Austin advertising agencies stand among nation’s best

A pair of Austin advertising firms took home national honors last week for their work making other local companies look good.
McGarrah Jessee received gold recognition for companies with 76-150 employees and Greatest Common Factory earned a silver medal for companies with one to 10 employees at the July 19 Ad Age Small Agency of the Year Awards in Nashville.
At the time of the award nomination, McGarrah Jessee employed 149 people. It has since grown to 151 workers — so it no longer qualifies…

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Money in America: How do Austin’s most affluent neighborhoods compare statewide?

Four Austin neighborhoods rank among the most affluent in the state.
As part of a national project, Austin Business Journal took a look earlier this month at the most affluent pockets of Austin — and found the area of the urban core east of I-35 has experienced faster growth than anywhere else in the region.
The research behind the analysis looked at thousands of cities, villages and unincorporated areas nationwide. That allowed for the comparison of locales from across the U.S. Click through…

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New Braunfels pursues landmark urban transformation for historic downtown

The Hill Country community wants to leverage less than $16 million in public funding into nearly $119 million in private investment and completely transform the area around its town circle. Check out the preliminary plans being drawn up.

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From Snake to Flappy Bird: The Rise of Mobile Gaming

Over the last few years, mobile games have become a significant staple of popular culture around the world. Games like Angry Birds, Pokémon Go, and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood are incredibly popular, to the point where even individuals who would never consider themselves gamers have probably played at least one of those titles for hours on end.

While mobile gaming may not necessarily be replacing the more traditional video gaming platforms, there is certainly something about smartphone titles that attracts players. Arguably the most obvious of these reasons is their accessibility. After all, as long as you have access to a smartphone or tablet, you can download almost any game you like and play to your heart’s content whenever and wherever you please.

Mobile gaming, including freemium titles that require no money at all from the player to purchase or play, brought in a total revenue of $36.9 billion back in 2016, an 8.5% rise in revenue when compared to 2015. For the first time in history, mobile gaming generated more money than PC gaming, an astonishing feat considering the enduring popularity of the PC platform.

More recently, this year’s report from Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report, the company that provided the 2016 information, revealed that the mobile gaming industry’s legacy continues to thrive. The report states there are 2.2 billion gamers around the world expected to generate $108.9 billion by the end of 2017, with mobile gaming remaining the most lucrative sector. Mobile gaming has grown by an astonishing 19%, rising to $46.1 billion and claiming 42% of the total gaming market. Additionally, the report predicts that by as early as 2020, mobile gaming will cover over half of the total games market.

Even platforms that are equally as modern as mobile games have entered the fray, with many web-based sites creating companion apps to meet customer needs. For example, one of the UK’s leading online bingo sites Sun Bingo has created an app for customers who prefer mobile gaming over visiting the browser-optimized site or who simply don’t have the luxury of gaming from a desktop. The site manages to fit all its 75, 80, and 90-ball experiences into the smaller package, in addition to a range of slot machines and scratch cards.

These statistics are clearly very impressive, but it is important to note that mobile games were successful long before the invention of smartphones as well. In fact, journalist and former editor of PocketGamer Keith Andrew has stated in the past that mobile games were “healthier” before iOS and other smartphone systems were introduced. “[The audience] was happy to pay $3-5 for a game and a larger portion of those working on mobile titles were turning a profit” Andrew explains, noting smaller developer numbers in the past.

So, where did it all start?

For almost as long as there have been mobile phones there have been mobile games. It all began with preloaded or embedded titles using monocrome, matrix graphics that were controlled by the handheld devices buttons. Perhaps the most well-known of these games is Snake, which was introduced on the Nokia 6610 in 1997.

Following the introduction of Wireless Application Protocol, also known as WAP, mobiles were finally able to connect to the Internet thus changing the industry forever. As the 1990s came to a close, development company Unwired Planet finally managed to create a microbrowser that was instantly picked up by Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia. Unfortunately, WAP was still quite primitive and so good client-server games hosted online were few and far between. It would be a few more years before the Internet and mobile gaming came together properly, but thankfully Nokia came to the rescue again, introducing the world to the Nokia 7110 complete with WAP and Snake II.

In the early 2000s, camera phones with color screens as well as increased download capabilities and storage space entered the market. Mobile games that utilized these improvements swiftly gained popularity in Japan, leading to a variety of puzzle and virtual games that used built-in cameras, many of which would go on to inspire the US market. Again, Nokia took the reigns and attempted to create a dedicated mobile gaming platform named N-Gage, though it did unfortunately fail.

It wasn’t until 2008 when Apple launched the App Store that Nokia’s original dream became a reality. Due to technological developments, consumers were able to access, download and store hundreds of mobile games on their devices. Of course, other brands followed suit and before you knew it mobile games had reached an entirely new level.

These days, it would be extremely difficult to find someone with a smartphone that doesn’t have at least one game saved to their device and, as the industry continues to thrive, that task will only become less realistic. So, what are your favorite mobile games or are you one of the few that has managed to avoid the appeal of Flappy Bird or Bubblewitch?  Let us know in the comments below.

The post From Snake to Flappy Bird: The Rise of Mobile Gaming appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.

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Whurley to be keynote speaker at SXSW 2018

Other speakers include Austin-based Ingrid Vanderveldt, chairwoman and CEO of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020.

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NXP to invest $22M in Austin, Arizona to make chips more secure for U.S. government

NXP Semiconductors NV is pouring millions of dollars into its United States manufacturing operations, including in Austin, to produce more chips that meet the rigorous standards needed for technology that protects national secrets.
The Netherlands-based company announced July 20 plans to spend $22 million to expand its production capabilities in the Texas capital and Chandler, Arizona.
The expansion will allow NXP (Nasdaq: NXPI) to produce more secure chips for U.S. government agencies, including…

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So it’s not necessarily a fun process. Here’s my attempt to help.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that BB-8 piggy banks exist.

Last week I met with two graduates from the most recent cohort of DivInc, a pre-accelerator in Austin addressing the lack of diversity in the world of tech and startups. One of the topics that arose was fundraising — less about how much to raise, but more so whom to meet with and pitch. I suggested to start by building a list of 50–100 potential investors, and then determining the best way to connect with and get introductions to those investors.

It wasn’t until after the meeting that I really stopped to think about my suggestion. Most of my career has been on the other side of the table: listening to and evaluating pitches, not delivering them. I have never been in the position where I needed to ask anyone — friends, family, angels, institutional investors — for the capital to execute on an idea, and to develop a business around said idea. And worst of all, I had never actually done the task I had suggested.

To remedy this shortcoming I’ve begun listing out angel investors based here in Austin, as well as the local venture firms and their investment professionals. Right now the spreadsheet with these names (linked below) is divided by firms and individuals, though there is overlap as several of those individuals invest both personally and on behalf of their firms.

Link: Austin Early-Stage Investors Spreadsheet

My overall goal in creating this spreadsheet was to build a living resource for founders who aren’t sure how to approach fundraising. I just have two asks for anyone still reading at this point:

  1. Share this spreadsheet with any founders who a) live in Austin, b) are moving their companies to Austin, and/or c) want to raise capital from Austin-based investors.
  2. Reach out if there are any additions or corrections to both maintain and improve the quality of this spreadsheet.

Finally, if there is a third ask, it’s this: have empathy. My original suggestion to these two founders may have been useful, but I’ve never been in their position. Building this spreadsheet wasn’t easy — yet it’s only a single step in the fundraising process. Seeing my friends as they begin this process has opened my eyes to how much more I have to learn about building companies. Or more frankly, it’s slapped me into a state of understanding their experiences. Thanks again for the grounding — and best of luck on the fundraising path.

This is not how you grow plants by the way.

Two more inspirations for this post: Steve O’Dell (who published a spreadsheet of over 1,700 investors located in the Bay Area), and Lu Milevskyi (who launched a database of 2,400 investors around the world). Full credit to them for, you know, spending the time to collect information on several thousand investors.

Fun[?]draising was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Another multifamily tower to rise high above Austin’s Rainey Street

Add another proposed apartment high-rise to the glut of construction in the Rainey Street area.
Lee Development & Construction of Austin aims to build a roughly 33-story tower at 48 East Ave., the Austin American-Statesman repots, although design hasn’t been finalized.
No zoning change is required for the project, which will cost an estimated $60 million, the Statesman reports. Lee Development CEO Robert Lee told the newspaper he hopes to obtain building permits from the city and break ground by…

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Former Dell, HomeAway exec lands at Experian

He once headed up merger-and-acquisition strategy for Dell, and later worked as chief of staff to the chairman of the board and CEO at HomeAway.

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Fintech startup extends roots in Asia with new Japan office

A fledgling fintech company is courting new customers and investors abroad. According to its CEO, the infrastructure and size of the Japanese market make the move a no-brainer: "From a payments standpoint it’s a completely developed market."

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