The South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and interactive conference in Austin, Texas this week isn’t just a great networking opportunity. Startup entrepreneurs from across the nation are descending on the conference in hopes of getting major exposure.
The conference offers startup founders many opportunities to showcase their wares and meet potential funders.
BankMyBiz.com, a Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin-based crowdfunding site for business owners, was among 20 startups chosen to appear in the SXSW Interactive Startup Spotlight, which "shines a bright light on some of the most innovative new companies,” according to conference organizers.
The company has been self-funded so far, but the founders hope the exposure will help them raise $500,000 in capital to start marketing the company and pay salaries, according to Madison.com.
“We’re super excited," BankMyBiz co-founder Michael Adam told the Milwaukee Business Journal. "It’s just been constant handshaking and business card-swapping so far."
Other startups use SXSW to compete to prove their mojo and even win some prizes. Skully Helmets was one of the six startups that won big at SXSW. A San Francisco company that makes augmented reality motorcycle helmets, Skully Helmets was named the best wearable tech company. It won $4,000 and the esteem of knowing it was chosen among 48 startups competing for honors across six categories.
“We were competing against the smartest people in the world today,” a Skully Helmets spokesperson said according to FashionTimes.com. “And it's a measure of luck, skill and some crazy third variable that we're up here today."
How much attention a startup gets likely depends on how well they network and market themselves at the conference. (Check out this Wall Street Journal roundup of on-the-ground SXSW networking strategies among startup founders attending the conference.)
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