when the 11-story tower opens in 2018.  Indeed is one of Central Texas’ fastest-growing Internet companies and actively recruits local tech talent.  In a written statement to the American-Statesman, Indeed said it has signed a lease for...
LifePlanner’s creator: Proud of growth, direction of Austin company

LifePlanner’s creator: Proud of growth, direction of Austin company

Not everything is digital these days, even though it often seems that way. Just ask Erin Condren, whose line of LifePlanner organizers and notebooks has really taken off in recent years. In fact, they’ve become so popular that Condren recently opened a flagship brick-and-mortar store at Domain Northside. The store, at 11601 Rock Rose, is twice the size Condren initially envisioned. When an adjoining...
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