Tag: start-ups

Made In Austin career fair matches technology start-ups with students

Local tech start-ups want to keep as much homegrown talent in town as possible.
So they created Made In Austin, a job fair that matches area students with start-ups looking for technology talent.
The first event, featuring 100 tech companies and more than 500 registered students, took place Tuesday night at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center downtown.
The 3-hour job fair, which started at 6 p.m., drew a big crowd of students, some guys dressed in suits and ties, others wearing hoodies, jeans and polo shirts and some women in sweater dresses and knee-high boots.
The event organizers banned swag like free T-shirts, stickers and other giveaways. The crowd munched on pizza bagels and brownies and drank ice tea.
Jacqueline Hughes, founder of Austin Start-up Week, organized the event along with Joshua Baer, head of the Capital Factory and OtherInbox. Other organizers included Campus2Careers and other start-up companies. Large companies like American Express, Dell and Rackspace sponsored the tech meet-up.
At the OtherInBox table, Baer, CEO, had already collected several resumes and talked with lots of people. Baer has hired from local universities to fill openings at his start-up in the past. In fact, OtherInBox’s lead product developer started out as an intern when he was a student at St. Edward’s University.
“It’s worked really well for us,” Baer said. “ I love hiring really great experienced people. I also like hiring inexperienced passionate people who I can teach.”
Luke Carriere, who just founded Approachab.ly a few weeks ago at 3 Day Start-up Weekend San Antonio, had a place at a table recruiting Android and iPhone developers, Bluetooth and Near Field Communication specialists. He was also looking for marketers and sales staff.
“I’m looking for business majors who might be able to help me with market research,” Carriere said.
Events like Made In Austin help Carriere network and make connections that eventually help to further his business, he said. At a mobile conference a few weeks ago, he met a guy who has joined him to become technical co-founder of his start-up.
“What’s been amazing is meeting people who want to help you by opening up their rolodexes,” he said.
The event provided an opportunity to recruit young talent, said Ramin Jahedi, CEO and founder of CaniSolutions, restaurant consultants. He runs the start-up FindWaiters.com.
“Our market is just exploding,” Jahedi said. Early on during the evening, he had already collected a few resumes and talked with several people.
Patrick Mizer at SpareFoot also talked to a lot of students and planned to follow up with a few of them following the fair.
“We are looking to hire some young engineering talent,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of success hiring engineers in their last year of college.”
Kevin Chu, a junior majoring in management information systems at the University of Texas, attended the fair to find a Spring internship.
“Start-ups give you the opportunity to learn more,” he said. “They’re small so you can do a variety of jobs.”
Linda Ye, a junior majoring in management information systems, was also looking for a Spring internship with a start-up. She already has a summer internship set up with a large company.
“Austin is a start-up city,” Ye said. “Start-ups tend to be more flexible with hours. They are also able to teach you a lot. Start-ups fit me the best right now.”

Evernote: The 100-Year Start-up

Most start-up entrepreneurs talk about exiting the company within five to seven years, but not Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote.
“We’re creating the 100-year start-up,” Libin said. He also calls it “The Forever Start-up.”
Evernote explicitly does not have an exit strategy, Libin said. He doesn’t want to sell the company or take it public or merge with someone else. He’s building something that he loves and he wants his customers and employees and everyone else to love it too.
That’s a pretty bold strategy for a Silicon Valley-based technology company. But the 100-year startup appears to resonate with the least likely crowd, the venture capitalists, which have given Evernote $100 million. Investors include Sequoia Capital, Morgenthaler Ventures, Troika Dialog and DOCOMO Capital.
“I may not be the CEO 100 years from now but I would like to be involved in the company,” Libin said. “There’s no exit strategy. That permeates everything we do.”
Libin spoke at the official opening of its first U.S. satellite office in Austin on Thursday.
“Austin is the ideal place to try this first,” Libin said. “Austin is a great place to build things. Austin is a crappy place to raise money.”
But Evernote already has its money in the bank and now it needs talent to create and expand its product line. That’s why Austin and Evernote make the perfect fit, Libin said.
Evernote also has offices in Tokyo and Moscow. And in the next few months, Evernote will open additional offices in Europe, Beijing and Singapore. Libin believes in going where the most talented people live. He wants to keep the “studio” offices small and nimble like start-ups but connected to each other as part of a larger mission. That mission is to put Evernote in the hands of everyone on the planet.
A Japanophil, Libin explained that Japan has many companies that are 100 years old. The country and its people believe in long term planning. He wants to combine that business longevity and ethics with a start-up’s ability to quickly change and adapt to the marketplace.
Evernote’s business model is not “clever” or “complex,” Libin said. Its model is to build something great that people will pay for, he said.
“We want Evernote to be a tool, like a hammer is a tool,” Libin said. “The right tools change your brain.”
“With Evernote, we want you to know you’ll never have to forget anything again,” Libin said.
Evernote is a free application that lets people take and save notes. It also offers a premium version that costs $5 a month or $45 per year. Its paid product offers bigger upload capacity, greater sharing options, a note history, better search tools and no ads. Evernote has more than 17 million customers worldwide and of those about 800,000 pay to use the product.
“Our product becomes more valuable over time,” Libin said. “People hate to be forced to pay for things. But people love to pay for things they love.”
In the first month, less than 1 percent of Evernote users pay for the product, but by the third year, more than 20 percent are paying, Libin said.
“We want people to use this for the rest of their life,” he said.
Evernote has more than 17 million users worldwide.
“This is all organic growth,” Libin said. “This is word of mouth growth in a little over 3 years.”
Evernote, founded in 2007, has never taken out ads or done traditional marketing. Its never appeared during the half time of the Superbowl like some other technology start-ups.
“Everything we do – all of our efforts – are put into making the best possible products,” Libin said. “We want the first time you hear about Evernote not to come from us, but to come from a buddy in a bar.”
Evernote also recently acquired Skitch, a free app that allows people to draw pictures to communicate ideas. Skitch takes communications back to the stick in the sand concept, Libin said. E-mail has become a frustrating way for many people to communicate, especially visual ideas, he said. Skitch makes it easy, he said. Anyone, who works with their hands, in the blue or white collar industries will like Skitch, Libin said.
The Evernote family of products now includes Evernote, Evernote Peak for education, Skitch and Evernote Clearly, which creates a better reading experience online. Evernote plans to add two more “super-secret mystery” products this winter, Libin said.
Evernote has 115 employees, tripling in the last year, Libin said.
“We’re hiring like crazy,” he said.
The Austin Evernote office hopes to have 25 employees by the end of year and has space to hold up to 60 employees, Libin said. It’s mostly looking for product designers, artists, engineers and product managers, but it also hires writers, marketers and others. Libin worked in Austin more than 10 years ago. He lived in Boston and commuted to Austin to head up a company called Engine 5, which he sold to Vignette in 2000.
“We’re really happy to be here,” Libin said. “I really developed a huge sense of respect for Austin and building things.”

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