Startups

To cap off our 6th year at SXSW and follow up on last year’s amazingly successful Trend Lounge, we knew this year had to be bigger, better, more engaging, and of course, even more fun. As we know, long gone are the days of experiencing SXSW Interactive with just 9,000 other tech entrepreneurs and business brights – with 30,000 registrants in 2013 and the final numbers for 2014 still in the works.

As we recall, this year has kicked off with some fierce acquisitions in the connected home and internet of things (IOT) space, namely with Google’s high profile $3.2 Billion acquisition of smart home device company, Nest. To say we were excited for the home track of REACH | The Connected Future would have been a severe understatement.

To get some up to speed, Rap Genius, as a team and company have upheld a reputation as anomalies in the tech world.

Moderated by Sean Arian, VP of Innovation, Sustainability and Emerging Technology @ the LA Chamber of Commerce, this conversation was an inside opportunity to dispel the myths surrounding the Cleantech industry. Collectively, the panel spoke on behalf of the Cleantech industry, standing firm, to state that…

Today, we have Vince Leung, co-founder and operating CTO of MentorMob. After a successful run through NYC-based Kaplan Edtech accelerator program (powered by Techstars), the team at MentorMob have been gearing up for a 2014 re-launch; same MentorMob name, but as Vince tells us, with a more community-based focus (don’t worry, a little more on that later).

Pushup Social seamlessly integrates a social network into an existing website in minutes. The unique technology adds a bar to the bottom of the site, which opens or closes the social network with a simple click. With this ability, website owners can now build and engage their community, control messaging, user analytics and advertising revenue, while gaining the increased site optimization that comes with keeping users on their website.

The Immunity Project is a nonprofit initiative using a unique combination of crowdfunding and venture capital, along with a novel machine learning approach in devising an HIV vaccine. Since the official YC announcement and launch of their crowdfunding campaign, they’ve successfully raised an initial goal of $482,000; to fund a final immunization experiments before undergoing Phase I clinical studies.

Meet Nanxi Liu, CEO and a cofounder of Enplug. We discuss the serendipitous circumstances that brought the founding team together (one of the most unique founder stories I’ve heard to date) and move to topics surrounding the future of digital advertising.

Today, the Walt Disney Company & Techstars announce their plans to select ten startup companies for a three-month mentorship and seed-stage investment program. The LA-based program is powered by Techstars and focused on “technology-based companies focused on trnasformative media and entertainment experiences.” Applications are being accepted starting today, through April 16, 2014 for early-stage companies with innovative consumer media and entertainment product ideas. Visit www.disneyaccelerator.com for full details on applying for the program.

Some common startup myths have frequently been debunked, like how running your own company will give you freedom (yeah, right!) or how failure leads to future success (it could, but it’s certainly no golden ticket), and how all an entrepreneur needs is passion (who needs the ability to execute when you have passion, right?!).