High-Tech Hot Spots

1. Austin, Texas

Crack open a couple of celebratory Lone Star beers. So many flights shuttle between Austin and San Jose, local techies dub the planes "Nerd Birds." With the University of Texas providing a bedrock of brains, the city is home to Dell, lots of dot-com Wunderkind (like Rx.com), thriving tech companies (PcOrder, Vignette Corp. and more) and thousands of start-ups.

Glenn West, former president of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, shared the insider's perspective:

Why it's hot: "We have critical mass--there are over 1,700 technology companies in greater Austin," West says. "The work force is highly educated, the costs of doing business are comparatively low, and the quality of life is high."

What's not so hot: "The labor market is tight, the region is coping with rapid growth, and many complain about the air service--the lack of frequent nonstops to other business centers," West says.

Hot networking spot: Topping West's list: The Headliners Club downtown and, "for young tech types," the Barton Creek Club. Austin venture capitalist Bob Fabbio cites the Metropolitan Club.

Power eats: Breakfast at the Four Seasons Hotel. Do lunch or dinner at Ztajas Grill--"it's in the arboretum area of the city, where many tech companies are," says West. Another standby: the Marriott Renaissance Hotel.

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This article was originally published in the November 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: High-Tech Hot Spots.

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