Business


Amazon backlash? In Austin, many are 'meh' over HQ2 pursuit

Amazon’s second headquarters coming to Austin could be the best thing to ever happen to our city. Or it could be the worst.  Depends who you ask.  While residents of many of the 200-plus cities that initially submitted proposals – since whittled down to 20 finalists, including Austin – are loud and proud in their rallying for the retail giant, the reaction among many in...


Legislature expected to weigh in on Austin sick leave rules

Legislature expected to weigh in on Austin sick leave rules

Debate over a requirement that businesses in Austin provide employees with up to eight days of paid sick leave annually might be just getting started, despite the City Council’s approval of the measure early Friday. But the setting for the next fight is likely to be the Texas Capitol, not City Hall, according to representatives of a number of local and state business groups. “The vast...
Gibson guitar company, maker of the Les Paul, facing bankruptcy after 116 years in business

Gibson guitar company, maker of the Les Paul, facing bankruptcy after 116 years in business

Gibson guitar company, which has been a staple brand among various musical instruments since 1902, is facing bankruptcy. >> Read more trending news  According to the Nashville Post, Gibson’s chief financial officer, Bill Lawrence, left after six months on the job and just as $375 million in senior secured notes mature and $145 million in bank loans become due, if they...
Amazon backlash? In Austin, many are ‘meh’ over HQ2 pursuit

Amazon backlash? In Austin, many are ‘meh’ over HQ2 pursuit

Amazon’s second headquarters coming to Austin could be the best thing to ever happen to our city. Or it could be the worst. Depends who you ask. While residents of many of the 200-plus cities that initially submitted proposals – since whittled down to 20 finalists, including Austin – are loud and proud in their rallying for the retail giant, the reaction among many in Central Texas...
Austin Oaks office complex goes on the market

Austin Oaks office complex goes on the market

Creating a major redevelopment opportunity in Central Austin, Austin Oaks, a 12-building office complex in Northwest Austin that sparked that sparked a lengthy zoning fight, has been put on the market. Marketing materials tout the sprawling, 31.4-acre complex as a “one-of-a-kind opportunity” to acquire and redevelop Austin’s largest infill business park, which consists of 445,322...
State’s top business group boosts political activity ahead of primaries

State’s top business group boosts political activity ahead of primaries

The state’s most powerful business lobbying group has been beefing up its political donations, in keeping with a vow to be more proactive after spending much of 2017 on the defensive as social conservatives in the Legislature pushed measures — such as the so-called bathroom bill — that it viewed as bad for the Texas economy. The rift between the Texas Association of Business and...
Will Austin’s labor market help it land Amazon’s HQ2 project?

Will Austin’s labor market help it land Amazon’s HQ2 project?

At the moment, only Amazon’s top executives really know which factors will decide what city wins the battle for the $5 billion project Amazon has dubbed HQ2 But to the extent that workforce factors will influence the decision, Austin might face an uphill battle. An in-depth analysis compiled by labor-market analytics firm Emsi for the American-Statesman shows that the Austin metro area might...
In bid for Amazon’s HQ2, is Austin’s labor market a plus or a minus?

In bid for Amazon’s HQ2, is Austin’s labor market a plus or a minus?

Despite all the bluster about tax incentives, site selection and economic development experts insist that more mundane factors — especially workforce criteria – still hold the greatest sway over corporate relocation and expansion decisions.  Of course, we might have to toss all the usual expectations when it comes to Amazon’s plans for a second headquarters and the 50,000 high-paying...
Weighing the impact Amazon’s HQ2 could have on Austin — and its people

Weighing the impact Amazon’s HQ2 could have on Austin — and its people

The Austin area is one of 20 finalists for Amazon’s planned second headquarters2, a development expected to create 50,000 high-paying jobs and upend the winning city’s economy during coming years. The mere possibility of such a project has already reverberated across the Austin metro area, where residents and influences throughout various industries and populations − from entertainment...
From education to transportation to cost of living, weighing the impact Amazon’s HQ2 could have on Austin -- and its people

From education to transportation to cost of living, weighing the impact Amazon’s HQ2 could have on Austin -- and its people

By now, it’s common knowledge that Austin is a potential site for Amazon’s planned second headquarters. The Austin area is one of 20 finalists in the U.S. and Canada where the online retailer could build the project known as HQ2, a development expected to create 50,000 high-paying jobs and upend the winning city’s economy during coming years. Amazon said it will pick its destination...
Shop Talk: Austin first city to get new Office Depot concept BizBox

Shop Talk: Austin first city to get new Office Depot concept BizBox

Office Depot executives could have chosen any city in the nation to roll out BizBox, their latest offering. But they picked Austin – and you’ll now find BizBox, which offers a variety of services to small business owners, inside 14 Central Texas Office Depot stores. The Office Depot/BizBox combo offers “everything you need to start and grow your business under one roof,” according...
Friday Tech Crawl: watchdogs target FCC and Sinclair, Google removes ‘View Image’ option and does holding up your phone do anything for reception?

Friday Tech Crawl: watchdogs target FCC and Sinclair, Google removes ‘View Image’ option and does holding up your phone do anything for reception?

Happy Friday, Austin! Here are some of the tech stories we’re watching early today: The New York Times is reporting that the committee that oversees the Federal Communications Commission launched an investigation into whether ownership rules changed a year ago by the FCC directly benefited Sinclair Broadcasting, which shortly after made a $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. The deal...
H-E-B makes digital bet, buys Austin-based delivery service Favor

H-E-B makes digital bet, buys Austin-based delivery service Favor

Already the grocer with the largest footprint in Texas, H-E-B is making a big bet on digital as it looks to ensure continued growth. The San Antonio-based chain said Thursday that it has acquired Austin-based Favor Delivery, an app-based delivery service with a network of more than 50,000 runners statewide delivering restaurant meals, groceries and a lot more, almost around the clock. Financial terms...

Business Digest: Developer buys 126 acres in Cedar Park

REAL ESTATE Developer buys 126 acres in Cedar Park Thompson Morris Real Estate Development has purchased 126 acres in Cedar Park, with plans to develop a mixed-use project at a key intersection. The land is at the northwest corner of East Whitestone Blvd (RM 1431) and Sam Bass Road. “This parcel is uniquely positioned to benefit from Cedar Park’s growth from regional employers like Apple...
Talking with Texas Standard about high-tech ways to watch the Winter Olympics

Talking with Texas Standard about high-tech ways to watch the Winter Olympics

This week on the “Texas Standard” radio show, we talked about new ways to watch the Winter Olympics, including viewing broadcasts in 4K quality and getting a virtual-reality view of the sports. Unfortunately, there are lots of hoops to jump through (for viewers) in order to take advantage of these technologies. You can hear the segment on the Texas Standard website or listen...
Texas deer breeders challenge ruling on state’s disease regulations

Texas deer breeders challenge ruling on state’s disease regulations

Some breeders of captive deer for the multibillion-dollar Texas hunting industry are continuing their fight against the state’s wildlife agency and its regulations aimed at curbing the spread of a deadly contagious disease that can infect the animals. A court ruling last fall upheld the authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to enact rules to curtail chronic wasting disease, which...
Severely burned victim sues Amazon after hoverboard fire destroys his home

Severely burned victim sues Amazon after hoverboard fire destroys his home

Irvin R. Love was searching Amazon for the perfect Christmas gift for his girlfriend’s daughter when a hoverboard popped up at a bargain price. >> Read more trending news  But the $264 hoverboard that was supposed to make Christmas 2015 special ended up torching Love’s Georgia home and leaving him so badly injured that doctors resorted to placing cadaver skin over his severe...
Central Texas homes sales, prices set January records

Central Texas homes sales, prices set January records

The Central Texas housing market kicked off 2018 showing continued strength, with home sales and the region’s median sales price both at record highs for the month of January, the Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday. January’s year-over-year increases came despite a housing supply crunch in the Austin area, signaling that 2018 could be another strong one for the local market, the Austin...
Does sale of subsidiary Mozy give any clues about Dell’s longer-term plans?

Does sale of subsidiary Mozy give any clues about Dell’s longer-term plans?

As Dell Technologies continues to examine the potential for major changes in its operational strategy, the Round Rock-based tech giant is also making smaller moves. Dell has agreed to sell one of its subsidiaries, cloud backup firm Mozy Inc., to Carbonite for $145.8 million in cash. Based in Boston, Carbonite also performs cloud backup and protection services.  The sale is expected to close...
Retailer H-E-B buying Austin-based delivery service Favor

Retailer H-E-B buying Austin-based delivery service Favor

Already the grocer with the largest footprint – by far – in Texas, H-E-B is making a big bet on digital as it looks to ensure a future filled with continued growth. The San Antonio-based chain said Thursday that it is buying Austin-based Favor Delivery, an app-based delivery service with a network of more than 50,000 runners statewide delivering meals from restaurants, groceries and a...
Ads showing up on your phone unexpectedly? Try these tips

Ads showing up on your phone unexpectedly? Try these tips

A friend of mine using an Android phone recently found that some apps, particularly social media ones, were starting up with full-screen ads attached and displaying more ads when she quit out of them. The problem started when she did a recent update of her phone and some of these apps.  The first thing to know is that, particularly on Android, the ads that you’re seeing may not necessarily...
Eanes warns businesses about spending money with marketing company

Eanes warns businesses about spending money with marketing company

The Eanes school district is warning local business owners to watch out for a misleading marketing pitch that might make business operators think they’re advertising with the school district when they aren’t. A local real estate agent reached out to the school district to ask if they’d heard from a company called Neighborhood Outreach Marketing, a company claiming that the realtor...
H-Mart, beloved Asian grocery chain, opens first Austin store Thursday

H-Mart, beloved Asian grocery chain, opens first Austin store Thursday

The wait for H-Mart is almost over. The beloved Asian grocery chain will open its first Austin store Thursday at 11301 Lakeline Blvd. in Northwest Austin. Festivities start at 10:30 a.m. H-Mart took over a pair of storefronts previously occupied by Sports Authority and Bed Bath & Beyond and has been working for months to transform the 68,670-square-foot space near Lakeline Mall. The Austin store is...
SXSW: One month out, 2018 edition is taking shape

SXSW: One month out, 2018 edition is taking shape

Here it comes. In less than a month, downtown Austin will again be transformed and foot-trafficked into exhaustion when South by Southwest begins on March 9. How many people will there be?  Last year, SXSW conference events attracted 70,696 attendees and the entire event, including festival shows, had 421,900 direct participants, according to SXSW. With a schedule in place, a heavy roster of...
Cedar Park lures transportation tech startup Hyliion from Pittsburgh

Cedar Park lures transportation tech startup Hyliion from Pittsburgh

A Pennsylvania-based startup that develops electric hybrid technology for the trucking industry is moving its headquarters to Cedar Park with plans to create more than 200 new jobs. Hyliion is relocating following an economic incentives package of up to $1.27 million that was approved by the Cedar Park City Council this month. The company, founded in Pittsburgh in 2015, designs, manufactures and installs...
SpaceX cancels one incentives contract with state; Musk says South Texas site still in company’s plans

SpaceX cancels one incentives contract with state; Musk says South Texas site still in company’s plans

SpaceX has canceled the smallest of its incentives agreements with the state that have provided taxpayer money to help it build a spaceport in South Texas, although company founder Elon Musk indicated recently that the launch site remains in his plans.  The company terminated a deal reached with the office of then-Gov. Rick Perry in late 2013 that earmarked $2.3 million from the Texas Enterprise...
Oracle picks Austin as home for its first U.S. startup accelerator

Oracle picks Austin as home for its first U.S. startup accelerator

Software giant Oracle has chosen Austin for its first U.S. startup accelerator program. The Startup Cloud Accelerator announced today follows the recent completion of Oracle’s 560,000-square-foot campus southeast of downtown Austin.  Oracle, the second-largest software company in the world, will pick five to six startups focused on cloud technology to take part in the six month program...
EXCLUSIVE: Whole Foods 365 planned for Plaza Saltillo

EXCLUSIVE: Whole Foods 365 planned for Plaza Saltillo

Lots of restaurants have popped up in East Austin in recent years, offering residents a plethora of dining options – with even more on the way. But despite all that development, there are still few options for folks looking for a place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and other necessities to cook a made-from-scratch meal at home. Some have even referred to the area as a “food desert...
World Class completes acquisition of 3M’s Austin campus

World Class completes acquisition of 3M’s Austin campus

World Class Property Co. has closed on the purchase of 3M’s 1.3-million-square-foot campus in far Northwest Austin. The price was not disclosed. The campus sits on 158 acres off RM 2222 and RM 620 in Austin’s high-tech corridor, making it a rare office campus in one of the fastest-growing cities in America, Nate Paul, president and CEO of World Class, said in a written statement. &ldquo...
Venture capitalist Peter Thiel cancels on SXSW panel talk

Venture capitalist Peter Thiel cancels on SXSW panel talk

Peter Thiel, the controversial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist, has canceled a scheduled appearance at this year’s South by Southwest. Thiel was scheduled to appear at 5 p.m. March 10 on a panel titled, “Conspiracy?! Peter Thiel with Author Ryan Holiday,” in which the two would discuss the story behind Holiday’s book, “Conspiracy,” which...
Survey: A break for Austin-area apartment renters at last

Survey: A break for Austin-area apartment renters at last

Ever since 2010, Austin-area renters could count on one thing: Renting an apartment was going to get more expensive every year. For the past seven years, Central Texas’ job and population growth, coupled with a lagging supply of apartments, led to “a steady drumbeat of increasing rents,” said real estate consultant Charles Heimsath, who tracks the Central Texas apartment market....
Commentary: Would Amazon avoid conservative Texas for HQ2? Think again

Commentary: Would Amazon avoid conservative Texas for HQ2? Think again

Amazon’s choice of a location for its second headquarters has led to much eye-of-the-beholder appraisal of the relative positives and negatives of the 20 cities on the most recent “short list” released by Amazon. Among the several factors Amazon is weighing that is frequently cited as a black mark against the two remaining Texas candidates, Austin and Dallas, is the conservative...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

AUSTIN’S HQ2 EDGE? As Amazon weighs HQ2 sites, Austin has best cost of living for tech workers: As Amazon ponders its final decision on where to locate its $5 billion second headquarters project, will the retail giant factor in how far its workers’ salaries would go in whatever city it chooses? If so, a new study by online jobs marketplace Hired.com could help Austin’s chances for...

Up the Ladder

Industry associations The Austin Board of Realtors has named Amy Everhart director of public affairs. Health care ESO Solutions has named Brent Myers chief medical officer. Homebuilding industry Builder Homesite has named Kevin Krone to its board of directors. Law firms Cornell Smith Mierl & Brutocao has named Susan Burton a partner, changing the firm’s name to Cornell Smith Mierl Brutocao &...
Five lessons from successful Roblox game developer Andrew Bereza

Five lessons from successful Roblox game developer Andrew Bereza

Andrew Bereza, an 18-year-old student at the University of Washington, had more success as a game developer before he got to college than many who’ve spent their entire careers working in the industry. He started early, playing on the popular gaming-for-kids platform Roblox before he was 10 years old. By the time he was 14, he was building his first game and at 15, he found a hit with ...
Austin alcohol sales jump 11 percent in December

Austin alcohol sales jump 11 percent in December

December was an especially lucrative month for bars, hotels and restaurants in Austin and statewide, according to an American-Statesman analysis of state data. Citywide, alcohol sales hit $64.1 million, up 11 percent from $57.8 million during December 2016. Across Texas, bartenders poured $618.5 million worth of beer, wine and mixed drinks, an increase of 12 percent compared to the same month a year...
Friday Tech Crawl: Facebook testing downvote button, Amazon may get into business shipping and watching Winter Olympics online 

Friday Tech Crawl: Facebook testing downvote button, Amazon may get into business shipping and watching Winter Olympics online 

Happy Friday, Austin! Here are some of the tech stories we’re taking a look at this morning: Controversy erupted on social media Thursday on reports that Facebook is testing out a button allowing users to downvote content, but it turns out the social media giant only intends to use it for moderating comments, not for telling your relatives you disapprove of their political posts in a passive-aggressive...
Walmart gets creative with new tech design center in downtown Austin

Walmart gets creative with new tech design center in downtown Austin

The latest corporate giant tapping into Austin's tech talent pool just happens to be the world’s largest retailer.  Walmart has opened an engineering hub downtown that features all the perks you’d find at a young, cutting-edge startup. Located at the former home of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at Fourth and Colorado streets, Walmart ATX will develop emerging technology such as machine...

Austin’s Forestar Group selling assets in $232 million deal

Less than a year after it made a bid to take over Austin-based Forestar Group, Connecticut-based investment firm Starwood Capital Group is now buying a chunk of assets from the Austin real estate development company. Starwood Capital Group said Thursday that is teaming with an affiliate of Land Strategies Management to purchase 20 community development projects from Forestar Group. The deal is valued...
Talking to Texas Standard about what’s new with self-driving cars

Talking to Texas Standard about what’s new with self-driving cars

This week on the “Texas Standard” radio show, we’re revisiting a popular topic: how soon will self-driving vehicles be here for us to buy and board in our daily lives? The answer... not just yet! But perhaps soon. We look at power-consumption challenges in self-driving cars, what companies are pulling ahead, and what Tesla says it hopes to do very soon (as in during 2018). ...
Gas prices heading higher across Texas

Gas prices heading higher across Texas

Gas prices in Texas have gone up recently as part of a surge in the oil market that has pushed costs higher across the country. The average price of unleaded fuel in Texas was $2.35 per gallon as of Thursday, a 26-cent increase over the same week last year, according to auto club AAA Texas. In Austin, the average price was $2.35 per gallon, up 26 cents year-over-year and a 21-cent jump since Dec....
Frontier Airlines adding nonstop flights from Austin to 14 cities

Frontier Airlines adding nonstop flights from Austin to 14 cities

Frontier Airlines is betting big on Austin, with the airline announcing that it is adding flights from Austin to 14 new cities in April. The discount carrier said Thursday the additions will mean it serves a total of 30 destinations from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Frontier is adding nonstop flights to: Albuquerque, N.M. (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday...
Frontier Airlines adding nonstop flights from Austin to 14 new cities

Frontier Airlines adding nonstop flights from Austin to 14 new cities

Frontier Airlines is betting big on Austin, adding flights to 14 new cities in April. The discount carrier said Thursday the additions will mean it serves a total of 30 destinations from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Frontier is adding nonstop flights to: Albuquerque, N.M. (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday flights) Buffalo...
Sorry, gamers: cryptocurrencies have ruined the market for high-end graphics hardware 

Sorry, gamers: cryptocurrencies have ruined the market for high-end graphics hardware 

Woe to the builder of a new gaming PC or a gamer who’s been saving their money to buy a new, high-end graphics card this year. The market, to put it bluntly, is as we say in Spanish, el crappo for buyers as the price of high-end video hardware has spiked dramatically. Graphics cards using Nvidia or AMD silicon that used to cost in the $300-$500 range have doubled and in...
Survey gives Austin high marks for tech workers’ cost of living. Could that help its chances at Amazon’s HQ2?

Survey gives Austin high marks for tech workers’ cost of living. Could that help its chances at Amazon’s HQ2?

As Amazon ponders its final decision on where to locate its $5 billion second headquarters project, will the retail giant factor in how far its workers’ salaries would go in whatever city it chooses? If so, a new study by online jobs marketplace Hired.com could help Austin’s chances for landing the project, which Amazon has dubbed HQ2.  In a survey of major U.S. tech hubs, Austin...
Toys R Us, Babies R Us liquidation sales start

Toys R Us, Babies R Us liquidation sales start

Toys R Us announced last month that it would be closing many of its stores across the country. In an updated list the company issued Wednesday, 144 of its Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores will close. The company also announced that nationwide liquidation sales begin Wednesday. These are sales just at the stores that are closing and will not be matched at other Toys R Us stores.  A release...
Florida man surprised by Amazon delivery guy walking around his home

Florida man surprised by Amazon delivery guy walking around his home

A Florida homeowner ran into an unusual intruder after having a package delivered to him. >> Read more trending news  Michael Lentini was in his Sarasota home when he heard his elevator door open,  WFLA reported. While he was expecting a delivery from Amazon, he did not sign up for the Amazon Key service, which allows delivery workers to leave packages inside a...
Austin airport getting Delta Sky Club location

Austin airport getting Delta Sky Club location

Delta Air Lines will open a Sky Club location at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in 2019. The members-only club, accessible to Delta passengers who either pay an annual fee or fly a certain number of miles each year, will be located near Delta’s gates at the airport, the carrier said. Spanning about 9,000 square feet, Austin’s Sky Club location will offer food and drinks from local...
Whole Foods rolls out first ad campaign since Amazon merger 

Whole Foods rolls out first ad campaign since Amazon merger 

After almost six months of being owned by Amazon, Austin-based Whole Foods Market has launched a new TV and digital advertising campaign that appears to be aimed at showing off the variety of products and services that the grocer offers.  Each of the ads are short segments. One ad depicts a man shopping for cheese and being served by a Whole Foods employee that said he went to &ldquo...
With $20 million raised, makers of ‘Crowfall’ want to give demanding gamers what they’ve been missing

With $20 million raised, makers of ‘Crowfall’ want to give demanding gamers what they’ve been missing

About five years ago, two guys who had worked in the Austin video games industry for a very long time and who were at separate companies decided to leave their jobs at roughly the same time. J. Todd Coleman was creative director at KingsIsle Entertainment, working on games like the kid-friendly online hit “Wizard101.” Gordon Walton was working for Disney after a stint as general manager...
Tech Crawl: More on the Dell merger talks, and will ESPN Plus be worth your time?

Tech Crawl: More on the Dell merger talks, and will ESPN Plus be worth your time?

Good morning, Austin techsters. A happy Wednesday to you. As we hit the midpoint of the work week, here’s a look at some of the tech-related stories making news and generating buzz around the Internet today. If you’ve been paying attention to news about Dell Technologies, you know the Round Rock-based tech giant recently confirmed that it is pondering major changes -- including a potential...
Commentary: Why U.S. needs immigrant labor to sustain economic growth

Commentary: Why U.S. needs immigrant labor to sustain economic growth

Two recent incidents illustrate for me America’s current quandary over immigration. The first came during my return to Austin from a needed midsummer break in Colorado. My friend and I made a wrong turn somewhere south of Lubbock. As a result, we drove through small towns we otherwise would have never seen. What we saw was heart-wrenching: boarded-up storefronts and empty streets. It felt like...
These are the 5 biggest stock market crashes in US history

These are the 5 biggest stock market crashes in US history

The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 500 points Tuesday as stocks looked to recover from their biggest one-day point drop in history the day before. CNN called it “the scariest day on Wall Street in years.” >> Read more trending news  While the point-decline was the worst in history, Monday’s numbers were nowhere near the worst stock market crashes...
‘The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia’ and ‘Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition’ lead new games

‘The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia’ and ‘Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition’ lead new games

“The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia.” (Out Friday) The anime series makes its console game debut via Bandai Namco as a fast-paced fighting game with 3-D environments from the series. Rated T for Teen. $60 for PlayStation 4. “Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition.” The well-regarded 2-D action game about warriors-for-hire gets a new push upon its Nintendo Switch debut....
Texas Monthly denies pay-for-play allegations, hires ombudsman

Texas Monthly denies pay-for-play allegations, hires ombudsman

Texas Monthly has made a high-profile hire as the magazine continues to push back against allegations its February cover story on the CEO of Austin-based dating site Bumble was the result of a pay-for-play arrangement. The Austin-based magazine said it has hired former American-Statesman editor Rich Oppel to serve as a “third-party ombudsman.” Oppel, whose news team won three Pulitzer...
Work starts on mixed-use project in East Austin

Work starts on mixed-use project in East Austin

Cielo Property Group has broken ground in East Austin on The Foundry, a mixed-use office and residential project that will become the new regional office for DPR Construction. DPR, which will serve as general contractor on the project, has leased 30,000 square feet in the three-story, 76,000-square foot office portion of The Foundry, at Fourth and Comal streets. Eleven of the project’s 17 condo...
UPDATE: Amazon says Super Bowl ad wasn’t a hint that HQ2 is coming to Austin

UPDATE: Amazon says Super Bowl ad wasn’t a hint that HQ2 is coming to Austin

Take a step back, everyone. Amazon’s Alexa Super Bowl ad -- which opens with a woman asking Alexa for the weather in Austin -- led to much speculation and Twitter debate. At question: Was the spot a hint at the future location of the online retail giant’s second headquarters? Or was it just a coincidence that Austin is one of the final U.S. cities vying for HQ2 and the 50,000 jobs and...
Texas Monthly’s Bumble cover: Magazine denies pay-for-play allegations

Texas Monthly’s Bumble cover: Magazine denies pay-for-play allegations

Texas Monthly has made a high-profile hire as the magazine continues to push back against allegations its February cover story on the CEO of Austin-based dating site Bumble was the result of a pay-for-play arrangement. The Austin-based magazine said it has hired former American-Statesman editor Rich Oppel to serve as a “third-party ombudsman.” Oppel, whose news team won three Pulitzers...
INSIGHT: Why the biggest winners in Amazon’s HQ2 contest will be white men

INSIGHT: Why the biggest winners in Amazon’s HQ2 contest will be white men

Amazon may be hosting the biggest – and most economically important – reality show ever as city mayors compete to snag the retailer’s second headquarters. And just like TV, it has a diversity problem. More than 230 cities made the initial bid, and just recently Amazon whittled that list down to 20 that will go on to the next stage of the competition. Contestants have gone to great...
Austin oil & gas tech startup RigUp lands $15.8 million to fuel growth

Austin oil & gas tech startup RigUp lands $15.8 million to fuel growth

Austin oil and gas technology startup RigUp has landed $15.8 million to fuel its growth. Founded in 2014, RigUp has built an online platform that connects oil and gas companies and service companies.  Oilfield operators can use the RigUp platform to solicit vendor bids from service companies, automate pricing analysis and meet environmental, health and safety mandates. RigUp received the...
Under Amazon, what does the future hold for Whole Foods’ 365 brand stores?

Under Amazon, what does the future hold for Whole Foods’ 365 brand stores?

Prior to its sale to Amazon, Whole Foods Market envisioned its own innovation through the launch of a new store concept. Named after the grocer’s private label brand, 365 by Whole Foods Market was promoted as a smaller, more value-driven option that would cater to younger shoppers and bring Whole Foods into new markets when it was announced in 2015.  Then Amazon bought Whole Foods...
Arby's closes $2.9 billion deal with Buffalo Wild Wings, forms new company

Arby's closes $2.9 billion deal with Buffalo Wild Wings, forms new company

Fast food giant Arby’s completed its deal to buy Buffalo Wild Wings on Monday and created a new company named Inspire Brands that will run the chains. >> Read more trending news  Inspire Brands will oversee Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and a small chain with about 30 locations called R Taco. Arby’s, known for its meaty sandwiches, has more than 3,400 restaurants in...
Slump in smartphone sales hits Austin’s Cirrus Logic; shares tumble

Slump in smartphone sales hits Austin’s Cirrus Logic; shares tumble

Hit hard by a downturn in the smartphone market, Austin-based chipmaker Cirrus Logic on Monday said it had a significant drop in both revenue and profit in its fiscal third quarter. Cirrus Logic’s third quarter revenue fell from $523 million in 2016 to $482.7 million last year, a drop of 7.7 percent. More significantly, revenue was far below Wall Street projections, which were for $531...
Did Super Bowl ad hint that Austin will land Amazon’s HQ2?

Did Super Bowl ad hint that Austin will land Amazon’s HQ2?

So, did an Amazon Super Bowl ad just give us a hint that Austin is going to land the company's $5 billion second headquarters project? The Internet is buzzing after the e-commerce giant specifically mentioned Austin in its commercial for Amazon’s Alexa product. For the unfamiliar, Alexa is a voice-activated, artificial intelligence-based personal assistant. Or as Amazon describes it: &ldquo...
Asian grocer H-Mart set to debut first Austin store

Asian grocer H-Mart set to debut first Austin store

The wait for H-Mart is almost over. The popular Asian grocery chain has confirmed it will open its first Austin store on Feb. 15 at 11301 Lakeline Blvd. in Northwest Austin. H-Mart took over a pair of storefronts previously occupied by Sports Authority and Bed Bath & Beyond and has been working for months to transform the 68,670-square-foot space near Lakeline Mall. The Austin store will be the first...

Up the Ladder

FINANCE Kestra Financial has named Kris Chester chief operating officer. Next Coast Ventures has named Jeff Browning partner. Netspend has named Kelley Knutson president. TECHNOLOGY SAM LLC has named Christopher Solomon chief executive officer and Robert Butler Jr. chief operating officer. Xplore Technologies has named Tom Wilkinson chief executive officer. Decibel Insight has named Even Walser chief...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

HOUSING FORECAST Experts say expect another strong year for Austin housing market: This year’s housing market in Central Texas could shake out much like last year’s, with labor and lots in short supply, strong demand due to job and population growth — and a continued rise in home prices. That was the outlook this past week from real estate expert Eldon Rude, delivered at an annual...
JUST IN: Two Austinites sentenced to federal prison for defrauding Dell Inc., officials say

JUST IN: Two Austinites sentenced to federal prison for defrauding Dell Inc., officials say

A federal judge sentenced two Austinites Friday to more than two years in prison for defrauding Dell Inc. and the Internal Revenue Service, federal officials said. Kelly Nunn, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of submitting a false income tax return. Bryan Wallace, 55, pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Prosecutors said the two conspired from January...
Texas regulators take swing at another cryptocurrency company

Texas regulators take swing at another cryptocurrency company

Texas securities regulators are finding that their efforts to clamp down on shadowy cryptocurrency companies has something in common with the arcade game whack-a-mole. Just weeks after issuing the country’s first state-level decrees against firms allegedly peddling fraudulent cryptocurrency-related investments, the Texas State Securities Board on Friday announced another emergency cease-and-desist...
Super Bowl ads with Texas ties: H-E-B, Shiner, avocados, Budweiser

Super Bowl ads with Texas ties: H-E-B, Shiner, avocados, Budweiser

While there’s no Texas team in Sunday’s Super Bowl, there are plenty of other connections between the big game and the Lone Star State. That’s especially true when it comes to the ads that will air during the game’s television broadcast. One was partially filmed in Elgin, another promotes a beloved Texas grocery chain and two others were created by Austin-based ad agencies...
Super Bowl ads with Texas ties: H-E-B, Shiner, avocados, Budweiser

Super Bowl ads with Texas ties: H-E-B, Shiner, avocados, Budweiser

While there’s no Texas team in Sunday’s Super Bowl, there are plenty of other connections between the big game and the Lone Star State. That’s especially true when it comes to the ads that will air during the game’s television broadcast. One was partially filmed in Elgin, another promotes a beloved Texas grocery chain and two others were created by Austin-based ad agencies...
Amazon’s HQ2: Where in Austin could it land?

Amazon’s HQ2: Where in Austin could it land?

When Austin made the list of 20 finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters project, it spurred a new local guessing game: If the online retail giant did pick Austin, where would the new development be built? The Statesman checked in with some Austin-area real estate brokers, developers and economists for their predictions for where it could land. Those picks vary greatly for the project, which...
The Amazon guessing game: Where in Austin could HQ2 go?

The Amazon guessing game: Where in Austin could HQ2 go?

When Austin made the list of 20 finalists for Amazon’s second headquarters project, it spurred a new local guessing game: If the online retail giant did pick Austin, where would the new development be built?  In its proposal for the Amazon project, dubbed HQ2, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce submitted 40 to 50 potential sites. While the chamber declined to discuss specifics...
Texas medical pot firms may see competition if feds OK new drug

Texas medical pot firms may see competition if feds OK new drug

The new medical cannabis dispensaries in Texas have persevered despite high state licensing fees, a rigid regulatory environment and prospects for a severely restricted customer base.  But just as they’re harvesting their first crops and working to bring initial medications to market, another hurdle is on the horizon — in the form of a pharmaceutical company’s experimental...
Dell confirms reports that it’s considering an IPO or even a reverse merger with subsidiary VMware

Dell confirms reports that it’s considering an IPO or even a reverse merger with subsidiary VMware

Dell Technologies has confirmed reports that it is exploring an initial public offering or merger with VMware, a publicly held cloud computing company in which Dell has majority ownership. The Round Rock-based tech giant said in a securities filing that aside from considering the IPO or merger, it could also remain operating as is, and it also ruled out a sale to a third party.  Dell&rsquo...
Friday Tech Crawl: Apple, Amazon and Alphabet post earnings, HQ Trivia funding and Instagram’s push into... text?

Friday Tech Crawl: Apple, Amazon and Alphabet post earnings, HQ Trivia funding and Instagram’s push into... text?

Happy Friday, Austin! Here are some of the tech stories we’re reading about this morning. Yep, it’s that time when three tech titans reveal how much more money they’re making than the rest of us. On Thursday, Apple, Amazon and Alphabet all released mixed earnings reports with a few interesting surprises. For its part, Apple gushed about increases in revenue, but some financial sites...
Talking about tech for the tiniest tots with Texas Standard

Talking about tech for the tiniest tots with Texas Standard

This week on the “Texas Standard” radio program, we talked technologies targeted at infants, particularly items such as baby monitors, gear to take a baby’s temperature, and what exactly the guidelines are for screen time for kids. You can hear the segment on the Texas Standard website or listen to it below:
Medical cannabis company makes first delivery to a Texas patient

Medical cannabis company makes first delivery to a Texas patient

A six-year-old girl suffering from a rare form of epilepsy received an order of Texas-produced medical cannabis on Thursday morning, marking the official opening of the state’s highly restricted but much-anticipated market for the treatment that’s derived from a non-psychoactive extract of marijuana. Cansortium Texas, a division of Florida-based Cansortium Holdings, announced the...
New owner for 2 office buildings near Zilker Park

New owner for 2 office buildings near Zilker Park

Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group has sold an office complex near Zilker Park. Rollingwood Center I and II, a pair of office buildings at 2500 Bee Cave Road with 214,300 combined square feet of space, have been acquired by Lionstone Investments, a real estate-focused investment firm. HFF represented Endeavor in the transaction. The purchase price was not disclosed. The Travis Central Appraisal...
Austin's Bazaarvoice completes sale to private equity firm

Austin's Bazaarvoice completes sale to private equity firm

 Executives with Austin-based software maker Bazaarvoice said Thursday they have completed the company’s sale to Marlin Equity Partners, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm.  The sale's close comes after Bazaarvoice shareholders on Monday voted overwhelmingly to approve the sale.  The deal called for Marlin Equity Partners to acquire all outstanding common stock of Bazaarvoice...
Group of 10 Austin lawyers leave Graves Dougherty for McGinnis

Group of 10 Austin lawyers leave Graves Dougherty for McGinnis

A dozen attorneys have left prominent Austin law firm Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody since the beginning of the year, including 10 who started working at rival McGinnis Lochridge on Thursday, marking a significant shift in the local legal community. The moves come after merger talks between Graves Dougherty and McGinnis Lochridge, both venerable Austin firms, failed to result in a deal last year...
Thursday Tech Crawl: People are spending 50 million fewer hours a day on Facebook, eBay ditches PayPal, plus more technology news

Thursday Tech Crawl: People are spending 50 million fewer hours a day on Facebook, eBay ditches PayPal, plus more technology news

Good morning, Austin! We have scrolled the internet to bring you the latest in tech news. Here are the latest headlines: Mark Zuckerberg warned in January that radical changes he's making to return Facebook to its roots connecting friends and family would curtail how much time people spend there. He was right. Those changes that got underway last quarter are already hitting engagement numbers, reducing...
Couples left in the dark after wedding venue closes; owner getting a divorce 

Couples left in the dark after wedding venue closes; owner getting a divorce 

A Pennsylvania wedding venue has suddenly closed, leaving couples without a location for their wedding. > Read more trending news  Shae Musolino and her fiancé Richard had been planning to get married at the Washington County venue in September. “Nothing, no warning, nothing, no email, no contact,” Musolino said.  According to The Barn's Instagram page, the venue hosted...
Is it time to break up with your underperforming router?

Is it time to break up with your underperforming router?

A reader, David, asks: “We use Spectrum for our internet service only and have been having problems with slow connectivity over the past few months, ranging between 1.1 and 28.7 Mbps when I run a speed test. We have had Spectrum come out four times but they have not been able to fix the problem, even after checking all of the cables and connections and using one of their own modems. The service...
Experts: Expect another strong year for Austin housing market

Experts: Expect another strong year for Austin housing market

This year’s housing market in Central Texas could shake out much like last year’s, with labor and lots in short supply, strong demand due to job and population growth — and a continued rise in home prices. That was the outlook Wednesday from real estate expert Eldon Rude, delivered to more than 600 builders and other industry professionals at an annual housing forecast event. The...
Despite tax hit, Austin’s Silicon Labs says strong growth continues  

Despite tax hit, Austin’s Silicon Labs says strong growth continues  

Despite taking a fourth-quarter tax hit, Austin’s Silicon Labs ended last year with strong sales that executives say puts the company on the path to becoming a “$1 billion company.” After a long stretch of record profits, the chipmaker on Wednesday reported a loss for its fourth quarter -- but said a one-time tax payment was to blame, rather than any downturn in the company&rsquo...
Asian grocer H-Mart sets opening date for its first Austin store

Asian grocer H-Mart sets opening date for its first Austin store

The wait for H-Mart is almost over. The beloved Asian grocery chain has confirmed it will open its first Austin store on Feb. 15 at 11301 Lakeline Blvd. in Northwest Austin. H-Mart took over a pair of storefronts previously occupied by Sports Authority and Bed Bath & Beyond and has been working for months to transform the 68,670-square-foot space near Lakeline Mall. The Austin store will be the first...
Commentary: Why Texas laws have breweries shedding tears in their beer

Commentary: Why Texas laws have breweries shedding tears in their beer

The direct result of a new law will discourage out-of-state entrepreneurs from opening new breweries with taprooms in Texas and limit the growth of existing ones. Special interests are at work to obtain government favors, the bitter fruit of which can be partially seen in the recent shakeup at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The alcoholic beverages market in Texas functions under a three-tier...
Tech Crawl: AMD’s good vibes continue, and a self-driving car that’s for stuff, not people

Tech Crawl: AMD’s good vibes continue, and a self-driving car that’s for stuff, not people

Good morning, Austin. A happy Wednesday to you. Here’s a look at some of the tech-related stories that are making headlines and generating buzz around the Internet this morning: Advanced Micro Device’s shares are rising this morning, following the chipmaker's mostly positive quarterly earnings report on Tuesday. Boosted by its processor sales, AMD reported a jump in both revenue and profit...
Austin tech firm National Instruments reports fourth-quarter loss

Austin tech firm National Instruments reports fourth-quarter loss

Austin-based technology company National Instruments Corp. on Tuesday reported a fourth-quarter loss of $24.3 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier. On a per-share basis, the Austin, Texas-based company said it had a loss of 18 cents. Earnings, adjusted for pretax expenses, were 35 cents per share.  The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate...
New co-working space in East Austin targets startups working for social change 

New co-working space in East Austin targets startups working for social change 

Austin startups tackling big social and environmental issues will soon have a new place to work and collaborate. The Center for Social Innovation is launching a 10,000-square-foot co-working space for founders tackling issues such as education, climate change, access to healthcare and poverty. “The world is experiencing an emergence of social enterprise spilling out of our universities, nonprofits...
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