Ten ambitious startups competed in this year’s SXSW Release It on Friday, March 8. The live pitch competition is designed for startup companies to launch their most innovative products and services to a panel of judges who will decide the final winner.
The judging panel consisted of Todd Nuckols, Managing Director of Lighthouse Labs, Melissa Larson Youngblood, Co-Founder of Venn Ventures, and Jennifer Skjellum, Director of Programs at the CO.LAB. Todd, Melissa, and Jennifer were joined by emcees Jen Consalvo, Co-Founder and COO of Tech Cocktail and Andy Stoll, a Senior Program Officer at the Kauffman Foundation. Finalists had 3 minutes to showcase their innovations to the judges who then decided if they had what it takes to stand out in the marketplace.
This year’s set of startup teams came from various locations across the nation, from California to Chicago to Canada, and their ideas were just as diverse. To learn more about these startups and their products, check out the SXSW Release It page.
Many exciting and inventive ideas were presented to those on the judges panel. But who among the startups would take home the winner’s trophy? Each team presented a unique pitch that ranged from a news sharing platform to a music stock exchange to the world’s first smart bicycle helmet. Here’s a list of my personal favorites!
Ampl – Ampl is a news article sharing platform with messaging techniques enabled within articles to allow news consumers to create conversations. It aggregates over 250 premium publishers including The New York Times, VICE, TechCrunch and Psychology Today to personalize your news consumption on a centralized platform.
Riteband – The founder of Riteband, Linda Portnoff, is a musician and has a Ph.D. in Accounting and Finance. She wanted to merge her two interests which led her to Riteband, a Swedish startup that aims to intersect music, fintech and gaming to develop a music stock exchange. Music rights owners will be able to get faster funding for music through royalties and trading.
Lumos Helmet – Lumos is the world’s first smart bicycle helmet with integrated lights, brake and turn signal features. The helmet is waterproof, internationally safety-certified, and compatible with the Apple Watch. It has LED lights on the front and back to ensure people are safe and visible on the road.
Each team fought with a fiery passion to snatch first place, but in the end, there could only be one winner. After two hours of competition, Lumos Helmet was announced as the winner of this year’s SXSW Release It. Lumos Helmet aims to protect a million heads through its innovative helmet technology that aids cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians on the road through its integrated LED lights. Congratulations to Lumos Helmet, and may the odds be in your favor!
Content and Photo Contributed by Sunny Kim