Todd Medema has never been to Austin, but the Carnegie Mellon University senior says he is considering moving here after graduation to become part of the tech startup scene.
Next week, Medema will get a first-hand look when he flies into town for the third annual Austin Startup Week, which runs Monday through Friday.
“I’ve heard about how Austin has a lot to offer entrepreneurs,” said Medema, who is studying technology, entrepreneurship and design at the Pittsburgh school. “Startup Week seems like a great way to get to know people and look at Austin for the future.”
The idea behind Startup Week is to spotlight Austin’s emerging tech businesses and the people behind them through more than 40 daytime and evening events.
Most activities are free and open to anyone and include morning coffees, a career fair, office hours with veteran entrepreneurs, panels, workshops and a startup crawl where companies will open their doors, serve drinks and give tours.
Organizers hope to draw developers, marketers, investors, college students, recent graduates and anyone interested in learning more about Austin’s startup community.
“We want people to see all the cool things happening here,” said Jacqueline Hughes, an Austin entrepreneur who teamed up with Capital Factory founder Joshua Baer to organize this year’s event. “If they’re interested in getting involved, we want to introduce them to all the resources that are available.”
More than 4,000 people are expected to attend, up from about 2,500 last year. This year visitors will arrive from around Texas as well as Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York.
The week was scheduled between Austin City Limits music festival weekends so out-of-towners could extend their visits to take part.
“We hope visitors will like what they see and either move here to take a job at a startup or bring their company here,” Hughes said.
To bring in more visitors, Hughes took applications from out-of-town tech workers and university students and gave away 10 round-trip plane tickets, which were paid for by sponsors. She also found homes where visitors are staying for free.
Medema was among those who won a free visit. In addition to being a student he is founder of a startup called Fabricate.IO, which helps people turn ideas into products. If he likes what he sees in Austin, he may move the company here, he said.
“I’ve been very involved in the Pittsburgh startup scene, but it’s a little limited in scope,” he said. “As we build Fabricate, we want to be in a place with a lot of creative talent around, and Austin seems like a great fit for that.”
For Stormpulse, one of the 100 Austin companies participating in Startup Week, the events are a chance to network.
“A great outcome would be meeting potential investors and potential future employees,” said Matthew Wensing, co-founder of Stormpulse, which sells risk products and risk data on environmental hazards, and will have a table at the Startup Crawl. “We’re rebranding the company, so it’s also a great opportunity for us to reintroduce people to our company.”
The event formally kicks off Monday at the Mohawk with a career fair and a Battle of the Bands featuring bands from Austin tech companies. For a full list of events, go to atxstartupweek.com.