When it comes to entrepreneurs in Austin, Kerry Rupp of True Wealth Ventures said the city aims to be successful together instead of being competitors.
“In Austin the leadership in the entrepreneur community has fully embraced the idea of raising all the ships,” she said. “… We’re all figuring out how to make the ecosystem of Austin successful and not ‘how can I get mine?’”
Rupp and three other women entrepreneurs spoke to a group at South by Southwest Conferences & Festivals on March 12 about the challenges they faced and offered advice to other women seeking to create their own startups.
After selling her last company in 2012, Jan Ryan founded Women@Austin, an initiative designed to help women build trusted connections, gain visibility and find mentors and new sources of capital.
“We really did not have a lot of connections in Austin, she said. “There wasn’t a good ol’ girls network, if you will.”
Ryan and the other SXSW Interactive panelists discussed how Austin’s ecosystem is different than other cities.
Laura Bosworth, CEO and co-founder of Northwest Austin-based TeVido BioDevices, which uses a person’s own tissue for 3-D bioprinting tissue solutions, said after exiting the corporate world she was surprised that people in Austin were willing to meet with her.
“I was just blown away by the amount of sharing and willingness to give you ideas and make introductions,” she said.
Ryan said she spent years being mentored and not realizing it. She would find a colleague, often a male, doing something well and would set out do it.
“That’s where it starts,” she said. “Being an entrepreneur is not some elusive, far away thing for anyone. … It starts with that ability to be curious about something and expand your horizons a little bit.”