Dean Kakridas, managing director of Fresh Consulting

Dean Kakridas remembers the old Austin tech scene.

And by old, he is talking about 2003 when he landed here. But he’s also spent time in Europe, Asia, and Silicon Valley.

For the past 18 years, he’s worked in a variety of roles and has seen Austin’s technology scene mature and expand. During that time, he has experienced explosive growth in Austin and throughout the state of Texas, which is the second largest in the U.S. Texas also has the 10th largest gross domestic product globally and four of the top 11 U.S. cities, according to Kakridas.

Now, he is the managing director of Fresh Consulting, which is based in the Seattle area. Last October, Kakridas launched the Austin office. This year, Fresh Consulting plans to have 15 employees in Austin. It is a product and digital innovation firm that creates software, hardware, robotics, and more for its clients, which include Dell, CBRE, Dell, and Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas.

“Texas is like its own booming country,” he wrote in a blog post. “I believe Texas, and specifically the capital of Austin, was the perfect location for a fast-growing company like Fresh.”

Kakridas is a former director of business development for frog design. In his role at Fresh Consulting, he acts like the Wizard of Oz behind the scenes. He works with a variety of tech companies in the areas of design, strategy, and engineering.

“We help companies invent the future – especially their own future,” Kakridas said.

“Fresh Austin is uniquely strong in hardware and software technology and innovation. We’re very excited about helping growing Texas companies with digital transformation and product development in robotics, industrial automation, mobile autonomous systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning, AR/VR, and similar technologies.”

The timing is right for Fresh Austin, Kakridas said.

“COVID has really been an accelerant,” Kakridas said. “It shows that it doesn’t matter if you’re in the same city anymore.

The pandemic “has proven among many other things, that distributed workforces can perform just fine, and often even better, when equipped with the right tools, approaches, and partners,” Kakridas wrote in a blog post. “Blended workforces (internal and external thinking and executing at velocity) are redefining how organizations innovate and drive optimal products and successful business outcomes.”

Fresh Austin also works with a lot of funded startups on product development and strategy, Kakridas said.

“We speak their language,” he said.

But Fresh Austin also works with established companies.

“Everybody’s moving to Austin,” Kakridas said. “All of these big companies are coming here, and they need help. We can help them be all they can be.”

The Fresh Austin office also services clients in Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston, Kakridas said.

“My team can get in a car and drive to any one of those cities in a few hours or less from Austin,” he said.