Austrade has taken a delegation of seven tech startups to SXSW Interactive, the innovation focused offshoot of the Austin, Texas music festival South by Southwest, which opens today.
An ‘Australia Lounge’ has been set-up and will remain for the duration of the five-day conference, within which delegates will showcase their products. Two pitch events take place next week.
“SXSW Interactive is regarded as a coveted global launching pad for startups, a hunting ground for tech investors, and a laboratory for innovative and forward-thinking companies," said Nicola Watkinson, Austrade’s senior trade and investment commissioner for North America.
She added that it was “an ideal platform to showcase Australia’s large and expanding technology capabilities”.
The delegates are: edutech company Quitch; quiz platform Quizling, Linius Technologies which provides an engine to convert video into interactive and virtual video; 'mom help ecosystem' platform Jugglr; cloud video surveillance suite Intelligent Security Integration; smartphone powered 3D scanner EORA 3D; and marketing measure specialist Artlivemedia.
Startup accelerator and incubator GoodShift Ventures, Tourism Australia, Sounds Australia and Trade & Investment Queensland (TIQ) are sponsoring the startups' presence at the event.
Participation in SXSW Interactive is part of an ongoing effort by Austrade to boost the presence and success of Australian companies in the US.
Last year it established offices in San Francisco and New York and in August opened a ‘Landing Pad’ in San Francisco, giving young companies workspace within startup accelerator RocketSpace for 90 days.
Tech in Texas
The first SXSW took place in 1987, and has since evolved from an annual music festival for emerging music talent to one of the largest conferences for interactive media and emerging technologies.
In 2007, Twitter used the event to launch itself to the wider tech industry, a move mimicked by Foursquare two years later. It has become a Silicon Valley tradition to pick an exhibiting app or company and hail it the ‘winner of the week’.
Last year, there were around 37,000 badged participants at SXSW Interactive and 70,500 people attended its technology exhibition.