Every year the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) takes over Austin with its many festivals and presentations. It connects some of the greatest thinkers from music, movies, and new media. Creativity and innovation are the themes of the conference, and their presence this year has been apparent.
SXSW Interactive is one of the biggest conferences at SXSW that encompasses all of the new media, and it has already unearthed some great ideas. Although the SXSW Technology Summit, which is full of great ideas and presentations on technology and business, has just begun, some standout startups have already emerged.
Every year, SXSW includes a “Startup Bus” competition. The Startup Bus takes off from 5 cities: Chicago, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Cleveland. These buses are bound for Austin, and take two days to get there. Within those 48 hours, teams are formed and they are tasked with coming up with a startup idea and then creating a website and prototype. They then present their idea to a panel of judges when they reach Austin.
48 hours hardly seems long enough to come up with a business idea and actually create a demo for it but, for these people, it’s plenty of time. Great ideas are practically always born on the buses, and this year was no different. These are the two winners of this year’s competition.
The medical tourism industry is difficult to navigate, and TripMedi is hoping to solve that issue. Medical tourism is when somebody travels to a developing country for a medical procedure in order to save money.
According to the TripMedi team, there is no clear way to navigate this market, making it an even more unnerving experience for medical tourists. So the team chose to create a Yelp-like service for the industry.
People can now go to one place to find a list of locations, doctors, and procedures and pricing available, making the process far less daunting. With 1,300 unique visitors and 44 sign-ups in just four days, TripMedi is sure to do well.
WalkIN looked to solve a challenge that everyone can relate to – waiting for a table at a restaurant. We all know how aggravating it is to cram into a restaurant lobby waiting for your name to be called.
WalkIN eliminates the cramming, but not the waiting. With WalkIN, you can come into the restaurant and scan a QR code, which will automatically put your name on the waitlist. You are then free to wander until you are alerted via your phone that your table is ready.
People no longer have to carry around big, clunky restaurant pagers that vibrate incessantly until you make it back to the host stand.
As these startups demonstrate, SXSW is a melting pot of progressive thinkers and always produces stellar ideas. There are bound to be more exciting ideas emerging from SXSW, so stay tuned.
If you’d like to learn more about SXSW, check out their website.