Every March in Austin, South by Southwest—or SXSW for short—features various festivals and conferences that mesh film, music, and interactive media. For the past three years, the Penn Center for Innovation (PCI), in an effort led by Laurie Actman, has made the University’s presence known at the SXSW Interactive events—showcasing and promoting Penn’s innovation activities, new technologies, and startups through panels, pitch competitions, and at the trade show.
“The planning and effort takes a lot of work but ultimately this engagement has helped to further Penn and Philadelphia’s reputation as a tech and startup hub that is growing,” said Actman, PCI’s chief marketing, communications, and programs officer. “It shows that we should not be overlooked by investors and companies seeking partners.”
As it has in the past, PCI helped to sponsor the Philly Startup Leaders’ Amplify Philly delegation at SXSW, and also this year led seven University-affiliated startups to SXSW, including Neonur, Viora Health, Avisi Technologies, Avior Analytics, Fiction Mine, Chippin, and Dorothy.
“Our vision was to provide an opportunity for the worldwide Penn community to connect at SXSW and enable innovators to rub elbows in an informal setting,” said Penn alumnus Walter Kalmans, president of Austin-based Lontra Ventures.
“It helps keep the alumni up-to-date on the innovation that is taking place at their alma mater,” added Penn alumna Emma Vas, president of the Penn & Wharton Club of Austin. “We love meeting the passionate entrepreneurs and learning about their motivations behind their ideas.”