techstarslogoFor the first time half of the Techstars Austin cohort hails from Austin.

This is the fourth class for the popular Techstar accelerator in Austin and the first one led by its new managing director, Amos Schwartzfarb.

“It was not intentional,” Schwartzfarb said. “We were very location agnostic. It wasn’t a field in the spreadsheets we have….I do think it’s a testament to how the community is really evolving and growing in Austin.”

The theme is as much as possible no theme, Schwartzfarb said.

“We were really looking for things that were interesting that were pushing limits – innovative in some way in the space they were already playing in,” he said.

The program begins Feb. 15th and runs through May with Demo Day scheduled for May 19th.

“During SXSW Techstars will have a presence here and our teams are highly encouraged to go get out of the office and take advantage of all the people coming to town,” Schwartzfarb said. “They’re encouraged to go out and meet potential customers and meet potential investors.”

“I think this is a really phenomenal class I can’t wait to get started and get under the hood with everyone and see what kind of fantastic things come out the other side.”

The local startups include, a platform to connect authors with publishers led by Monica Landers, David O’Brien and Henrik Kjallbrin and CarServ, a platform that transforms communication and workflow in the auto repair industry led by Marshall Mundy. The others are, photography services led by Sam Ulu and Maria Walley, PenPal Schools, a global education platform led by Joe Troyen and Miguel Vazquez and Popup Play, founded by Bryan Thomas and Amelia Cosgrove.

Another close-by startup is The Helper Bees, a service that connects seniors with local helpers, based in Georgetown, founded by Char Hu, Danny Lynch and Eric Corum.

And Remidi, the maker of a wearable musical instrument, is listed as being based in Turin, Italy and Austin with founders Andrea Baldereschi, Andrea Bulgarelli, Marco Casolati, Mark DeMay and Alberto Forneris.

Bamba Group, a web-based data collection tool, hails from both Toronto, Canada and Nairobi, Kenya. Its founders include Al Ismaili, Faiz Hirani and Shez Tejani.

Casabots of San Jose, Calif., a general purpose commercial cooking robot, is founded by Deepak Sekar.

FieldVine, a task management construction tool based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is founded by Ray Antonino, Rebecca Antonino and Adam Michel.