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Some of the future stars of SXSW – so far

Business Technology | March 16, 2011

Every year the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) takes over Austin with its many festivals and presentations. It connects some of the greatest thinkers from music, movies, and new media. Creativity and innovation are the themes of the conference, and their presence this year has been evident.

So far, the SXSW Interactive conference, which encompasses all of the new media, has showcased some exceptional ideas. The somewhat smaller SXSW Technology Summit, however, includes presentations on technology and business and has just begun. Nevertheless, some great tech-related ideas have already emerged.

Every year, in addition to all of the conferences, there is a “Startup Bus” competition. The Startup Bus departs from Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New York and San Francisco, and drives to Austin in two days. In those 48 hours, teams are assembled and they are given the task of developing an original idea, creating a demo and website, and then presenting their idea to a panel of judges once they arrive in Austin.

These teams aren’t given much time but, for them, it’s enough. This year’s teams came up with some great ideas – two of which were chosen as the winners of the competition.


The medical tourism industry is difficult to navigate, and TripMedi is hoping to solve that issue. Medical tourism is when somebody travels to a developing country for a medical procedure in order to save money.

Currently, there is no comprehensive way to figure out where these services are offered and by whom. Because the industry is growing by 15% every year, it is important that people can navigate the offerings. TripMedi is slating itself as the “Yelp for medical tourism.”

TripMedi compiles information on where people can have procedures done, prices, and physicians. And with 1,300 unique visitors in just four days, it seems like it will do just fine.


WalkIN deals with the all-too-common problem of cramming into a restaurant lobby while waiting for a table. Dozens of hungry, grumpy people are stepping on each others toes, hoping that their name will be called next.

WalkIN eliminates the cramming, but not the waiting. With WalkIN, you can come into the restaurant and scan a QR code, which will automatically put your name on the waitlist. You are then free to roam until you are alerted via your phone that your table is ready.

This is a big improvement from many restaurant pagers that are large and clunky and only work within a certain radius.

The ideas coming out of the SXSW conferences never fail to impress, as these two startup ideas demonstrate. The conference is only halfway over, so stay tuned for more standout ideas.

For additional information on SXSW and its origins, check out the website.


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