The core value proposition of ATI: we will surround your company with talent that you probably can’t yet afford to buy – our professional staff, our mentor and advisor and investor networks, and our connection to the students and faculty at The University of Texas at Austin.
We configure that talent around your company on a case-by-case basis. We work with you to determine how we can best add value, what projects are highest priority, and how we should team to get the work done.
Our approach is highly collaborative. It is also frequently challenging. The teams that get the most out of ATI tend to be those who want to have their thinking tested and are willing to adjust course based on dialogue and feedback (including, especially, market feedback.)
Although we will work with you to customize a program of initiatives to support your success, some elements of the ATI experience are shared by many of our members.
These 2-4 hour working sessions with the ATI team and, usually, relevant external advisors – in which we try to mutually understand the key issues facing your company, and how we can best work together to address them – are the core of the ATI experience. Most subsequent work (and introductions and networking) flow out of these engagements.
Leverage from ATI interns
Internships at ATI are competitive and highly sought after by UT-Austin students from many programs. (ATI interns have gone on to post-degree careers with elite consulting and banking firms, Federal judicial clerkships, high-demand corporate roles, top-tier advertising firms, and start-up founding teams, among other opportunities.) Interns can work on company projects either supervised by ATI directors, or on “secondment” to ATI member companies.
Support from UT-Austin classes
Many UT-Austin faculty want to use the real world problems faced by ATI companies as “living case studies” for their students. As a result, we are often able to convene a team of students, supervised by their UT professor and graded for their work, around key issues that our member companies face. These have ranged from valuation, to customer research, to marketing collateral design. The student teams are supervised by UT faculty and graded on their work.
“Members only” knowledge-building programs
ATI regularly schedules “members only” programs that address issues faced by many start-ups. These programs are “taught” by senior, experienced start-up team members in the ATI network in an interactive format, usually over lunch. Recent subjects addressed have included how to read and react to term sheets, how to build a great team (and separate from non-aligned team members), how to best leverage social media in business-to-business marketing, and other topics.
“Members (and investors and advisors) only” networking opportunities
When you join ATI, you are not just joining the Incubator. You are joining a club of entrepreneurs. Each member of ATI had to hit the same hurdles that you did. And, over our 20+ years, ATI has incubated companies for some of the most successful technology entrepreneurs in Austin. We invest in creating opportunities for you all to get to know and learn from each other – sector-specific dinners and lunches for current members; cross-sector happy hours for current members, alumni, and investors and advisors; and alumni events.
The Emerging Technology Fund
In 2005, the State of Texas set aside $100 million to invest in early stage, high growth companies that could have job creation impact. A requirement to receive ETF funding is that the company have a significant connection to a Texas university. Membership in ATI satisfies that requirement. 12 ATI companies have received ETF funding – accounting for more than a third of the awards given in the Central Texas region.
At ATI, we have observed that skilled, cost-efficient professional help – from law firms, financial firms, public relations houses, and other professional service providers – is a key to start-up success. However, we are also very aware that these services, done right, can be expensive, and that entrepreneurs need a neutral advisor when selecting their professional partners. As a result, we have built a database of professional service providers who have successfully worked with other ATI companies, and who may offer special terms to ATI members. (ATI is not a pay-to-play enterprise. No-one can buy their way onto our trusted partner list. The referral needs to come from a fellow-entrepreneur who testifies to the quality and value received from the service provider.)
ATI produces, co-produces, or sponsors some of the most important events in the emerging technology sector in Austin. These events establish thought leadership; provide opportunities to interact with local, national, and international investors and executives; and let you know Austin’s early stage community intimately. They include:
- The Clean Energy Venture Summit (cleanenergyventuresummit.com), the leading clean tech event in Texas. CEVS attracts 30+ national clean tech investors, close to 100 applicant clean tech start-ups, and hundreds of attendees. The 5th annual event will be held September 2011.
- Texas Wireless Summit (www.twsummit.com), the most important wireless industry conference in the region. TWS co-hosted by UT-Austin’s Wireless Networking and Communications Group (WNCG). This year’s event, the 8th annual, is October 25, 2011.
- The Wireless Seed-Stage Funding Forum (www.seedstageforum.com) focuses on matching seed- and pre-seed-stage wireless companies (both hardware, software, and apps) with qualified investors.
- MobileMonday Austin (www.mobilemondayaustin.com), which supports the mobile developer and application community.
- Semantic Web Austin (www.semanticwebaustin.com), which is positioning Austin for national leadership in the emerging semantic web / "web 3.0" space.
- symBIOsis (www.symbiosisaustin.org), is the largest life sciences-focused event that brings the commercial life sciences community into UT Austin.