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History of the
IC² Institute

Local legacy.
Global impact.

The Visionary Leadership of George Kozmetsky

The history of the IC² Institute is inextricably linked to the development of Austin as we know it today: an entrepreneurial hub and a thriving center for technology and innovation. As founder of IC², George Kozmetsky used Austin as a laboratory to test and scale his concepts for building an entrepreneurial ecosystem to drive regional economies. Later, Kozmetsky and subsequent IC² directors shared those concepts with a global audience eager to adapt the “Austin model” to their communities. Follow the timeline below to understand the journey of IC² – and of Austin.

Explore our history below


Technology pioneer George Kozmetsky presents his model for Austin to become a "technology city" to Austin Chamber and City leaders.


Kozmetsky founds IC² as a "think and do tank" to study the drivers of economic development and shared prosperity.


IC² launches the country’s first business plan competition.


IC² moves to its current West Campus home, at 2815 San Gabriel.


IC² launches the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), the longest active technology incubator in the United States.


IC² forms The Capital Network, a seed venture capital network that was at one time the largest in the country, and in Austin was the precursor to the Central Texas Angel Network.


IC² mentors communities around the world, sharing the “Austin Model”— where business, academic, and community leaders come together synergistically to catalyze innovation.


Kozmetsky receives National Medal of Technology from President Bill Clinton.


IC² creates the nation’s first commercialization degree (M.S. in Science and Technology Commercialization)


IC² creates the Global Commercialization Group (later renamed the Global Innovation Lab) that shares best practices in entrepreneurship and economic development with 40 countries.


The Bureau of Business Research (BBR) — founded in 1926 — moves from McCombs School of Business to IC².


Having reached self-sustaining maturity, ATI becomes an independent UT unit and takes with it the Blackstone Launchpad (now called The Launchpad at UT) and the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program (now the Southwest I-Corps), both originally incubated at IC².


IC² shifts its focus to the economic development of Texas' rural areas. The Institute develops several new programs, including the Home to Texas internship program, now housed at Texas Career Engagement.


New Executive Director S. Craig Watkins announces a shift in focus for the Institute: economic development through the lens of a "well-being economy."

Learn More

The Kozmetsky Effect

Discover how George Kozmetsky and IC² catalyzed the transformation of Austin and shared “The Austin Model” with a global audience.

Booting Up Big Tech: Forging a Technopolis

In this PBS mini-documentary, learn how George Kozmetsky inspired Austin entrepreneurs and ignited the city’s vibrant startup culture.