Established in 1989, ATI is the longest active technology incubator in the United States
ATI is a deep tech incubator affiliated with The University of Texas at Austin that serves student and faculty entrepreneurs and community founding teams to explore deep technology solutions that address the world’s challenges. ATI is a unit of Discovery to Impact at UT. Through deep engagement and deep connections, we help our member companies commercialize their breakthrough innovations – contributing to The University of Texas at Austin’s promise of “what starts here changes the world.”
The essence of the Austin Technology Incubator. Deep Tech. Deep Engagement. Deep Impact.
For over 30 years, ATI has used a customized approach to support entrepreneurs addressing the world’s most complex problems by connecting startups with the expertise, relationships, and funding sources they need to succeed in the marketplace. Through partnerships with local and national investors and funding sources, a dedicated mentor community, trusted professional and strategic partners as well as universities and other community affiliations, we are dedicated to supporting deep tech solutions that will become the future for today’s global problems. By deep tech, we mean recently established startup solutions founded on breakthrough scientific discoveries and engineering innovations with a focus on sustainability (circular economy, energy, food and agtech, mobility, and water). We are an engine to growth and a stimulator to meaningful and proven economic development.
We continue our foundational commitment to further build and expand the startup ecosystem that Austin is so proudly known for –– as a city of innovation and entrepreneurship that fosters the best environment for its economy and citizens. Developing new technologies and enabling entrepreneurs to have deep impact in the marketplace for the benefit of our society is a proven ATI heritage.
ATI: The Vision of Entrepreneurial Icon George Kozmetsky
Founded in 1989 by Dr. George Kozmetsky and first led by Laura Kilcrease, the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) has been a key catalyst in developing Austin’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems. In the late 1980’s, Austin was in an economic downturn, and vacant buildings dotted the landscape. George Kozmetsky, founder of the IC² Institute and a visionary in his quest to leverage entrepreneurship to solve the world’s challenges, understood that Austin’s success in attracting large technology firms provided a fertile ground to spawn technology-oriented start-up and spin-off firms. Kozmetsky wanted to leverage these assets to build an innovation economy, so he convened academic, business, and community leaders and launched the Austin Technology Incubator in 1989. At its founding, ATI secured three years of funding from the City of Austin, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Travis County and an anonymous donor (widely understood to be Kozmetsky himself) and ATI was off to the races.
A National Model for Technology Business Incubation
Since its inception, ATI has had a dual purpose: to serve the university as an education and research laboratory for entrepreneurship and technology venturing, and to serve as a regional catalyst for economic development. For more than 30 years, ATI has been central to assisting university and community based entrepreneurs with building successful business teams, supporting technology ventures and facilitating access to capital. By mentoring innovators across campus and beyond, working with the regional business community to strengthen emerging technology sectors, and graduating high growth ventures into the local, state and national economy, ATI has maintained the reputation as one of the nation’s finest models for technology business incubation.
“The solutions to many critical issues and problems demand an integrated, holistic, and flexible approach that blends technology, management, and scientific, socio-economic, cultural, and political ramifications in an atmosphere of profound change and extreme time compression.”
– George Kozmetsky (1993)
Driving Economic Development and Prosperity in Austin and Beyond
From 1989 to 2006, ATI was the only established technology-based business incubator in Austin. As regional research and education assets, and economic development activities evolved and matured, so did ATI and its verticals. Surprising its founders, 170 companies applied to participate in ATI’s inaugural cohort, with about 20% of applicants applying from out of state. From 2005 to 2017 alone, over 1000 companies have applied for consideration to join ATI as a member company. From 1989 to date, ATI has graduated over 300 member companies; contributed over $3B economic impact to Central Texas, with 10 IPOs; over 50 mergers & acquisitions and helping raise over $1.7B for member companies over the past 12 years alone.