NEWS FROM ATX: SXSW® Announces Judges for Accelerator Pitch Event

My hometown is Austin, Texas and this year will be my 4th year covering South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Interactive as press. Though may seem far off to some March is approaching fast and day one of SXSW is March 10th in the heart of downtown Austin. Today SXSW announced the 39 judges for the ninth annual SXSW Accelerator® Pitch Event®, taking place March 11-12 during the SXSW Startup Village® Track at the Hilton Downtown Austin during the “convergence” portion of SXSW.  

This will be the very first time  attending events at the Startup Village track which brings together startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and innovative tastemakers. Topics range from B2B, B2C, Bootstrapping, Business Strategy, Future of Money, Startups, and anything in-between.

As the date continues to get closer I will be here on ground zero covering as much of SXSW 2017 as possible. Below is the official press release posted today.

AUSTIN, Texas — January 17, 2017 — South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals (March 10-19, 2017) announced the 39 judges for the ninth annual SXSW Accelerator® Pitch Event®, taking place March 11-12 during the SXSW Startup Village® Track at the Hilton Downtown Austin. SXSW Accelerator judges will oversee 10 categories this year, including three new categories – “Transportation”, “Sports” and “Security and Privacy” – as leading startups from around the world are brought together to present their innovations to a live audience and panel of experts consisting of successful entrepreneurs, investors and industry influencers.

The SXSW team spent months pouring over thousands of qualified candidates before deciding on the best 39 people to judge the pitch event. The esteemed judges were hand-picked as experts in the 10 SXSW Accelerator categories: “Enterprise and Smart Data,” “Entertainment and Content,” “Innovative World,” “Health and Wearables,” “Payment and Fintech,” “Virtual Reality,” “Transportation,” “Sports,” “Security and Privacy,” and “Social and Culture.”

“Each year our judges play an integral role in selecting the most innovative startups in each category – and I would say they have an excellent track record, as more than 71 percent of finalists end up receiving funding in excess of $3.1 billion and 14 percent of them are acquired by companies like Google, Apple, and Huffington Post,” said SXSW Accelerator Event Producer Chris Valentine. “We are thankful for the great group of judges we have this year, who bring with them business and investment experience key to our ten categories.”

Fifty startups are featured during SXSW Accelerator, which includes 25 companies presenting on Saturday, March 11, and 25 companies on Sunday, March 12. The pitch competition will then culminate with the SXSW Accelerator Awards Ceremony on Sunday evening, March 12 at the Hilton Downtown Austin, where one winning startup from each category will be announced and honored.

The 2017 judges include: Phil Libin of General Catalyst, Sherwin Pishevar of Sherpa Capital, Tucker Kain of Los Angeles Dodgers, Richard Garriott of Portalarium, Christine Herron of Intel Capital, Jody Holtzman of AARP, and Nina Kjellson of Canaan Partners.

For a complete list of the 2017 Accelerator judges, visit:

SXSW Accelerator will announce the 50 category finalists on Tuesday, January 24.

The Accelerator is open to Interactive, Film, Music & Platinum badge holders.

To learn more about SXSW’s Startup Village, visit:

About SXSW

SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2017 will take place March 10-19, 2017.

SXSW 2017 is sponsored by Esurance, Mazda, Monster Energy, Bud Light, Capital One, McDonald’s, The Austin Chronicle and Sonicbids.