How do you sum up the experience of the incrediblly hyped tech-festival South by Southwest (SXSW) in one sentence?
Well, at first SXSW can be a bit overwhelming, if you don’t know your way around and how to attend all the secret events, but once that has been figured out, it can be a really good way to meet very different people and discuss business!
As a wrap up of the SCALEit week, 5 companies and the SCALEit team took the flight from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas to participate in the events.
The Mecca of Tech
SXSW is a festival in a broad term within three main categories: Interactive, Music and Film. It includes high profile speakers, presentations, product launches, panels, showcases, meet-ups, parties, and networking bringing together thousands of engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, journalists and a whole lot more. Basically, I would say that it is a huge melting pot of people coming together in Austin.
The festival has an official and an unofficial program. The official program had 76 parallel sessions going on at the same time Saturday morning! Even for experienced SXSW’ers that would be a bit too much to wrap your head around.
And then the unofficial program is even more difficult to get a hold of. There is a lot of semi secret events that one need to RSVP for, but all of them do one way of the other include free beers at a bar, if you can get in. These events symbolize want it all comes down to in the end: Networking!
Danes in Texas
As a first timer participant it was very confusion to get an overview of the activities going on. Many companies launched new products, startups were trying to get their new products to go viral by having new crazy marketing ideas: I saw 4 people dressed up as Bunnies, reading a book on a bench for the entire festival, and the Meerkat was all over social media.
As mentioned, the SCALEit companies were in Austin to pitch their ideas and present their companies to the many people present at the festival (and of course to network!). This was done through a main presence in the heart of the festival – the exhibitor show – at the convention center and through a co-hosted event with the other nordic countries Sunday evening. “The Nordic Pitch Night”.
The pitch night included 11 pitches from different Nordic companies in front of a panel of different investors that asked poignant questions. The two best pitches were invited to join journalist Henrik Føhns from the Danish Broadcasting Corporation radio program “Harddisken” in a discussion. Finally, to close off the night spectacularly, the Danish band Rangleklods gave a show.
Experience the SXSW-feel on Friday
All of the 5 companies were also interviewed to “Harddisken” and will featured in the episode Friday March 27 (in Danish).
Christian Vinther (chrvje(at)um.dk) represented ICDK at SXSW.