6 Austin startups and VCs win Blazers at the Inno Fire Awards
By Brent Wistrom – Editor, Austin Inno
More than 100 local innovators, investors and startup supporters got together on Wednesday night to see which Austin companies won a Blazer award in Austin Inno’s 2023 Fire Awards.
The Blazer winners are startups that were voted as the top companies in their category in the annual Inno Fire Awards. This year’s Fire winners included 35 local startups, venture capital firms and accelerators. Check out all 35 companies.
One by one, the Blazer winners were announced and founders and other company representatives came up to the stage and put on their red blazer jackets to celebrate the win.
First up was the mergers and acquisitions category.
The Fire winners included CesiumAstro, Curative, Data.World, OJO Labs and SetPoint.
And the Blazer winner is… Curative!
Sometimes an acquisition can open a whole new line of business. That was the case for Curative. Initially known for their hard work on Covid-19 testing, the company has found a new lane to accelerate in after acquiring American Country Insurance. Now, the company has shifted into insurance, boasting a no copay, no deductible health plan that requires an annual doctor visit.
Our next group was the cybersecurity and fintech category. The Fire winners were Eagle Eye Networks, Episode Six, HiddenLayer, Ouro and SpyCloud.
And SpyCloud got the nod for the Blazer this year!
The startup, with its fun SoCo headquarters in a former adult theater, has developed one of the most sophisticated troves of hacking data in the world today. This year, it scored a $110 million round and has been hiring top talent to take it to its next chapter.
The CPG and hardware field was one of the most impressive lineups. This year’s Fire list included Apptronik, EnergyX, Firefly Aerospace, Infinitum and TAU Systems.
Infinitum was awarded the Blazer jacket!
The startup’s smaller and more efficient motors are making a big impact on climate change (as well as expenses) by reducing how much power is needed to run HVAC units and other industrial equipment. This year, the company landed a massive $185 million in series E funding round that appears to be the biggest round for any Austin company in 2023.
In the investors and community support category, the Fire award winners were Austin Women in Technology, Capital Factory, DivInc, Trust Ventures and TXV Partners.
And the Blazer winner was …TXV Partners!
TXV Partners is going big, with plans to raise a $500 million fund to help back late-stage technology startups, sports teams and related businesses with growth investments. The firm was founded in 2009, but in 2023 and 2024 it is really be hitting its stride.
The Inno Fire Award winners in the social impact, edtech and health tech zone were Babson Diagnostics, Cardio, Diligent Robotics, Omaiven Health and Pattern Bioscience.
So who got the red Blazer? Diligent Robotics!
The startup was the only company to win a Blazer award two years in a row. Their hospital-based robots, named Moxi, are making life easier in dozens of clinics and hospitals. They save time, which helps human nurses and medics focus on saving lives. This year they landed $25 million in new funding to expand to more health care settings and expand Moxi’s capabilities.
We carved out 10 spots for the software and AI category. This year’s Fire list included 8fig, Atmosphere, CharterUp, Coder, ContentStack, Gage Zero, Howdy.com, One Model, Overhaul and ProsperOps.
And the Blazer winner for software and AI was… CharterUp!
CharterUp has built a huge network of transportation services to make taking the bus, whether it’s a quick trip up to Dallas or a nationwide tour, easier. They’ve grown revenues massively, which helped them become the No. 2 company on the Inc. 5000 this year, and they’re just getting started.
Inno and the Austin Business Journal congratulate all the companies on a big year in 2023!