As Einstein says, “The only source of knowledge is experience.” I heard many good things about SXSW in the last couple of years. After becoming part of the global advisory board for SXSW Accelerator 2016, I decided to go and experience the festival for myself.
With excitement and curiosity, I embarked on a 13-hour flight from Istanbul to Houston followed by 3-hour car ride to Austin.
Generally, SXSW festival is promoted heavily for the film and music sections. However, there are many things going on the Interactive part of the festival concerning startups.
First, SXSW Accelerator competition offers selected startups to pitch in front of the audience and judges. The winning startups get cash prizes and other benefits. But most importantly, thanks to the trendsetter participants of the festival, they become success stories. Some of the SXSW Accelerator alumni include Klout, Hipmunk, Wildfire, Siri, Foodspotting, and Tango.
Second, startup pitch competitions, startup village area and country booths at the expo give the startups the opportunity to showcase their products and pitch their ideas to the audience.
Throughout SXSW, there were startups from all over the world, including the U.S, Canada, Turkey, Israel, Norway, Germany, England, France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Italy, Lithuania, Greece, Mexico, Sweden, Belgium, and Taiwan. When the focus areas of the startups are analyzed, they vary from IoT, fintech, and virtual reality, to health & wearables, education, mobile apps and social media and content creation startups.
Here were my 7 favorites:
As a startup from Germany, Splash allows you to capture 360 degree videos on iPhone in seconds and share it to any social network and view them in VR. As virtual reality was the hot topic of SXSW 2016, Splash has definite potential to grow. They also won the “Virtual Technologies” part of the SXSW Accelerator.
The American startup Rorus provides the first comprehensive solution for carrying and purifying drinking water via a new nanotechnology. As the world is facing many humanitarian issues, Rorus definitely solves a problem.
Musio is a really cute robot with artificial intelligence designed to engage and grow with you. Musio can even help you with basic tasks as well. It could definitely be either your or your child’s new curious friend.
If you complain that your kid spends too much time on their tablet, MakerBloks will really help you. MakerBloks gets kids working with their hands via magnetic building blocks and teaches them almost everything from cooking to electronics.
Vantage.tv basically connects virtual reality live streaming and video content with live events. If you would like to experience Coachella as if you were there but in fact, you are lying on your couch, then vantage.tv is definitely for you.
A super-fast wireless device called WeKast enables you to present from your screen to any screen, anywhere you want. If you want to present anything at conferences like SXSW, you don’t need to carry many cables and adaptors. They are currently running a Kickstarter campaign worth checking out.
Xtensio is touted as the “toolbox for your startup.” I have used their user persona creator to network with participants through the event’s SX Social app. They also have many other tools that I am using.
In general, SXSW holds various opportunities for startups to showcase their product to a really tech savvy audience and understand if their market-product fit is correctly defined. It also gives you the chance to network with international participants and meet with distinguished angel investors and VC fund executives.
But if you had to ask me to summarize the SXSW experience, I would say that you would experience lots of new technology, listen to many mind opening talks, and eat a lot of tacos.
The views expressed are of the author. See the original post here.