As we prepare for the 2015 Austin A-List, we wanted to highlight some of our past A-Listers. The A-List aims to capture the breadth and depth of Austin’s innovation ecosystem for emerging, growth, and later stage companies. Our goal is to highlight as many great founders and thriving companies as we possibly can to help showcase Austin’s rich and diverse talent as we compete for global recognition and capital.
Today’s post features uShip‘s Vice President of Human Resources, Meg Garrett. uShip is the global transport marketplace that’s reinventing logistics. By moving it entirely online and to mobile devices, it brings greater automation, transparency and efficiency to the traditionally inefficient shipping industry. Primarily serving the commercial freight, vehicles, and household goods markets, the uShip freight exchange seamlessly connects shipping customers – from freight brokers to business shippers and consumers – with feedback-rated transportation service providers that engage in online fixed price, spot market and auction-based transactions.
There were a few reasons for applying to the A-List. The most important motivation was recruiting given the competitive hiring environment here in Austin. With so much new talent coming to town, or those looking to change roles, being on such a list can give you that edge at least on that initial search by candidates. We’re considered that quintessential Austin startup, born and raised here, close ties to UT and elsewhere, so having that recognition for both our current employees and to get noticed by potential employees was important.
What do you think it means / what does it take to be the hottest startup in Austin?
While uShip is known in Austin for setting the pace on office culture – our SXSW Nerds Rock parties are pretty legendary — even as the company has grown, it’s also an incubator of sorts for past employees to then start their own thing, fed by uShip’s entrepreneurial spirit. Being involved in the community is also a huge part of this. We initiated the Austin Startup Games and got other startups involved. One thing that may or may not play a part in the hotness factor is the industry in which a company sits. For example, we’re in shipping and transportation. Sparefoot is in the public storage space. Buildasign makes, well, signs. We’re not talking sexy industries here, but the cultures and employee camaraderie we’ve all built helps set us apart.
It had an indirect impact in terms of recruitment and brand awareness. It’s important to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to people finding that company that has culture and an established track record that is going places.
How has your business grown since A-List?
Over the past couple years, we’ve definitely been growing. In fact, what seemed like an impossibility in 2011, we outgrew our 18,000 sf space at 3rd and Brazos and added 9,000 sf at 4th and Congress. And we continue to outgrow that space as well. The business has also followed the same trajectory with increased revenue, user base and velocity of transactions on our marketplace.
Any advice for nominees this year?
Our CEO and Founder Matt Chasen always says, “Try to put yourself out of business every day, or someone else will do it for you.” In other words, you always have to continue to stay ahead of yourself and what you’re doing, testing, trying new things, always innovating. As soon as you become stagnant, someone else is going to eat your lunch. You’ve got to stay ahead of it.