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March 18, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Is life sciences Austin’s next big thing?

Talk at South by Southwest suggests that could be the next big play for the State Capital of Texas.

Is the next big thing for Austin, TX in the life sciences?

That was certainly the talk during a recent session at SXSW, also known as South By Southwest. And it clearly focused on the assets that the Texas State Capital already has. The conversation wasn’t about one specific breakthrough or new innovation. Instead, the talk was more conceptual, focusing on a vision of how the city and that other UT (University of Texas) can radically reshape the region’s place among national leaders in life sciences.

As described in this post from that other shade of orange university, “Austin is still one of the most desirable cities to live in the United States. Venture capital and entrepreneurs are always looking for innovative ideas. Smart money is always looking for the Next Big Thing. Now, go after the talent.”

The University of Texas “has already supersized its commitment to medical research. With the Dell Medical School, the upcoming UT Medical Center, and MD Anderson Cancer Center all working in conjunction with world-class engineering, robotics, nursing, pharmacy and additional leadership on campus, it’s hard to imagine how UT can’t make life-changing breakthroughs.”

The region that was long known for Dell Computers and more recently known as the place where Elon Musk has has set up shop has produced a number of unicorns over the years.

In an article from 2022, TechCrunch wrote that “Austin wasn’t an overnight success. For years it was known primarily for its software scene — in addition to being the live music capital of the world. But today, new growing sectors include crypto/web3, real estate tech, CPG and insurance technology. As in other maturing markets, companies that have seen success in the past are now spawning a new generation of entrepreneurs as well as attracting others from various locales.”


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