Many start-ups pick SXSWi for launch



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Posted on March 12, 2013 at 5:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 12 at 6:01 PM

AUSTIN -- South by Southwest Interactive is a tech start-up haven. People from around world been have spent the past week pushing their product as the next "big thing."

If you have a computer or a cell phone, there's a good chance you use an app created or launched at SXSW. Twitter and Foursquare both got their buzz from tech crowds there, but as those crowds increase, chances of success do not.

Brendan Lewis is the director of Corporate Communications of Foursquare. "I do think it's a little tougher now for small companies to launch their product, definitely much different than it was in 2007, 2008 and 2009," he said.

Lewis said you have more large companies coming to SXSW and using it as a marketing platform.

"But it's a great venue for people to network, a great venue for people to gain expertise, and a great venue for companies of all sizes to tell their story," Lewis said.

To help some of the companies, one of the world's leading ad agencies, JWT, created a pop-up at SXSW for the week called Walter.

Start ups auditioned. One company working with  Walter that's generating buzz is the Plotter app for iPhone. It officially launched this year and was chosen to participate in the SXSW Accelerator event.
Tom Nolan is the founder.

"We came to South By like Foursquare, Twitters of the past, because we felt like we had a tool. Plotter is actually a utility for users at the conference that can plot out locations on a map," Nolan said.

You can share those maps with friends on Twitter and Facebook.

However, start ups at SXSW aren't just consumer based.

Austin resident Bart Bohn is the founder of Launched just a few months ago, his site helps online video games manage the most valuable players. He says it's great having so many contacts gather in his backyard.

As for Foursquare, the company returns each year to introduce enhancements to its service. One is a "best of" list, rating hot spots all over the world. It makes recommendations and even takes into account if it's raining.

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