SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event to showcase latest technological innovations

Annie Zhang

SXSW’s Accelerator Pitch Event will offer audiences a glimpse into the future of technology.

During this event, 50 interactive technology companies from around the world will present their latest products and advancements to a live audience and a panel of judges. The event will be held at the Hilton Austin Downtown on March 11 and 12. 

“The Accelerator Pitch Event is a platform to allow startups and companies to pitch products or services to industry experts, venture capitalists and high-profile media and personnel,” Chris Valentine, SXSW Accelerator event manager, said. 

Valentine added that the startups, which are all less than a year-and-a-half old, are sorted into  ten different categories, including virtual reality, health, entertainment and security. 

Of the 500 companies that applied, only five were chosen from each category to present during SXSW Interactive. 

This year, three Austin companies — Litmus Health, a clinical data science platform, Makerarm, a robotic arm that attaches to a desktop computer for 3D printing, and SPLT, a transportation platform — were named as finalists.

Over the two-day event, each company will give a presentation and answer questions from the judges. The judges will then pick a final winner from each category to receive a cash prize of $5,000.

This year, Valentine said there will be an additional Super Accelerator event, where winners from the ten categories will compete against one another for a grand prize. This will occur on March 13 at 5 p.m. in the Austin Convention Center.

Valentine said the Accelerate Pitch event is important because it provides an outlet for new startups to gain recognition and support from industry leaders. 

“We’re really showcasing the future of technology,” Valentine said. “(Attendees will) have the opportunity to see the future with regards to what we’re doing, and (they’ll) get not only the local perspective, but the national and international perspective.”

According to Valentine, in the nine years that the pitch event has occurred, over 353 companies have participated and these companies have together received almost $3.10 billion. 

He added that notable past participants include Siri, an application acquired by Apple that functions as an intelligent personal assistant, Tango, a messaging software, and Wildfire, a social media marketing company acquired by Google.

“The quality of companies are very high at the Accelerator Event, so (the audience) will have a chance to not only see the future, but the future at the highest level,” Valentine said. 

The SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event will be held at the Hilton Austin Downtown on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.