AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Young Chamber, in partnership with the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department, congratulates Gardenio, winner of the Austin Fast Start pitch competition that took place virtually on Monday, April 12.
Gardenio provides a garden club membership where they send you everything you need to grow your own organic food at home – including live plants – with an app and community to help you as you grow. Gardenio was chosen by a combination of judges’ scores and audience vote and received a cash prize of $2,500 plus $2,500+ in additional in-kind prizes including a Finance or HR consultation and resources to jumpstart growth.
“Winning the Fast Start is meaningful because, as a founder of color, less than 2% of VC funding goes to black *and* brown founders, not for lack of talent but for lack of access to capital to catalyze companies toward VC levels of traction. Without access to friends and family capital, competitions like this end up being dominant sources of capital, and we can do a lot with a little,” says Roman Gonzalez, Founder and CEO of Gardenio. “The journey of Gardenio is a long and ambitious one, but any gardener knows patience, daily work, and the help of friends and neighbors get us through the challenges and make the best days better. This capital will allow us to advance our digital community development – something we’ve been working toward for a long time, and that will have a large, lasting impact for the Austin community and soon the National community and our relationship to our food, our neighbors, and ourselves.”
The Austin Fast Start pitch competition fosters the spirit of innovation within Austin by highlighting early stage startups in various economic development priorities. Proactively creating solutions that result in optimal physical, mental, and behavioral health are vital to creating healthy individuals, families, and communities – and in the wake of the pandemic we have learned how important it is to take care of ourselves and each other. This cycle’s priority of Health & Wellness businesses included those that are addressing key health challenges with innovative approaches to help people live healthy lives, physically and mentally.
“Austin Fast Start’s pitch competition reaches a wide range of entrepreneurs in diverse industries to help provide resources for business growth,” said Susana Carbajal, Assistant Director of the Economic Development Department. “We are proud to partner with the Austin Young Chamber to showcase the innovation and breadth of Austin’s startup community.”
Congratulations to the Health & Wellness Finalists for this event:
The 2021 Austin Fast Start Pitch Competition will continue with two more strategic priorities: Social Impact and Creatives. Applications for the Social Impact and Creatives categories are currently open. Businesses applying for the Austin Fast Start must be: (1) headquartered within Austin city limits, (2) in the pre-seed/early revenue stage, and (3) less than two years old. Applications for Social Impact will close at 11:59pm on Thursday, May 6 and applications for Creatives will close at 11:59pm on Monday, July 12, 2021. Learn more and apply here.
About the City of Austin Economic Development Department
The City of Austin Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries, and local communities. These programs build an equitable, sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about helpful resources, visit www.austintexas.gov/edd and follow @AustinEconDev on Twitter.
About the Austin Young Chamber
The Austin Young Chamber promotes the general economic interests of the Central Texas business community through initiatives and efforts designed to build and strengthen our young professional workforce. Connect with the Austin Young Chamber on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, or check out upcoming programs at austinyc.org.