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Austin to Test Auto-Pilot Buses | Arrive Logistics Raises $10M+

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
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First Up

Brent: Which Austin tech company is the coolest? I have a few ideas, but it's your time to decide.

View our 2018 Coolest Companies finalists and go to our Reader's Choice voting here to vote for your pick to win All Around Coolest. Reader's Choice voting ends July 16, so spread the word and get your votes in!

Also, for comedy fans out there, Dave Chappelle today announced that he'll do a show in Austin at the realtively small Stateside Theater tomorrow night. Tickets go on sale at 4 p.m. today. Talk about short notice.

Now, let's kick a Beat...

The Big One

A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.

The Next Chapter of Autonomous Austin 

A couple years ago at SXSW, I checked the little pedometer in iPhone's native health app after half a week of walking to the bus, walking from the downtown stop to the convention center and all places in between. As I recall, I clocked about 15 miles. Good urban exercise, for sure. But that trip from Republic Square to the convention center is more than enough for many people who are carrying bags or have mobility issues or when the weather sucks.

That's just one of the scenarios in which Austin's forthcoming autonomous mini buses could help. 

By the end of next month, Austin could be on its way to having the nation’s largest public driverless bus pilot project operating on its downtown streets. It will start with a testing phase where the city and its partners, Capital Metro and RATP Dev USA, evaluate the performance of six 15-passenger buses for up to 60 days. Meanwhile, the city will begin accepting proposals from autonomous vehicle makers to lease driverless busses for a year while it monitors for safety and reliability.

No routes have been picked yet. But the electric buses will likely connect to City Hall, the new Central Library and regular bus and rail stops in the downtown area. They’d have an employee on board to ensure safety and run on a loop with pick ups every five to seven minutes. The rides, at least during the pilot project, will be free.

Capital Metro wants to lead the charge – to be among the first transit agencies in the United States to showcase this technology to our ‘smart’ city,Randy Clarke, Capital Metro’s president and CEO, said in a news release. “I believe this will be the largest public AV bus pilot in the country.

To be sure, auto-pilot buses have already been tested in Austin and other cities around the globe since about 2016. But these technologies take time to mature. And now, it looks like Austin feels its ready for this step, which, as I see it, can help set Austin up for additional autonomous vehicle activations -- especially considering all the testing Google, now Waymo, has already done here over the past few years. 

Making Moves

Inside the people, companies and organizations making moves today.

UT Adds New Biz + Tech Degree

The University of Texas is adding a new dual degree honors program that pairs the school's high-ranking business and computer science programs for a select group of high-achieving students. It's called the The Texas Honors Computer Science and Business program -- or CSB for short. They probably could have called it the tech startup founders degree, since it equips computer engineers with business knowledge and business leaders with tech knowledge. While UT is a massive school, this program will be very selective. It's a promising development for students and for Austin's tech scene since it's likely to help generate more high-quality startups. 

Alamo Drafthouse Tests Its Own MoviePass

Tons of people are using MoviePass, a subscription plan that lets you watch movies at a variety of theaters for one monthly price. Now Alamo Drafthouse is testing out its own version of that in New York, the ABJ reported. No set price yet, but the pass would give you unlimited movies for a month. Now, if they just set it up a beer subscription plan, we'll be set ;-)

Austin Companies on Fortune's Best Workplaces for Millennials

WP Engine is the only Austin company to make Fortune's new "100 Best Workplaces for Millennials." The company ranked No. 61. Surprisingly, several construction, insurance and professional services companies in Texas were also ranked high on the list of top companies for the generation. The top three overall were Ultimate Software (Florida), Salesforce (California) and Edward Jones (Missouri). 

In The Know

The Inno stories you need to read today.

How Ballogy Built a Metrics and Analytics Platform for Young Athletes (Inno)
Yes, It’s Already Time to Pitch Your Panel for SXSW 2019 (Inno)
Uptake Lands Deal to Provide A.I. Software to U.S. Army (Inno)
AI Has a Race Problem (Bloomberg)
– Scooter companies tried to barge into San Francisco and got kicked out. Now they’re making big promises to get legal. (Recode)

New Money

Your daily funding roundup.

Arrive Logistics Lands $10M+

Arrive Logistics, an Austin-based freight brokerage startup that uses tech to make shipping more efficient for clients, has raised more than $10M in a Series A funding. The company declined to share a specific amount. The round was led by Lead Edge Capital, a growth-stage VC firm with offices in New York and Santa Barbara. The company, founded in 2014 by Matt Pyatt and Eric Dunigan, now has more than 450 employees in Austin and Chicago. It plans to expand to 600 by the end of the year. It reported generating $30M in revenue in first-year sales and hit $145M in 2017. It expects to have $330M in revenue this year. 

In The Community

The events and happenings to know about tonight and this week.

Coming Up

Check out other interesting events in June in our latest Inno Approved events post.

Keeping Austin Weird & Wired

The fun stuff

When Austin Had Big Beaches

Stumbled upon a pile of maps that shows where cities were at during various stages of the Earth's development. Interestingly, there was a point, about 120M years ago, when waves from Gulf of Mexico were rolling up on shores where present day Austin is located. A bit more recently, however, we were fully underwater, along with Oklahoma and Kansas. Continuing our deep history, the waters receded south of Austin around 50 million years ago.

Here's a tool where you can map any address to various stages of the planet. 

Featured Jobs

Featured startup and tech jobs on Austin Inno's new Careers Directory.

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Meet The Author

Brent Wistrom

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