Interactive Innovation Awards

March 9-11, 2019

Honoring the most forward-thinking advancements in the digital space. Explore 2018’s most innovative digital projects at the Finalist Showcase on Saturday, March 9, followed by the Interactive Innovation Awards Presented by KPMG on Monday, March 11.

21st Annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards - Photo by Bob Johnson

21st Annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards - Photo by Bob Johnson

About Interactive Innovation Awards


The 22nd annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Presented by KPMG recognize the most exciting tech developments in the connected world.

Starting in June, 2018, innovators and creators from around the world entered their new projects to vie for top honors in this unique, long-running SXSW competition. Five finalists in each of the 13 categories were selected to come to SXSW this March to demonstrate their projects for SXSW attendees and the Innovation Awards Finalist Judges.

Experience these exciting new technologies for yourself at the 4th annual SXSW Interactive Awards Finalist Showcase on Saturday, March 9. Then come and see who will take home the trophies, at the Interactive Innovation Awards Ceremony on the evening of Monday, March 11.

See the 4th annual SXSW Interactive Awards Finalist Showcase floor plan.

Interactive Innovation Awards Presented by KPMG

KPMG is the independent U.S. member firm of KPMG International with 189,000 professionals, including more than 9,000 partners, in 152 countries. Using a cross-functional and collaborative approach, we help propel the world’s leading organizations toward a successful future while optimizing current performance. KPMG has embarked on its own transformational journey by investing in artificial intelligence and we are helping our clients understand how these emerging technologies will revolutionize the way every industry does business to lead to what some call the fourth industrial revolution.

Interactive Innovation Awards Presented by KPMG

Finalist Showcase


Explore 2018’s most innovative digital projects hands-on at the 4th annual SXSW Interactive Awards Finalist Showcase.

65 Finalists across all 13 competition categories will be on hand to demo their innovative projects for SXSW attendees, who will have the chance to vote for their choice to win the People’s Choice Award. Also during the Showcase, the Innovation Awards judges will experience each project hands-on and vote to determine the winner in each category, as well as the winner of the Best of Show Award.

All award winners will be announced at the 22nd annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Ceremony presented by KPMG on Monday, March 11, 2019.



The 22nd annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Ceremony presented by KPMG is where it all comes together.

This long-standing Interactive Festival tradition celebrates some of the most exciting innovations at SXSW. The ceremony and receptions provide for a full evening of fun, food, drinks and entertainment.

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 announce the SXSW Interactive Festival Hall of Fame honoree

Interactive Innovation Awards Emcee

Beth Stelling

Beth Stelling is a Chicago-bred comedian best known for her Netflix special The Standups and appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Conan. She’s written for I Love You America with Sarah Silverman, HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Another Period and most recently the film Good Boys premiering here at SXSW. Beth has also guest starred on Comedy Central’s hit show Corporate and Amazon’s Red Oaks opposite Jennifer Grey.

Interactive Innovation Awards Special Guest

Moritz Simon Geist

Moritz Simon Geist is a performer, musicologist, and robotics engineer. He started because he wants to invent the future of electronic music – with robots! Geist’s projects range from robotic music performances to robotic sound installations. His robotic instruments and performances have been shown in numerous European festivals and exhibitions throughout the last years. He collaborates with performers such as Mouse on Mars and Robert Lippok and teaches on the progression of technology and society at the NYU Berlin. He was awarded the Artist-In-Residence-Stipend for the Free State of Saxony, the Visual Music Award 2017 and a working grant of the Initiative Music 2017/18. His background is both as a classical musician and a robotics engineer, with expertise in prototyping technologies and 3D-Printing.

“Tripods One” is a futuristic robotic sound performance. It sketches a possible future of human-machine interaction – with robots and electronic music.

The kinetic sculpture is played live as a music instrument in an AV-performance. Small mechanics and physical tone-generators insides the sculpture produce the noises used in the musical context. The sculpture envisions a futuristic sound device which plays contemporary electronic music through music robots. In the performance, Geist is still present on stage controlling and interacting with the machine.

2019 Finalists


The SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards celebrate the most forward-thinking developments in the connected world. Below are the 2019 winners!

2019 Interactive Innovation Awards Winners

AI & Machine Learning

Honoring digital systems which have the ability to adapt to changing data, stimuli, and circumstances; replicating learning, problem-solving, and cognition.

Health, Med, & BioTech

Honoring the best new technology to improve the quality, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care in health and medicine.

  • Butterfly iQ by Butterfly Network, Guilford, Connecticut, USA

Innovation in Connecting People

Honoring the most forward-thinking ways to connect and communicate with others.

Music & Audio Innovation

Honoring the most innovative devices or services that change and improve the way we listen to, compose and enjoy music.

New Economy

Honoring those redefining the exchange of goods and services, from the sharing economy, to virtual currency, to micro-finance, to mobile-device-payment systems, and beyond.

Robotics and Hardware

Honoring the hottest new advances in the field of robotics and hardware.

  • My Special Aflac Duck™ by Aflac, Sproutel, Carol Cone On Purpose & The Nation of Artists, Los Angeles, California, USA

Smart Cities, Transportation & Delivery

Honoring innovations in eco-friendly or sustainable energy, transportation, delivery and IoT technology, making life in the connected world a smarter, cleaner, greener, and more efficient Internet of Everything.

Social & Culture Impact

Honoring the best new projects and technologies that focus on social and cultural impact and encourage communities and individuals to participate in and contribute to the betterment of society.

Speculative Design

Honoring the best new work that uses design to re-think products, systems and worlds and address the challenges, opportunities and possibilities of the future.

Student Innovation

Honoring exceptional student projects and startups that focus on interactive technology for the future.

Style & Wearable Tech

Honoring the new hardware that revolutionizes the convenience, comfort, functionality, efficiency, and fashion of having a device literally “on you.”

Visual Media Experience

Honoring content creation and delivery that moves beyond passive viewership by providing a more immersive and engaging entertainment experience.


Honoring breakthroughs in augmented, virtual and mixed reality technology including the application of new hardware or software which truly make the virtual a reality.

Special Honors

Breakout Trend of the Event

Confronting an Era of Digital Distrust

People’s Choice Award

My Special Aflac Duck™

Best of Show

Butterfly iQ

Interactive Hall of Fame

Honoring those exceptional trailblazers whose work has helped shape the connected world and who continue to guide the direction of the digital industry. Learn about our 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee, Founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE, Kimberly Bryant.

David Carr Prize

PROMPT – “In 2050, warmer global temperatures will lead to…”


Alex Handloff – “How Much for that Ladybug?”
Masters of the Environment, Sustainability Planning & Management | University of Colorado Boulder | Class of 2019

Daniel Francis Olivieri – “The Theology of Climate Change”
B.A. English, concentration in Scientific Computing | Kenyon College | Class of 2019

Jason Lange – “Aboard the Ark”
B.A. Journalism | Northeastern University | Class of 2018

Jordan Holtzer – “Women are Getting Hotter”
UCLA School of Law | Class of 2019

Paramita Vadhahong – “Afternoon Tea”
High School Diploma | Clements High School | Class of 2019


Jordan Holtzer – “Women are Getting Hotter”
UCLA School of Law | Class of 2019

Entry Process Overview



A project or product submitted for the SXSW Innovation Awards must have launched or have been completely redesigned in calendar year 2018 (between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018).

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. All SXSW Innovation Awards entrants will be given the chance to register to attend SXSW Interactive at the lowest early bird rate. SXSW Innovation Awards finalists receive 2 complimentary Platinum registrations.

The entry period for the 2019 Interactive Innovation Awards is currently closed.

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

Finalist Showcase

Five finalists in each of the 13 categories will be announced in December 2018. Each finalist entry receives 2 complimentary SXSW Platinum registrations (badges) to attend the 2019 SXSW Interactive Conference & Festival.

Finalists in each of the 13 categories will be given demo space at the SXSW Interactive Festival during the 4th annual SXSW Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase on Saturday, March 9, 2019. The showcase is an opportunity for awards finalists to exhibit their work to the community of SXSW registrants and is open to all badgeholders, who determine the winner of the People’s Choice Award. A finalist’s participation in this Showcase is required to be eligible to win the award in their respective category, as the final round of official judging to determine winners will take place at this March 9, 2019 event.

Winners in each of the 13 categories and all special honor awards will be announced at the 22nd annual SXSW Innovation Awards Ceremony on Monday, March 11, 2019.

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 be only viewed by SXSW staff and the selected judging panelists.


Questions? Check out the Innovation Awards FAQ.

More Questions

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

2018 Interactive Innovation Awards Winners


2018 Winners

AI & Machine Learning

Swarm AI by Unanimous AI, San Francisco, CA

Health, Med, & BioTech

MasSpec Pen by the Eberlin Lab at The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Innovation in Connecting People

Read To Me by The Electric Factory, Montevideo, Uruguay

Music & Audio Innovation

Hands-Free Music Project by Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA

New Economy

Autonomous Operations Platform for Selfdriving Fleets by Ridecell, San Francisco, CA

Privacy & Security

Ghostery Privacy Ad Blocker by Ghostery, New York, NY

Responsive Design

The Coca-Cola Times Square Billboard
by space150, Atlanta, GA

Scifi No Longer

The Dermal Abyss: When Tattoos meet Biotechnology by MIT Media Lab, Harvard Medical School and UC Davis, Davis, CA

Smart Cities

Jacques-Cartier Bridge Interactive Illumination Concept by Moment Factory, with: Réalisations Montréal Inc., Ambiances Design Productions, ATOMIC3, Éclairage Public / Ombrages, Lucion Média and UDO Design.Project directed by Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc., Montreal, QC

Student Innovation

Facebook Messenger Blood Type Bots by Ryan Leckie and Jakub Straka, Miami Ad School Europe, Hamburg, Germany

Visual Media Experience

LEGO House Fish Designer by LEGO House / Trigger Global, Los Angeles, CA


Maestro: Empowering VR Storytelling Through Social Collaboration by Penrose Studios, San Francisco, CA

Wearable Tech

Jacquard™ by Google, Mountain View, CA

Special Honors

Interactive Hall of Fame

Eli Pariser

David Carr Prize

Amanda Gail

Meme of the Year

Savage Prince George

Breakout Trend of the Event

Globally Connected: we’re in this together

Speaker of the Event

Esther Perel

People’s Choice Award

The World’s First AI Financial Advisor by Pefin, New York, NY

Best of Show

Swarm AI by Unanimous AI, San Francisco, CA

Learn More

Watch Videos from SXSW 2019

Get inspired by a multitude of diverse visionaries at SXSW – browse videos from Keynotes, Featured Sessions, Red Carpets, and more.

Watch Now

Session Formats

Learn more about the session formats for programming tracks at the SXSW Conference.

Explore Formats

Super Sponsors

Stay Tuned

Sign up to receive the latest announcements, tips, networking invitations and more.