Come Out to StartOut

Bi-coastal non-profit, StartOut, may add Austin as its third home.

Lorenzo Thione, Geoffrey Lewis and Bryan Janeczko at the StartOut Awards 2012
Lorenzo Thione, Geoffrey Lewis and Bryan Janeczko at the StartOut Awards 2012 (by cc Scott Finsthwait.

Not only is the national group StartOut arriving in town this week to hold its next event, "The Entrepreneurial Journey from Founding to Exit and Beyond” a panel and networking with top LGBT entrepreneurs, it's also looking at Austin to begin its next chapter

"StartOut offers unique LGBT entrepreneurial opportunities by providing access to education, mentorship and high-level funding for businesses that wish to take it to the next level.

Co-founded by Lorenzo Thione, StartOut is a non-profit organization based out of San Francisco and New York, devoted to fostering entrepreneurship in the LGBT community. Thione, a UT Alum, founded Powerset, Inc, a natural language search engine, which he sold to Microsoft in 2008; and Artify, a subscription service for fine art.

“We wanted to really create a structure of support and education for people who wanted to start grow businesses in the LGBT community,” says Thionne, “but also create a reason and a framework for people to come out and be visible in their community as leaders of businesses and startups.”

“LGBT entrepreneurs face unique challenges entering those worlds,” says Jimmy Flannigan, Vice President of the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC), which is hosting the event. “The resources that are available on a national level are not always LGBT friendly, or, at the very least, we can’t make sure that they will be. So by working with StartOut to help identify those resources, we can help start and grow businesses that would otherwise have never even begun.”

The StartOut event “The Entrepreneurial Journey from Founding to Exit and Beyond,” takes place this Thursday, September 20, at the Austin Sheraton - Salon E and Capital View Terrace, 701 E. 11th.

More information and tickets can be found at

A longer version of this story will be available in the AGLCC's new publication in collaboration with The Austin Chronicle, The Agenda, due to hit the stands tomorrow. Watch the Gay Place blog for updates!

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