It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right, it’s SXSW season. The annual pilgrimage to Austin starts soon with more than 430,000 people from across the globe coming for content, concerts, community and good food. This year, SXSW Conference programming is organized into 25 tracks divided among Interactive, Film, Music and Convergence, presented in a variety of session formats.
This year’s keynote speakers are not to be missed and include Michael Pollan and Tim Ferriss, Emmy Award-winning journalist Maria Shriver, storyteller Brené Brown, investor Arlan Hamilton, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, philanthropist Priscilla Chan, politico Alexandria Ocasio Cortez with Briahna Gray, Vox Media’s Jim Bankoff and Soledad O’Brien, Kara Swisher of Recode, WIRED Editor in Chief Nicholas Thompson, actress and producer Olivia Wilde, Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger in a conversation with Kevin Systrom and Josh Constine, musician and creative A$AP Rocky and many more.
Each year, SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people expand their knowledge and foster the opportunity to meet fellow innovators on a mission to change the world. It is THE essential destination for social impact leaders, startup founders, investors, philanthropists and innovators. The Case Foundation team is excited to announce that we will join thousands of movers and shakers to take the stage for four sessions this year:
Our CEO Jean Case will take the stage for a Be Fearless book talk and signing, moderated by journalist Soledad O’Brien. Hear her share a mix of storytelling and strategy, practical tips and inspiration to teach you how to put these five principles to work so to spark the sorts of remarkable breakthroughs that can change the world. Copies if the book will be available at the SXSW bookstore. Pick up your copy of Be Fearless and bring it with you!
Join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and our CEO, Jean Case, for a discussion on all things Be Fearless. Jean Case will bring to life the principles at the center of Be Fearless, which aims to break the myths surrounding the road to success and changing the world. Following Jean’s talk, we’ll hear from an impressive group of women about their fearless endeavors along their professional and personal journeys.
Jade Floyd (that’s me!) will moderate a session on How to Tell Your Startup Story featuring Veronica Dagher of the Wall Street Journal, Jean Ellen Cowgill from Bloomberg’s TicToc and Catherine Clifford from CNBC. Attendees will learn their tips for founders seeking to break their next big story, what makes an effective and compelling pitch, how to build relationships with reporters and how to make your company stand out. At the session’s conclusion, we will invite attendees to share their pitches with the journalists for feedback in real time (one-minute pitch each).
My colleague Jessica Zetzman will moderate a conversation exploring programs supporting Latinx entrepreneurs, what tips they have for recruiting investment and how together we can foster more inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystems. Speakers include Dyan Gibbens of Trumbull Unmanned, Marcos Gonzalez from Vamos Ventures and C’Pher Gresham from Seed Spot.
In addition to sessions, attendees can experience an endless number of houses and activations like the #WeDC House (led by the D.C. Economic Partnership), the Jane Club House, the Bumble House, the Google Lab, Capital Factory’s VIP Lounge, the Global Innovation Zone hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Girls Lounge (The Female Quotient), Startup of the Year House, Fast Company Grill and Create & Cultivate. Also, Generation Titans, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Google, Envolve Entrepreneurship, and the Soze Agency will launch the inaugural Titan Generator at Google Austin offices.
And per usual, when in Austin, one must eat–and eat well. In addition to the hundreds of SXSW sessions and parties, you’ll find top-notch Texas restaurants and food trucks to keep you busy. Our team of former Texans here at the Case Foundation recommends a new set of restaurants to check out this year: Darcy’s Donkey, Carpenters Hall, Dean’s One Trick Pony, Domo Alley-Gato and old timers like Holy Roller, Franklin Barbecue, Kerlin BBQ, El Naranjo, Tamale House East, Launderette, La Barbeque, Le Politque, Emmer & Rye, Tiger Fork and Hula Hut. For those looking for a memorable sunset and a scenic drive, try the Oasis on Lake Travis.
But when it does come to sessions, we at the Case Foundation have done our homework so you don’t have to. We researched every single session at SXSW this year and have detailed over 30 that should be on your radar:
Join speakers Jennifer Abramson of Rethink Impact, Shelly Bell of Black Girl Ventures, Vanessa Dawson of The Vinetta Project and Brian Kenner from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for a conversation on why Washington, D.C. is the capital of inclusive innovation.
Start your SXSW right by joining this exclusive session filled with highlights from the all new ninth edition of the WSJ bestselling book Non-Obvious, where non-boring trend curator Rohit Bhargava will offer an inside look at some of the latest trends from his popular annual report.
Join industry experts from Barney’s, Etsy, Demestik and Poshmark for an inside look at how online marketplaces have allowed entrepreneurs to find success on their own terms, regardless of gender, age or education.
Explore how we can tackle the funding gap and ensure that future minority and women entrepreneurs don’t face the same funding challenges.
This presentation by a veteran change agent who brought meaningful change to CIA will give you the practical skills to not just overcome organizational obstacles, but to prosper and succeed as a change agent.
Code 2040 and Capital One team up for a conversation with organizational leaders and change agents about empowering diversity champions across the tech industry and increasing representation of Black and Latinx technologists.
Building on the success of her instant No. 1 NY Times-bestselling book, I’ve Been Thinking…: Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life, Maria Shriver continues to explore the life topics, issues and ideas that we’re all thinking about.
Grab a cocktail at PitchTexas, the startup pitch competition for university graduate students, with a total of $50,000 in prize money. Immediately following the contest, UT president Gregory L. Fenves invites you to celebrate UT at SXSW with the contestants.
This talk explores what a disrupter looks like. Hear stories from female changemakers of finance, healthcare, communications and entertainment to unpack the essential ingredients, challenges, and exhilaration of innovation and learn how gender plays into being a disruptor. Panel includes representatives from Vanguard Innovation Studio, Comcast, Jefferson Health and Chariot Solutions.
Gender bias and business has been intertwined in a problematic way. Through real life accounts of gender bias (magnified for mothers and women of color), this innovating panel paints womanhood and motherhood not as a hindrance to entrepreneurship, but as essential to creating a healthier, wealthier and more equitable world. This panel includes individuals from Happy Woman Foundation, Marigold Capital and Gell.
This session will explore how Puerto Rico’s business environment is a combination of tax incentives, public policy, support organizations, human capital and infrastructure with a modern Caribbean lifestyle. With the support of local entrepreneurship programs, an international startup accelerator, and a non-profit created to promote innovation in the island, Puerto Rico is becoming a startup city with hundreds of ideas advancing to become globally focused companies. The island’s entrepreneurial spirit has attracted international startups, investors and service providers to view Puerto Rico as an innovation hub. Marie Custodio from Parallel 18 will present.
This meet up will connect black tech founders, entrepreneurs, investors, professionals and those interested in breaking into the tech space. This event aims to connect companies with diverse talent and start-ups with investors. Avant-Garde Network and Heartspace NYC host.
The panelists will discuss how they have moved beyond the statistics, and propose practical solutions, debating how to leverage women’s unique traits as founders, funders and customers to create a parallel investment ecosystem. Panelists include Daina Trout of Health-Ade Kombucha, Tosca Musk of Passionflix Inc, Maxine Kozler Koven of LDR Ventures and Sarah Chambliss of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLC.
ProjectDiane 2018, a report by Case Foundation grantee digitalundivided, revealed that Black women raised only .0006% of the total $424.7 billion of tech venture funding since 2009. The amount for Latinx women is even smaller. Join this panel of Black & Latinx startup founders as they have a candid conversation about the journey through entrepreneurship, from incubators, to pivots, setbacks and first rounds of funding. Panelists include digitalundivided graduates from The Labz, Vamos Ladies, Quirktastic Media and Sola Travelers.
A recent study stated that 95% of Fortune 500 CEOs are white males. By supporting youth innovation, we can change that statistic. Hear from Gen Z entrepreneurs on why a breeding ground for youth entrepreneurial involvement is critical to shifting the narrative for minorities in corporate culture. These youth will discuss innovative instruments which can be used to challenge inequalities perpetuated by institutionalized forms of bias. Panelists are students at University of Pennsylvania and have created their own companies, including ToxSafe, Threading Twine, ELEVATE Senior and SOAR (Students for Oncological Aid and Relief).
According to Boston Consulting Group, 95% of startups wish to develop long-term corporate partnerships. Panelists will discuss how Austin-area companies are approaching innovation differently, what startup-corporate partnerships mean today and how both startups and corporations can find the right fit. Speakers are from Dell, Kilroy Blockchain, Oracle and Bunker Labs.
Session leaders will speak to the learnings, opportunities, and challenges of becoming location independent. Exploring such topics as what it’s like to run a fully distributed team, how life on the road increase productivity, efficiency and communication, as well as all the different ways remote entrepreneurship is changing the way we live and work. Panelists include speakers from Maverick Investor Group, Gallaher Edge, TJR Films & To The Nines Menswear, and Vitaly Design Ltd.
This is a networking session to introduce influencers to digital communicators, strategists, and managers who can potentially collaborate to work on social good issues, causes, and projects. This meet up with Women in Digital and Black Bloggers Connect will discuss the best practices when working on joint projects.
Austin is well known for its burgeoning technopreneur scene which got its start with Dell Technologies, built out of a UT dorm room back in the 80s. But local entrepreneurs are going a step further building businesses with a core focus on transforming lives with technology. Come hear from Austin’s own DivInc, along with Dell Technologies, Tiffs Treats and Cuvee Coffee to see how they weave a social mission into the fabric of their business.
Google is know for creating various opportunities for startups to partner and work with- beyond typical funding. Opportunities range from support/assistance on core products to custom partnerships. This session will uncover how Silicon Valley tech companies assess and review the trends driving these partnerships. Panelists include representatives from Google, Anchor and Overtime.
Dailey is one example of a company that went through an administrative shift that changed how employees looked at their deeply-rooted company culture. From the nuts-and-bolts of pay equity audits to socially conscious creative projects, join Dailey’s leadership for a panel discussion about how diverse leadership can create a space in which all kinds of people thrive.
Are you an angel investor or considering becoming one? Join representatives from Angel Capital Association (ACA) and Alliance of Texas Angel Networks (ATAN) for a conversation about the topics impacting angel investing today. If you’re newer to angel investing, angel groups are a great avenue to build your understanding and confidence as an investor. Join your peers to discuss these topics, make connections, and exchange ideas about the future of angel investing.
In this interview-style session, Ikechi Nwabuisi, an entrepreneur and son of Nigerian immigrants, will interview Jason Ford, a founder who sold his business in 2014 to Bazaarvoice. Ikechi and Jason bring an insider perspective to the crossroads of entrepreneurship and diversity, highlighting different levels of access and resources that shape their experiences.
As new tools and technologies enable startup ecosystems around the world, entrepreneurs in these communities are starting to plug themselves into global markets. This panel will draw from their experiences in fostering new ecosystems in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Latin America to illuminate promising solutions to these challenges. Join this session which including Affinis Labs, Pomona Impact, Samasource and Invest2innovate.
This panel of professionals in their 30s, 40s, and 60s will take a generational approach to questions around women in the workplace as they explore the value of gender diversity, why empowering women matters, and how each generation is uniquely suited to effect change. Panelists include women from T3, Women Rising, Facebook and Spredfast.
The field of philanthropy is undergoing a transformation, as new models of giving are empowering more women and communities of color to lead through giving. Case in point: in #GivingTuesday 2017, 65% of all donations came from women. This panel will explore who these new philanthropists are, what motivates them and how they are new models for helping to democratize philanthropy. Join experts from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Facebook and the YWCA as they share new research, digital data and real-world insights.
Is AI everything? This panel will discuss the types of AI startups VCs look to fund, showing investment dollars are shifting away from unproven futuristic ideas and toward more pragmatic, foundational AI infrastructure. Panelists from Blumberg Capital, Venture Capital Journal, New Enterprise Associates Inc and Verizon Ventures will also discuss the specifics they look for when assessing an AI company in the pitch room.
For 132 years, HearstLab has survived within the media sphere, but modern challenges are pressing old companies to evolve rapidly. This presentation will share an insider’s look at Hearst’s blueprint on how they successfully select and integrate startups into their diverse organization. HearstLab goes well beyond the typical accelerator model and puts clear emphasis on the positive impact it has on all constituents including startup founders, Hearst executive leaders and all Hearst employees, and how the Lab has helped identify rising talent, encourage collaboration and create new businesses.
This session convenes some of the country’s most forward-thinking scholars to discuss how the lack of diversity throughout the tech ecosystem will impact social equality, employment, prosperity and the future of Black communities. Panelists include individuals from the Inclusion Clearinghouse, The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Kapor Center for Social Impact and Quality Education for Minorities Network
What other sessions are on your radar? Share them with us on on social media @CaseFoundation. We hope to see you at SXSW!