South By Southwest, possibly the world’s largest gathering featuring music, film, comedy and interactive media, kicks off this week in Austin, Texas. Started in 1987 with 700 attendees, SXSW has grown over the years into a cultural event that spans 10 days and boasts of over 400,000 direct participants.
This year, the SXSW Conference features 24 programming tracks and speakers from all over the globe. Forbes magazine said last year: “It may have started as a music festival, but South By Southwest has transformed over the years to become an indisputable showcase of the hottest tech trends across industries.”
At the center of SXSW’s tech buzz is their tenth annual SXSW Accelerator Pitch event, taking place from March 10-12 during the conference’s Startup and Tech Sectors.
The pitch event will feature 50 Interactive technology companies from 10 different categories. Each of the companies will pitch in front of a live audience and participate in a Q&A with a panel of judges. Not only will the companies have a chance to win funding, but they’ll have an audience of potential customers at their disposal with whom they can share their tech innovations.
The 50 companies pitching represent startup communities from all over the world, from Norway to France to China. But only one company will be representing a Silicon Prairie ecosystem during the competition: Kansas City’s Homebase.
“I’ve been attending SXSW for a number of years in a lot of my previous work as an entrepreneur, supporter, investor and incubator manager,” said Homebase CEO Blake Miller. “We’re in a great spot for Homebase, and I figured it was a great opportunity for us to apply [to the pitch event].”
Homebase is a building and community management platform that brings together the benefits of simplified property management, building automation and smart home living. Last summer, JE Dunn Construction Group and Sunflower Development Group led at $500,000 investment round in the tech business.
Miller and Homebase will be doing more than pitching while in Austin. The tech company will also be launching their first out-of-state condo community, Eastline in East Austin.
“Much like a lot of the other huge companies that have launched there in the past, utilizing SouthBy as a defacto launch outside of Kansas City is really a big deal for us,” said Miller. “Being able to be there and heavily participating in the conference is a big thing for us. Being able to leverage that amplification will be big.”
During Interactive Week, Homebase will also be representing Kansas City’s rapidly scaling tech ecosystem at American Cities House with TechCo and the Kauffman Foundation and will host a brunch party with partners Intellirent, dotloop and Platinum Realty Austin.
Miller said Homebase is happy to bring attention their home ecosystem.
“We think of ourselves as part of a much larger community,” said Miller. “I’ve always been a part the group that has gone down to SouthBy to promote KC as a whole with the LaunchKC grant. Now that we’ve kind of put the jersey back on and are building a company, now is our time to shine as a startup. It’s a big week for us.”
Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News