Austin Hurst's journey into the heart of tech entrepreneurship began in an unexpected arena: modifying auction pages on eBay. It was 1998, and the internet was still a relatively new frontier. Young, self-taught, and brimming with innovation, Austin transformed his knack for graphic design into a burgeoning career, taking his skills from eBay to platforms like Homestead, Geocities, Xanga, and Myspace.
In 2002, Austin went beyond just providing a service; he launched an ad agency, showcasing his portfolio that soon boasted projects from over 30 of the Fortune 1000. By 2005, Austin's entrepreneurial flame led to the creation of his first startup, 1Dawg, a pioneering venture that rivaled giants like YouTube in its heyday.
Yet, Austin's narrative isn't simply about launching companies; it's about recognizing gaps in the market and crafting innovative solutions. 99GENS LLC, Austin's latest venture, stands testament to this philosophy. Recognizing the laborious nature of preparing print files for a plethora of print-on-demand products, 99GENS came into existence. With a mission to empower a broader audience, the startup bridges the gap between high-quality design and affordability.
But what truly sets 99GENS apart? The company automates cut and sew design guidelines, a significant leap from merely uploading and saving a picture. They process designs, super-resolve, scale, and transform them to fit seamlessly onto over 45 products, from backpacks to yoga wear. What's more, in mere minutes, users can see their textile patterns transform into a fully-functional eCommerce apparel business.
However, this road wasn't without its bumps. Collaborating with industry behemoths like Printful and Shopify required close-knit partnerships, ensuring users never left the 99GENS ecosystem while still harnessing the prowess of these platforms.
Austin's mantra? "Once a startup, always a startup." He believes in fostering a culture where no idea is a bad one. Encouraging innovation, collaboration, and growth, 99GENS thrives on feedback, whether it's from a developer or an employee's family member.
Today, as the world gravitates towards automation, Austin foresees 99GENS as a frontrunner, automating fashion design and eCommerce. And while they're ambitious, Austin's advice to fellow founders remains grounded: Recognize your weaknesses, be coachable, and always remain curious.
Austin's story is a testament to the spirit of innovation. To learn more or get in touch, DM on Twitter at @99generations.