Skip to content

Austin Was Destined to Replace Silicon Valley. Then the Pandemic Hit

Last summer, RigUp moved into a 24,000-foot, magazine-spread worthy office in the kind of location you’d expect for one of Austin’s most buzzed about venture-backed startups. The company — a hiring platform for energy-sector contract workers — had recently raised a $60 million Series C round. It wasted no time spending it, leasing a full floor of a 30-story story highrise on Congress Avenue, overlooking Lady Bird Lake, where hordes of youthful Austinites come to run, walk dogs, and do paddleboard yoga. The airy space, with its ample natural wood, LED boards, and chill-out corners stuffed with natural vegetation, was an ideal backdrop for the company’s co-founders, Xuan Yong and Mike Witte, to lure talent. Over the next nine months, they would hire over a hundred new employees, with no idea just how dramatically their business and the city of Austin would soon change.

Read More