Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mitch Jacobson Talks about the Austin Technology Incubator

Mitch Jacobson Talks about the Austin Technology Incubator

Where are you from originally?  

Originally from Philadelphia, PA and grew up in Clearwater, FL

What university did you go to?  

 I have a business degree from University of Florida.

What brought you to Austin?  

I moved to Austin in 1989 to work for Dell and run one of the three sales organizations at Dell called Dell Direct.  I was with Dell for a total of 8 years.

What is your group’s mission? 

 The Austin Technology Incubator’s mission is to harnesses business, government and academic resources to provide strategic counsel, operational guidance, and infrastructure support to its member companies to help them transition into successful, high growth technology businesses. 

What need does it fulfill?

ATI is a resource for entrepreneurs in the IT / Wireless, Clean Tech and Bio Tech industries or spaces in the Central Texas region or for those who choose to move to Austin from other cities, states or countries.  We get our member companies connected to capital, talent, mentoring and professional services to make sure that their technology startup company has the best chance for long term success.

What exactly does it bring to startups?

As mentioned above, we get our member companies funded (ATI has an 85% success rate getting our member companies funded over the past 5 years).  We assist them in building their teams and finding talent, connections and introductions to potential customers, partners, professional services, mentors, talent and money.   We also assist them in the continuous discussion of strategy and direction of these companies.

What type of startup would benefit from your group?

ATI’s “sweet spot” for bringing a startup company on board as a member is one that is not too early or too late.  That means the founder(s) have spent some of their own money to get their idea into a prototype stage and are at the point of needing seed funding and mentoring to take their idea, product and company to that “next” stage.

What was the most challenging aspect of starting up the initiative?

ATI had been in business and a part of The University of Texas @ Austin for 24 years so we are not a start up and I was not around when this initiative was started. 

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

My advice for entrepreneurs is that once you have an idea for a product that solves a problem, make sure that you do a tremendous amount of research into the space that you are entering, and understanding the present competition that exists.  There is always competition no matter how good the ideal and technology may be.  Be persistent but not stubborn.  Be willing to change and pivot for the good of the long term success of the company.

What Austin-based resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?

The Austin Technology Incubator is just one resource in Austin and Central Texas for entrepreneurs.   Entrepreneurs in Austin are lucky in that many resources exist and we are partners with many other professional services companies, The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, The City of Austin, Austin Energy, The CleanTX Foundation, Symbiosis and The Rice Alliance, The Austin Technology Council, The Central Texas Angel Network, and many, many more. 

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