Startup Scene

Shark Tank star isn't scared of Austin City Council’s controversial actions

Shark Tank star isn't scared of Austin City Council's latest actions

Mark Cuban on Shark Tank
Mark Cuban still plans to invest in Austin startups, despite Austin City Council's latest votes.  Chewthedirt.com

Dallas billionaire Mark Cuban isn’t deterred by what fellow investor Mike Maples decries as the Austin City Council’s “hostile” attitude toward companies like Uber, Lyft, HomeAway, and Airbnb.

In a tweet heard 'round the Austin startup community, Maples recently laid down the law: His Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Floodgate, no longer will invest in on-demand startups in Austin.

Maples was reacting to two recent city council votes, one requiring fingerprint-centered background checks for drivers with hail-a-ride services like Uber and Lyft and another prohibiting certain types of short-term rentals through companies like HomeAway and Airbnb.

Would Cuban consider following Maples’ lead and issue a blanket refusal to sink money into on-demand startups in Austin? No.

“Every startup stands on its own merits. As long as the rules apply to all competitors, then it would depend on the economics of each deal,” Cuban tells CultureMap.

Cuban, one of the investors on ABC’s Shark Tank, says he doesn’t think Maples’ stance will affect investments in Austin startups.

“Austin is vibrant, and the investment community is only growing,” Cuban says. “I’m guessing other investors have the same perspective as I do — just one less competitor for deals.”

Cuban and Maples are investors in several Austin startups. Both men have pumped money into The Zebra, an Austin-based online marketplace for auto insurance shoppers.

“It’s up to him,” Cuban says of Maples’ edict about Austin investments. “I don’t have an opinion one way or the other.”