VISION, SO OFTEN TALKED ABOU TIN THE WORLD OF STARTUPS, IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH CERTAINTY. TO KNOW WHERE TO GO, YOU DON'T NEED TO KNOW THE PRECISE ROAD TO TAKE OR THE NUMBER OF TURNS TO BE FOUND. INSTEAD, ALL THAT IS REQUIRED IS SEMBLANCE —EVEN IF VAGUE— OF WHAT LAYS AT THE END OF THE PATH AND AN OPENNESS FOR PLANS TO CHANGE.

Austin studied computer science as both an undergraduate and Masters student at Stanford. While at Stanford, he also served as a Teaching Assistant for various CS courses, took two years of Mandarin and studied abroad in Beijing. In his summers, he worked as an intern for various tech companies, including the data visualization program Tableau as well as the financial origination startup, Blend. Upon graduating, he joined Blend’s software engineering team full time focusing on authentication and authorization processes in their platform. At Blend he also met Diego with whom he would decide to create Auba in hopes of revolutionizing the world of international supply chains.

Vision, so often talked about in the world of startups, is not synonymous with certainty. To know where to go, you don’t need to know the precise road to take or accurately number the turns to be found. Instead, all that is required is semblance—even if vague—of what lays at the end of the path and an openness for plans to change. 

The above, in a way, is a summary of  Austin’s story before founding Auba. If we could, for a moment, travel back in time and meet a young Austin, we would find no pretension of a future in the world of startups. Despite growing up in Palo Alto, in the middle of a booming world of tech, his eyes were not set on computers or lines of code, but rather on the SF Giants and a dream of becoming a professional baseball player. 

He was always “into school,” with a special interest for the traditionally “techie” subjects most commonly known as STEM. But, amongst them—and in an ironic fashion—, he had a certain repulsion for computer science. Around 12, he had participated in a brief summer course where students were taught the basics of coding and, instead of immediately falling in love with software, he came to hate it. It was not until college that the path would slowly start to change and a new goal would emerge. During his first quarter at Stanford it just so happened that a large number of his dorm friends enrolled into Stanford’s introductory course for computer science: CS 106A. Knowing he would have to take the course at some point for an engineering degree and wanting to meet other residents in his dorm, he bit the bullet and faced computer science once more.

To Austin’s surprise, 106A was actually an enjoyable experience. When the following quarter came around, he enrolled in the subsequent CS 106B; then in CS 107. By the end of sophomore year he discovered CS was a front for many of the math and science problems he had been interested in growing up. But before Austin embarked on the realms of AI, there was a further path to be taken. A sidequest, if we will. As a freshman, motivated by a close friend, Austin enrolled in an introductory Chinese course and, by his second year of college, gained enough proficiency to study abroad in Beijing. 

After returning from Beijing, and finishing his undergraduate degree, he received an internship offer from an up and coming startup called Blend. Austin joined the company as it  secured a D round of capital, meaning he had become a part of the team right before talks of an eventual IPO became the norm. In a way, Austin had found a path he was eager to follow and, as the summer came to an end, accepted an offer to return to blend full time after finishing a Masters Degree in Computer Science back in Stanford.

Right before following this path for good, and trotting along the roads of artificial intelligence, Austin took two months to travel the world, backpacking through Europe and South America. It was on this latter path of the journey that he met his current girlfriend who, at the time, was living in the Netherlands.

At this point, the story finally reaches the expected outcome. After the COVID pandemic, Austin decided to leave his role in Blend and move to the Netherlands to be with his girlfriend. At the same time, Diego, a fellow coworker from Blend, reached out to him with an idea for a startup that would eventually become Auba. Austin was initially hesitant given the eight-hour time difference between him in the Netherlands and Diego in Mexico. But he eventually decided to fully submerge into the world of entrepreneurship and AI from his new home in Europe. 

Thus we reach the present day, with Austin as  Auba’s CTO. But the truth is one cannot write such a tale just by looking at his current reality. To get to this moment, Austin underwent many turns, unaware this would be the end.