SXSW is a great venue for smaller stage entrepreneurs looking to pitch their new ideas, launches, or companies to the masses. However, it's also easy for them to get lost and overwhelmed in the sea of corporate giants and sponsored parties.
To that end Hugh Forrest, the Director of SXSW, built the ReleaseIt competition to give smaller stage entrepreneurs a platform from which to pitch to a dedicated audience. Specifically, ReleaseIt gives companies a way to easily launch new products or services during the SXSW festival.
On Friday, March 13, Trey Bowles of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC) took the mic and kicked off the competition. Ten different companies pitched to a high profile panel of judges that included Andy Stoll, Iowa Startup Accelerator; Susan Amat, founder of VentureHive; Shauna Causey, VP of EveryMove; and Evan Burfield, cofounder of 1776.
Here are the three startups that took first, second, and third place at ReleaseIt:
- Honest Dollar – Austin, TX: Honest Dollar is a fintech startup. What AirBnB did to hospitality, and Uber did to transportation, Honest Dollar is doing to Financial Services. Our first product focuses on “frictionless” retirement plans for the 70M Americans who currently have no access.
- Spotlight Health – Austin, TX: Spotlight Health provides a location based platform for consumers to compare medical costs from doctors, hospitals and clinics. Our mission is to shed light on healthcare price transparency, while providing a simple & informative healthcare provider search engine.
- Ridgewing – New Boston, NH: Ridgewing is eradicating boundaries of innovation on the guitar and offering guitar-players the creative freedom to personalize every instrument. Each Ridgewing Guitar is a unique combination of instantly-interchangeable modules, built by independent makers through its open-innovation platform. Join the guitar evolution.
The seven other startups pitching were:
- Cord Cruncher – Henderson, NV: CordCruncher, the manufacturer of the world’s coolest tangle-free headphones, is excited to introduce the next generation of its patented cord management system to the Apple and Android USB charger/sync universe. CordCruncher…It’s Never Knot Time.
- DRAFT – Austin, TX: DRAFT changes the way people view, think, and act when it comes to investing by comparing performance, allocation and fees to peers. DRAFT provides new levels of insight and transparency for the regular investor.
- Gurrate – Frisco, TX: Gurrate is a free application for travelers to sell empty seats in their Carshare, Rideshare, Taxi, or TNC vehicle. It’s like StubHub.com but for ground transportation services. We make it easy to generate cash while riding to your destination.
- Heard – Santa Monica, CA: Heard matches content to its ideal audience based on reputation and relevance, not friends or followers. Users choose when and how they are identified using “Verified not Identified”™ badges that protect personal information. Heard is like Netflix for content.
- Homage – Tel Aviv, Israel: Homage emoticons will enable its users to create Dynamic emoticons with their own Video. The user shots a short Video with the app and the app automatically generates a pack of cool short animated Gifs/Video Later the user can add a unique Keyboard to be used in his favorite messaging apps.
- Ship.io – San Francisco, CA: Ship.io is a cloud platform for Continuous Delivery of native iOS and Android mobile apps. Purpose-built to support and streamline leading edge mobile development workflows, Ship.io automates your build-test-deploy cycles so you can ship quality Apps faster.
- Supper – New York, NY: At Supper we believe that good vibes are an essential part of a great experience. We seek out curators, chefs and artists who believe the same.