October 25, 2015: This past week our Qualifying Committee for the 2016 SXSW Accelerator met for our annual kickoff Happy Hour. You may not have SXSW on your mind right now, with important holidays like Halloween looming this weekend, but applications for the Accelerator are due November 6. We expect to have 500-600 for our committee of ten to review between then and November 18, to be followed by voting by expert judges scattered worldwide and the selection of the 48 on-stage finalists prior to Christmas.
March 29, 2015: Last Thursday night was Demo Day pitch practice for eleven of our companies in the Longhorn Startup Lab, and all of us who attended SXSW have been through a blizzard of pitches in recent days. How best can teams be competitive in those environments? It’s not the same as raising money or applying to an incubator. In those cases you’ll get a closer look, have more time to position yourself, and can fully explain your visionary idea in all its glory.
After a first round of coaching sessions with the five SXSW Accelerator companies assigned to me, I thought about some general advice on pitches. This particular batch is starting out pretty well, but I still find myself pointing out many of the usual problems that fail to get the message across. There have been millions of words written on pitch presentations and techniques, but nothing beats live coaching to fine tune the process. You can see that vividly in the polish shown by the Longhorn Startup Lab teams as they progress through the semester. We have a TA who is a Ph.D.
January 29, 2013. Among the many events worth your time at SXSW is the Accelerator competition. The 48 interactive finalists who will present on the Monday and Tuesday (March 11-12) of SXSW were announced today. Eight companies in each of 6 categories were selected, along with 3 alternates in each of those categories. On Wednesday the 8 music finalists will present, those also backed up by 3 alternates.