From the Golden State to Samsung: Some of Central Texas’ biggest stories this year

Business

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As we close out 2021, it’s time to reflect on what the year brought to Central Texas.

Will Anderson, managing editor at the Austin Business Journal, gave KXAN’s Amanda Dugan an end-of-year wrap up, including their most-read story, the most impactful business news and which Austin startup gained the most traction.

Q: So as we get ready to end 2021, this was another year where many people moved right here to Central Texas, especially from California. One story that intrigued a lot of your readers was the cost comparison between the Golden State and the Lone Star State. Tell us about that.

A: “That was our most read story of the year. And if I can pat ourselves on the back just a little bit, we published it all the way back in January. So what we reported then, which was about businesses can expect to save about 20% on costs from operating — operating in Texas versus California. It still holds true, but that gap is shrinking as home prices rise, salaries rise, so it isn’t quite as cheap at the end of 2021 to do business in Texas.”

Q: What would you say was the most impactful business news of the year?

A: “Well, I think you can’t get past the Samsung news. Even though it came just in the last two months of the year, it’s going to be the most advanced semiconductor plant in the world, arguably, and Samsung’s putting it in little Taylor, Texas. It’s going to be revolutionary for the whole area, but especially for a relatively small town that hasn’t seen the same kind of economic development as the rest of the Austin area. So that’s huge. But you can’t ignore Tesla either. I mean, that’s also a game changing project. So, put together I would venture that the growth of the manufacturing sector and advanced high tech manufacturing in Austin is the business story of 2021.”

Q: A lot of startups are setting up shop as well. Name a startup or two that gained a lot of traction in 2021.

A: “It’s a little bit of a different tech company. It’s called Restore Hyper Wellness. And your viewers might recognize it, because they have retail storefronts all over the Austin area. But they actually have 120 locations across the country, and they raised $140 million a few weeks ago, one of the largest funding rounds for any Austin company this year. But they do cryotherapy, right, and IV therapy, or IV drips, infrared radiation therapy. So a tech company in some ways, but also a retail business, a consumer-facing business. A little bit different for Austin’s tech sector, but one that’s hiring and growing like crazy and has raised tons of money, gained lots of traction in 2021.”

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