In the Fall of 2007, Gaines Kilpatrick and Leo Welder opened shop at Gaines’ house in the Austin neighborhood of Zilker Park and thus, Zilker Ventures was born. Zilker Ventures is a homegrown small business, and its founders have directly experienced many of the problems they aspire to solve for other small business owners. For example, Zilker Ventures’ first website, FaxCompare.com, was created because Gaines wasted an exorbitant amount of time selecting an online fax service for Zilker Ventures, only to find that the service he selected was incompatible with Zilker’s needs. Today, FaxCompare.com, an internet fax comparison website, helps almost 20,000 visitors per month avoid the same problem.
About the Founder
Operations Office, Co-Founder
Leo Welder, co-founder and Operations Officer of Zilker Ventures, LLC, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in finance and Plan II in 2001 and has a Masters in Business Administration from the Acton School- an accelerated, case-based program focused on entrepreneurism. Before founding Zilker Ventures, Mr. Welder spent three years with LCG & Apogee Search, two entities that provide online marketing services and consultations. During his tenure, Mr. Welder helped the company grow from five to over forty employees and in his roles as Sr. Account Executive and Director of Business Development, was a major contributor to Apogee Search’s becoming one of the top 1000 fastest growing companies in the country. Over the course of his career, Mr. Welder has founded or been one of the first five employees in four startups.
Leo also is extremely involved in the Austin community through charity and civic organizations. Currently, Mr. Welder is the President of the Young Men’s Business League & Austin Sunshine Camps as well as a Board Member of the Hill Country Conservancy.
Research Analyst, IT Specialist
Reece Freeman has been with Zilker Ventures since August 2010 and works primarily on research and quality control of Zilker Ventures’ research databases. He is also in charge of ChooseWhat.com’s quickly-growing community forums as User Liaison. Reece is in the process of earning an M.S. in Economics from Texas A&M. In his free time Reece enjoys watching and playing basketball, hiking around the Austin area and going to live music shows.
Emilie Hudson has been with Zilker Ventures since February 2011 and works as Leo Welder’s assistant. Emilie graduated in 2010 from The University of Texas with a degree in Psychology and a Business Foundations Certificate. She enjoys exploring Austin and reading.
Search Engine Marketing Manager
Amber Hauptman joined Zilker Ventures’ Search Engine Optimization and Social Outreach team in February 2012. Amber has a diverse background in new media strategy, traditional marketing and creative online communication for small and large businesses. Prior to joining Zilker Ventures, Amber worked at one of the top interactive firms in Austin and co-founded an online marketing company devoted to providing accountable; results based marketing solutions to small businesses and startups. She loves finding new and effective ways of reaching marketing goals and will focus on bringing those strategies to our search engine optimization and social media outreach campaigns. In her down time, Amber loves exploring Austin outdoors with her fiancé and rescue pup, Pepperoni Pizza.