I recently had the privilege of attending SXSW Interactive for the first time ever with an incredible group of Verizon Ventures team members. SXSW was jam-packed with cutting-edge tech and incredible speakers, but what I most enjoyed about my time in Austin were opportunities to connect with Verizon Ventures colleagues, partners, and portfolio companies at awesome events throughout the week. Here are five of my top highlights:
Vinyl on Congress
Verizon Ventures kicked off SXSW Interactive Friday night with our Vinyl on Congress mixer that was co-hosted with portfolio companies AdTheorent and Kiip. About 150 people attended, and there was a great mix of people from the tech community, other VC’s and tech startups. After the event, we all headed over to the Kiip Never Sleeps party at The Roosevelt Room featuring guest DJ T-Pain.
Urban Airship at Mobile Saturday
Verizon Ventures portfolio company Urban Airship’s Mobile Saturday is SXSW’s only day-long track dedicated to all things mobile. I attended a panel entitled “Revenge of the Bricks, Driven by Clicks,” that detailed how retailers’ omnichannel strategies on mobile are redefining customer experiences. The panel consisted of product and marketing representatives from Express, Nordstrom, and REI, and was moderated by Alyssa Merit, Urban Airship’s head of strategic consulting.
Judging Event at Funding Post
Funding Post organized a Shark Tank-style quick pitch event at the W Hotel, and invited me to judge. 10 startups presented quick pitches, which were followed by questions from the judging panel. The winning startup, DealerPinch.com, is like Priceline for buying cars. You place an offer on the car, do the paperwork online, then show up at the dealership to sign the paperwork and pick up the keys.
Future of UAV Meeting
I attended a brilliant panel about the future of UAVs at the Google Fiber space. Panelists from the FAA, PrecisionHawk, NASA, Intel, Amazon, and more spoke to many exciting breakthroughs occurring in the UAVs space. PrecisionHawk announced a new partnership with the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma to demonstrate their LATAS safety services platform for drone flights in urban areas.
AOL Girls Lounge
AOL sponsored The Girls Lounge – a dedicated space for females in the tech space to discuss diversity and gender equality in the workplace. Throughout the week, the Girls Lounge hosted coaching sessions, panels, networking events, pitch competitions, and more. Verizon Ventures executive director Mark Smith attended a pitch competition featuring a team from Built By Girls Ventures, AOL’s women-focused VC Fund that’s also part of the Verizon Investment Ecosystem.
As SXSW Interactive came to a close, I left Austin feeling inspired and invigorated. I truly enjoyed having the opportunity to meet and interact with so many people that I work with in the Verizon Ventures ecosystem, especially in an environment that was so conducive to big ideas and collaboration. I’m more excited than ever for the year ahead, and look forward to traveling back to Austin with great momentum next March.
Related posts from Verizon Ventures:
5 Ways to Connect at South by Southwest
Women Building the Tech Ecosystem: Insights from 2XinTech: Female Founders Conference
Verizon Venture Forum: IoT – Connecting Devices To Drive Solutions