Innovation Awards

Explore this year’s most transformative and forward-thinking digital projects at the Finalist Showcase, then celebrate the winners at the Innovation Awards Ceremony.

Stay tuned for 2021 info.

SXSW Innovation Awards Winners - SXSW 2019. Photo by Miguel Esparza

SXSW Innovation Awards Winners - SXSW 2019. Photo by Miguel Esparza

About Innovation Awards


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The annual SXSW Innovation Awards recognize the most exciting tech developments in the connected world.

Innovators and creators from around the world are invited to enter their eligible projects to vie for top honors in this unique, long-running SXSW competition. Finalists will be selected to demonstrate their projects for SXSW attendees and the Innovation Awards Finalist Judges at the SXSW Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase.

Past winners include MasSpec Pen by the Eberlin Lab at The University of Texas at Austin, Maestro: Empowering VR Storytelling Through Social Collaboration by Penrose Studios, Swarm AI by Unanimous AI, HBO’s SXSWestworld by Giant Spoon, Aira – Visual Interpreter for the Blind by Aira, and Butterfly iQ by Butterfly Network. See all 2019 winners below.

Meet finalists at the SXSW Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase and then celebrate the winners during the Innovation Awards Ceremony.

Finalist Showcase and Ceremony


Finalist Showcase

Finalists will receive complimentary exhibition space at the Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase where they will demonstrate their entry “hands-on” for the SXSW community and the Finalists Judges.

The winners in all categories, as well as the Best of Show and People’s Choice Award winners, will be determined during the Finalist Showcase. Participation in the Finalist Showcase is required for award consideration.

Awards Ceremony

The SXSW Innovation Awards Ceremony celebrates some of the most exciting innovations at SXSW.

The lively presenters and entertainment guests make the show bounce along, as we not only acknowledge the finalists in each category and announce the winners, but we also take a moment to honor the winners of other SXSW competitions and present the SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame Award.

Entry Process Overview



A project or product entered into the Awards must have launched or have been completely redesigned in calendar year prior.

For the purposes of the SXSW Innovation Awards eligibility, “launched” may mean any of the following things:

  • When a discovery is made / when a scientific paper is published / when a patent is approved
  • When a physical device is made tangible, (IE a prototype)
  • When the applicable regulatory body (FDA, FCC, etc.) approves a product / procedure for use
  • When the product is made commercially available
  • When a project or product is publicly released

Application Process

Applicants may enter multiple projects or products. There will be an additional application fee for each additional project or product entered.

A project or product may be entered in multiple categories. There will be an additional application fee for each additional category in which the project or product is entered.

Please be sure your application is complete before submitting it. Entries may not be changed or updated once the entry has begun the evaluation process by our panel of judges. If you believe you have made an error on your application or have submitted the entry prematurely, please contact immediately.

Entry Fee

A non-refundable entry fee is required from all applicants who would like to be considered for the above awards categories. SXSW Innovation Awards Finalists receive 2 complimentary Platinum registrations. All SXSW Innovation Awards entrants will be given the chance to register to attend SXSW Interactive at the lowest early bird rate.

Judging and Evaluation

Each category is narrowed down to five finalists, based on the content of the entry’s application form, by a panel judges comprised of industry peers and experts. Entries will be graded by the following four criteria:

  • Creativity / Innovation
  • Form
  • Function
  • Overall Experience

Please Note: SXSW reserves the right to place applicants’ entries in the most relevant category at SXSW’s sole discretion. This includes changing an applicant entry’s category based on response to the event and/or the applicant choosing a non-relevant category.


No refund will be given to any application that has been submitted. If you have any concerns regarding our fees and/or the application process please email prior to entering an application. If you wish to register before being notified by SXSW on your status as an entrant to the SXSW Innovation Awards you will not be eligible for a refund.


All preliminary application information that is submitted is confidential and will only be viewed by SXSW staff and the selected judges.


Questions? Check out the Innovation Awards FAQ.

More Questions

Have more questions? Email with any questions regarding the SXSW Innovation Awards.

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