SXSW Accelerator: Social tech startups sampler

The excitement at the 2014 SXSWi Accelerator is building with the winners being announced this evening. Social Media startups presented this afternoon, and here’s a taste.

photo (2)Connect, from San Francisco, aggregates and maps all your friends from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram, and more and allows you to keep in touch with them without “the creepiness of GPS.” They do that by aggregating “check-in” data from the above mentioned social platforms. I guess this is targeted at a demographic Im not a part of since I almost never check in anywhere. I must be missing all of the fun, so I’m gonna check it out. Geolocation based offers and events is the market they are eventually after for monetizing their service.

Felt, from Telluride, seeks to bring back the expressive and personal experience of handwritten cards by enabling the writing, card choice, and snail mailing them, all from an iPad. The founder talked about appealing to the many who want to deliver the personal experience without the hassle of driving to a brick and mortar and browsing through a wall of product. I love this idea since I never listened to my mom, who told me over and over again how important thank you notes are. Clearly, targeted at a demographic that I am smack in the center of.

photo (4)samba, from Tel Aviv, is sort of a two-way video messaging service that captures the recipients reaction to a short video received through the service, and sends it back to the original sender. I wonder how people will react to being video recorded without their permission, although I guess that really won’t happen since you’ve given your permission by joining the service in the first place. Might be a cool app for a generation that is much less inhibited than we 40s + crowd. But it does look like a lot of potential fun. Hmm, maybe they could add group messaging and aggregation of multiple reaction shots into a derivative video of all of those reactions appended to the original video either in sequence or as a wall of reactions.

That’s one of the cool things about sitting in on these SXSW Accelerators. It’s impossible to not be swept up in the enthusiasm of creating and innovating – the very thing, along with a desire to work for one’s self, that brought these cool startups into being in the first place. My SXSW 2014 resolution? Start thinking more like a entrepreneur. When you think about it, every family is a startup, so each of us has some experience already.

PS – Don’t forget our IBM BlueMix party tomorrow (Monday) night at 6pm, Hilton, room #406. Register on Eventbrite for free with this code (SMAC_at_SXSW). Check out some demos, network, and hear Church on Monday. Then follow us over to our regular Monday set at the Continental Gallery, from 8:30-10. No cover. We’ll also be on the Austin Music Awards, Mar 12th, with special guests Ephraim Owens from Mumford and Sons’ horn section and Ray Benson from Asleep at the Wheel.

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