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4 Things We Got Right At SXSW

Last year, I fell victim to FOMO at SXSW. Within the previous post, I reflected on the vulnerability and pressure to attend as many panels as possible while losing a sense of control. I also yearned at the possibility of returning to SXSW with a renewed sense of purpose:

“Making the most of everything, forgeting about a pre-planned agenda and just living in the present can lead you to just as many positive interactions. When you show up to a venue and introduce yourself, you are delivering an opportunity to create collaboration.”

With a new SXSW ahead of us we wanted to foster as many meaningful connections as possible.

We didn’t exactly return to Austin without an agenda, but we made sure to keep it flexible while being productive patrons of the festival. There were also a few areas that could have been better executed. Below are four things we got right this time around:

Participation

We engaged with Senior SBA officials on an investment and social innovation panel hosted at Capital Factory. There were also a solid group of local VCs involved in the discussion such as LiveOak Venture Partners and Escalate Capital. Some of the topics included getting a high tech company off the ground, small business innovative research (SBIR), investing in innovation and limited partner perspectives. Ajit Verghese provided a good amount of insightful comments like the one embedded above.

Thanks to Nagesh for being a big part of arranging this event.

Immersion

Although SXSW is a hotbed of techies from around the globe it’s also an excellent opportunity to connect with people from your own backyard. I, along with 25 other entrepreneurs and innovators, represented Washington, DC as #WeDC ambassadors. #WeDC is an initiative led by the Washington DC Economic Partnership in collaboration with The Executive Office of the Mayor and Events DC

The ultimate goal of the WeDC House at SXSW is to expand the city’s technology sector, promote DC’s innovative startup and creative community and foster new partnerships among local and national business communities.

It was a pleasure participating and supporting the two dozen programming and live music events. DC is committed to becoming the number one most city for inclusive innovation through “Pathways to Inclusion.” I’m proud be a part of it!

We also enjoyed attending the Incubator, Accelerator & Co-working Meetup hosted by AEDP (our BOOST Alexandria partners) at the WeDC House.

Shoutout to Frank Taylor from Fosterly for organizing many of the events.

Connection

We wanted to display a presence unlike the previous year so we stationed ourselves in a particular place. We hosted three hour #HumbleHangs Sunday through Tuesday. We invited stakeholders (private/public sector), believers in what we dream, innovators we hadn’t yet met in person and new friends we encountered at SXSW. Hosting private gatherings with free bubbly provided amazing conversations and free-flowing connectivity along the scenic Lake Travis. We also had fun after the social gatherings stumbling to various local staples such as Launderette, Home Slice and Torchy’s to name a few.

Cultivation

Read about RemodelMate’s SXSW Experience

We, humble ventures, believe inclusive economies are the cornerstone to community resilience. We are educating, accelerating, investing and cultivating a pipeline of diverse entrepreneurs from underserved communities, minorities, women, and military veterans. We achieve this through partnerships with those seeking a better philanthropic connection to people tackling problems worth solving.

We couldn’t be more proud to see our diverse startups, past and present, who showcased their talents this week. Two of our startups attended SXSW last year while four not only attended this year’s festival but they were also included in planned programming. Some of these startups include Breezio, RemodelMate and The Mentor Method. It was also great to see Patriot Boot Camp and Techstars alum, PermitZone, take the $15K prize at the seed pitch competition.

This was only our perspective and I’m sure after more reflection we will determine additional areas for improvement at SXSW in 2018. I would love to hear what you learned from your SXSW experience below in the comments section. What did you get right or wrong? Thanks and be sure to follow more of our adventures on Twitter!

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