top of page


From Tumbleweeds to a Tech Powerhouse

Despite the groundbreaking success of companies like Dell and National Instruments and early technology consortia like the MCC and the University of Texas IC2 Institute, Austin entrepreneurs and investors needed help. 


Outside investors stipulated that the deal flow needed to be stronger and the entrepreneurs needed to be more seasoned to warrant a deeper investment; companies complained that Austin did not have the tech workforce required to drive decisions to relocate or expand into the city. In addition, there was a significant disconnect between Austin’s tech leaders concerning the ability to attract skilled talent to the area. 

It was clear, the Austin Technology Council, an industry organization created in 1992 to accelerate tech growth, needed to evolve quickly to prove to the market that Austin had an existing technology ecosystem worthy of investment.


The Austin Technology Council worked with Waymaker Group’s CEO Julie Huls to conduct a Tech Talent Innovation Ecosystem Study and Strategic Framework and to provide Governance & Organizational Capacity services to measure and strengthen tech talent attraction efforts, forge partnerships with regional educational institutions, and strengthen the Austin tech brand in the hearts and minds of tech-minded millennials.


We conducted a Tech Talent Innovation Ecosystem Study and found that Austin’s tech sector contributed $22B annually to the regional economy, which was a game-changer for a town that outsiders had characterized as “tumbleweeds in the streets.” From there, the team synthesized data into a ready-to-implement Strategic Framework, developed a cohesive vision, and forged public-private partnerships that helped grow Austin’s GDP 35% from 2011 to 2016.

  • Innovation Ecosystem Study: Tech Impact Study 

  • Strategic Framework

  • Governance & Organizational Capacity Services

& Findings

  • Defined $22B tech eco impact in 2009

  • Grew tech impact to $30B by 2017

  • Regional GDP growth 35% from 2011-2016 

  • Outpaced national GDP growth 3x


“Every city needs somebody like Waymaker. Julie has a unique talent to position stakeholders ahead of the curve while managing the fears and resistance typically associated with change.
Her energy, vision, professionalism and attention to detail are unmatched.”
— Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer, SXSW

bottom of page