On October 26, Princeton Entrepreneurship Council (PEC) partnered with Princeton Club of Austin (PCA) to host TigerTalks on the Road: Venturing in the Austin Tech Scene.
This TigerTalks event was yet another success in PEC’s popular panel discussion series and was one of the biggest Austin alumni events ever.
The talk spotlighted Austin’s growing tech startup scene through the lens of people who are on the cutting edge. They were greeted by the enthusiastic crowd of fellow alumni and friends. Marcus Stroud '16, Co-Founder and General Partner of TXV Partners, a venture capital firm headquartered in Austin, moderated the discussion.
Austin has increasingly become the new hub for entrepreneurship. Leslie Robinson S*12, panelist and founding director of UT Austin’s newly launched Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurship Institute, explained that Austin’s startup community is highly collaborative and leverages many active incubators and accelerators. "The rising tide lifts all boats in Austin," Robinson said, adding "there is something for everyone."
Panelist Lauren DeMeuse '06 is an Executive in Residence at 8VC, an Austin-based venture firm supporting the long-term economic and social value of technologies and the life sciences. She echoed Austin’s inclusive environment. Despite her relatively recent move from Silicon Valley to Austin, DeMeuse noted Austin’s distinct synergistic community. In addition to the thriving venture capital community, Austin’s tightly connected ecosystem allows for conversations across different perspectives. "This is what makes this place special, entrepreneurs can take advantage of ideas from all different areas," DeMeuse said.
Another panelist was Scott Britton '10, co-founder of Troops, a company developing tools to improve sales velocity, forecasts, visibility and collaborations, or as Britton refers to it "the Slackbot for sales teams". As Troops evolved into a remote company during the pandemic, Britton moved his operation from New York City to Austin, which "is very livable and good for a work-from-home lifestyle." Salesforce acquired Troops in July 2022, and Britton is now with Salesforce as their Chief Technology Evangelist.
And Michael Carvin '04, co-founder and CEO of SmartAsset, rounded out the panel. SmartAsset, a unicorn, has a financial advisory platform intended to connect consumers to financial advisors and financial products in a way that allows them to make smart personal finance decisions. Carvin agreed with Britton's view about Austin being both a livable city and a collaborative ecosystem. Carvin said that Austin’s supportive entrepreneurial community is key to helping businesses navigate turbulent times, especially in the post-pandemic world.
The panelists all noted the profound impact Princeton had on their careers. Relationships and connections at Princeton helped them segue into the startup world and eventually to launch their own companies. The discussion came around to the changes on Princeton’s campus, with all of them saying they are happy to see that Princeton has been moving quickly to develop new entrepreneurship programs, and that they wished those types of programs had been in place during their time on campus.
TigerTalks is Princeton Entrepreneurship Council’s signature panel discussion and networking series with events hosted around the USA and globally. Each features faculty and alumni entrepreneurs discussing a particular topic from both founder and funder perspectives. In the past, discussions have focused on a variety of industry sectors, including high-tech, fin-tech, life sciences, social impact and arts entrepreneurship.
To co-host a TigerTalks entrepreneurial event, please reach out to PEC’s Associate Director of Alumni Engagement, Don Seitz '79 at [email protected].