What’s new at SXSW Interactive for 2011

The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conferences & Festivals offer the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery.


For 2011, SXSW has made some changes to the SXSW Interactive Festival (this is the one about technology). Here is a description from SXSW’s website of what this festival is all about:

SXSW® Interactive Festival challenges you to envision the future of innovative technology. Featuring five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging media and scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders, SXSW Interactive offers an unbeatable line up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, digital projects, wireless applications, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis, SXSW Interactive has become the place to preview of what is unfolding in the world of creative technology. Join us March 2011 for the panels, the parties, the 14th Annual Interactive Awards, SXSW ScreenBurn, the SXSW Trade Show, SXSW Accelerator and, of course, the inspirational experience that only SXSW can deliver.

The changes effective in 2011 to the Interactive festival are as follows:

More Daytime Meet-ups
For 2011, will add a significant amount of daytime meet-up networking events to the SXSW Interactive schedule. These daytime meet-ups will take place in “panel-type” rooms and will follow the same timeslot / schedules as daytime programming.

Interactive Awards + Game Awards
For this year, we are looking to make significant changes in two of our mainstay competitions. The Web Awards will change to the SXSW Interactive Awards (and focus on technologies beyond web interfaces). Meanwhile, the Game Design Competition will become the SXSW ScreenBurn Game Awards.

SXSW Interactive awards goes from March 11 – 15. Here are some important dates to remember:

  • August 2010 – Registration opens for 2011
  • August 11th – PanelPicker voting opens [updated]
  • August 27th – PanelPicker voting closes
Are you planning to attend? here are some useful links:

RISE – Austin’s free conference for Entrepreneurs

RISE logo
Today I attended an event put together by the Austin Biz Journal, the Entrepreneur Xtravaganza. It was a great event, I learned from various successful entrepreneurs such as Randy Cohen (TicketCity.com), Jack Daly (jackdaly.net), Neal Petersen (nealpetersen.com), Rick Sapio (gatheringoftitans.com), Bertrand Sosa (mpowerlabs.com / riseaustin.org) and Kyle McDonald (oneredpaperclip.com).

One of the most interesting talks was that of Bertrand Sosa, I guess I related to him since he is from Mexico and came to the US some years ago, just like I did.

I was amazed with his story, Bertrand co-founded Netspend with his brother Roy Sosa with only $750 and sold it for $750 million in cash back in 2007.

The Sosa brothers are now helping other entrepreneurs make their dreams a reality, they founded a new organization that offers free events for entrepreneurs called Relationship and Information Series for Entrepreneurs (RISE).

RISE is a free conference for entrepreneurs of all types, providing a forum where you can connect and exchange ideas that inspire the entrepreneurial spirit.

RISE is not your ordinary conference. Because RISE is designed for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, the format is hands on, high energy and free-flowing. RISE sessions are independently organized by hosts, each of whom chooses his/her own topic and session location. These peer-led forums are limited to 25 participants and take place all over Austin.

During RISE, you may find yourself headed to conference rooms, coffee shops, classrooms or cultural centers. You’ll connect with entrepreneurs from multiple industries and backgrounds, along with leaders from universities, non-profits, neighborhoods and government. It’s a fun and highly educational ride, much like entrepreneurship itself.

I highly recommend you check out RISE’s website and plan to attend their next event, you can learn more about this great organization here:

http://www.riseaustin.org

The city of Austin offers help to entrepreneurs / small businesses

The Small Business Development Program (SBDP) offers no-cost services for those who want to open a business and for those who already own a small business and need some counseling and assistance.

The SBDP also offers business classes taught by University of Texas faculty on subjects such as social media, business basics, finances, etc. Classes last about three hours and a lot of them are free while other classes typically cost $35 to $85.

There are also multiple events every month where the small business owners have a chance to meet, network, and learn from area lenders about the loan process for your small business. Whether starting out or looking to expand your existing business.

The SBDP program has about 15 employees and they all contribute greatly to the success of small businesses interested in the program. The SBDP makes its own resources available to small business owners. as well as provide points of contact to outside resources beyond the scope of what they do at SBDP.

The center has a $2 million budget, which is expected to remain flat through the upcoming budget cycle, said Elizabeth Gross, a program business information specialist.

The program does not offer grants, but it is able to help put budding business owners in touch with lenders, Gross said.

Another objective is helping people navigate city processes for opening a business or greasing the skids when business owners encounter bureaucratic snags and other obstacles, she said.

To learn more about this great program for Austin entrepreneurs, please visit their website at:

http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/sbdp/

Southwest Airlines to add a new Nerd Bird, Austin-San Jose

Southwest Airlines will add an Austin-San Jose nonstop flight on Nov. 7, joining Alaska Airlines and JetBlue as carriers on a route popular with Austin techies.

JetBlue does not have an Austin-San Jose route but its Austin-San Francisco flight is close enough for many to consider when visiting the valley.

Introductory fares are as low as $79 each way for flights purchased by Thursday for travel between Nov. 7 and Dec. 14, excluding a blackout period around Thanksgiving.

The weekday flights will depart Austin at 7:55 a.m. and 3:55 p.m. daily. The return flights leave San Jose at 10 a.m. and 6:20 p.m.

This is a great addition and is widely welcome by the startup community in Austin. The competition that this will create between these airlines will only help to everyone looking to fly from Silicon Hills to Silicon Valley.

Book your flight now

Tech Ranch Austin, an oasis for entrepreneurs and their startups – also called an incubator

Tech Ranch Austin is a technology incubator headquartered in Austin, TX.

Tech Ranch Austin focuses on accelerating pre-seed and seed stage technology companies that can change the world.

The Tech Ranch Austin offers various programs to help entrepreneurs and their startups succeed by offering various services that support every type of entrepreneur. Their services are as follow:

  • Venture Forth Program
  • Pioneer Program
  • Office Space
  • Barn Builders
  • Entrepreneur Office Hours

Venture Forth Program

This is a class for entrepreneurs to help you define your idea or to help you grow your startup. This program/class helps you discover the potential of your idea, and teaches you how to grow with it all the way until it becomes a successful business.

The Venture Forth program meets one day a week for 8 weeks. The topics covered in this program are as follow:

  • Taking the entrepreneurial plunge
  • Can I survive on a bootstrapper’s budget
  • Fail Forward Fast
  • How do I find the right team
  • Start up nuts and bolts
  • Proving the idea before pulling the trigger
  • Secret (and not so secret) funding avenues
  • Researching the market and the competition
  • 3, 2, 1 Launch! (or Abort)

When you sign-up for this program, Tech Ranch Austin also offers you 24×7 access to their offices, access to Tech Ranch Barn Builders and a ton of free services to support your startup.

The cost of this class is $495 per participant. See their website for an up to date schedule.

Pioneer Program

This is the program to follow-through of the practices and growth you learned in Venture Forth. This program allows you to connect to other entrepreneurs and get valuable feedback on your progress. It is a support group for entrepreneurs.

The group meets each Tuesday afternoon at noon, this is where you can ask for advice and/or offer advice to other entrepreneurs.

Tech Ranch provides office space, 24×7 access, shared services, conference room a collaborative environment and the Tech Ranch staff is available as you need them as well. Sounds good? well, it is.

The cost of this program is $150 per month, and $100 per month if you are a Venture Forth graduate.

If you are interested in this program you can enroll using this form.

Other benefits of this program include unlimited Wi-Fi, mail service, access to Tech Ranch sponsors, mentors and staff, use of work areas, conference rooms, lounge and kitchen.

Office Space

Tech Ranch also offers dedicated, closed-door offices for technology startups, without the burden of a long-term lease. They have small, medium and large offices with a fixed month-to-month lease. You can cancel your lease at any time with only a 30 days notice.

All offices include the following:

  • All utilities except phone
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi access to the Tech Ranch network
  • Mailing address
  • Desks, chairs and whiteboards for each office
  • 24×7 secured access to Tech Ranch
  • Conference rooms and training facilities
  • Unlimited usage of Tech Ranch common areas such as desks, living room and kitchen
  • Support from the Tech Ranch staff as needed

If you are interested in leasing one of the spaces they offer, visit their FAQ page, attend a Tech Ranch Campfire event or contact them at info@techranchaustin.com

The cost of these offices is as follow:

  • Small offices (!150 sq ft): $400 per month
  • Medium offices (~200 sq ft): $500 per month
  • Large offices (~250 sq ft): $600 per month
  • Large Teaming Room (for up to 10 people company): $1250 per month

If you are interested in this program you can enroll using this form.

Barn Builders

This program helps match Austin area entrepreneurs with local people. If you are an entrepreneur and are looking for someone to design your site, develop an application, etc… you can then join the Barn Builder network to find the right people.

This program is open to everyone Tech Ranch promotes this program to unemployed or recently laid off people from Austin, and the cost of this program is zero, nada.

If you are interested in this program, take a moment ant introduce yourself to the Barnbuilder community.

Entrepreneurial Office Hours

The Tech Ranch partners advise startups on a variety of topics such as raising capital, market strategy, operational logistics, etc… The first 30 minutes of the consultation is free. Hourly rates and project-based rates are available. There are also special discounts available to startups participating in other Tech Ranch program.

To enroll in this program, go to one of the Campfire events or email Tech Ranch at info@techranchaustin.com.

Tech Ranch Austin is another valuable resource available to entrepreneurs in the city of Austin, TX. It is a good way to connect to other entrepreneurs and see first hand what is working for them and learn from others. The resources such as office space, supportive environment and access to other services is great, especially if you are bootstrapping your startup and don’t have much money to spend on a lease, etc…

Tech Ranch Austin’s address and contact information:

Home


2311 W. Rundberg Lane
Suite 200
Austin, TX 78758

Office: 512-339-3242

Until next time.