My entire adult life has been spent working on startups. I am a serial entrepreneur and growth geek. I like many others have always looked to SXSW as the Mecca for startup launches. How could you not? So many great startups have launched and demoed on that stage. Luckily for us, my dream came true and Season Share had the awesome opportunity to give the first public demonstration of our app as part of the SXSW Accelerator Program as a finalist in the Sports Tech category. I would feel remiss if I didn’t chronicle the experience.
The first thing that hits you when you get to Austin and get settled on the ground is the sheer amount of shit going on. It’s wild. There are so many events, panels, parties, discussions, sessions, people, and companies it will really make your head spin. Our involvement in the Accelerator program tied up a lot of our time while we were there but we still got a chance to check out some great panel discussions. The standout panels were the “Investing In Sports Tech” panel and the MLS panel with commissioner Don Garber.
The SXSW Accelerator Program pairs you with a coach who helps you refine and optimize your pitch. For us, this meant taking a pitch that usually runs 20 minutes and reducing it to a 2-minute pitch without sacrificing any of the key concepts. It was a challenge. Luckily we had a great coach, Ron, who provided a tremendous amount of positivity and insight that allowed us to be confident going into the event.
The sports tech category was strong. We were impressed with all the companies involved – KYMIRA, Horse Analytics, Wyp Aviation, Players Health. Great founders at each of these companies are doing amazing things in the world of sport. We also got the chance to chat with several of the judge’s post-event which was a great opportunity to continue learning. Check these companies out.
The great thing about the Accelerator event is all the companies are winners. Thousands of companies applied and once you begin to realize the level of technology and innovation in the room, you quickly understand inclusion in such a pool is an honor and privilege. The real eye opener was the runner-ups. Some of the coolest tech I have ever seen was included in the runner-up category. It was humbling to be amongst technology that I can say without a doubt will change the world over the next decade.
Although we did not win our category, SXSW gave us the platform to meet teams and investors from all over the country and launched our company to a new level. I would recommend checking out SXSW for any startup in their early stage. I hope to attend next years event and have more time for panels and the music section of the conference as well.