Of the hundreds of startups that applied for a chance to shine at South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive‘s Startup Village, only a handful were chosen as finalists in six categories at the SXSW Accelerator. Long seen as the startup stamp of approval from one of the world’s largest technology conferences, SXSW Accelerator is a two-day pitch contest that boasts an impressive list of judges and emcees, including Oracle co-founder and CEO Rahim Fazal, FitBit co-founder and CEO James Park and the former CEO of Apple Computers, John Sculley.
Yves Frinault, the co-founder and CEO of startup Fieldwire, found the experience to be a global celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit. “It was a cool event. The quality of startups were very high, and it was another opportunity to meet other founders from all over the world,” explained Frinault. “For us, it’s just a great way to meet other startups that are like-minded, so that was cool.”
Fieldwire was a finalist in the Enterprise and Big Data category, and is a mobile collaboration service that allows field workers to connect, record and relay critical information while they work scattered throughout a construction or project site.
Another exciting startup from the Accelerator contest was Waygo, a program that allows you to translate signs or text in Japanese or Chinese into English by simply taking a picture– sort of like Shazam for pictorial languages. Waygo won its Accelerator category of Entertainment and Content and shows promise in a world that’s becoming increasingly globalized and interconnected.
Wearable technology was all the rage at this year’s SXSW Interactive, and its Accelerator contest wasn’t exempt from the wearables craze. We were especially impressed with Avegant, the winner of the One-Minute Pitch Contest and a company that develops wearable head mounted displays. Their first product, The Glyph, features a so-obvious-it’s-brilliant design of a flip-down headset that turns into a visor display. The noise-cancelling audio and impressive optics makes it an incredible product that will delight anyone’s inner Geordi La Forge.