Did you attend the 2015 SXSWi Festival in Austin? In this blog, I’d like to share the must-know SXSWi events for anyone interested in Fintech, Venture Capital, Developers, Accelerators, and Startups. Fintech Innovation On March 13th, our Yodlee® Interactive team hosted the 2nd annual Fintech Meetup at Icenhauer’s. This year, we partnered with 15 innovative companies and organizations in the financial tech space: Austin Fintech, Austin Technology Incubator, Arista Networks, Autochartist, BitPay, Charles Schwab, Credit Karma, Cyfeon, DRAFT, Kabbage, Leverage PR, PayNearMe, Planwise, Socialware, and Xignite. Our event kicked off with an introduction by Christine Loredo, VP Yodlee NEXT, Chris Chen, General Manager of Yodlee Interative North America, and quick announcements from sponsors. Special thanks to Rod Taylor, Founder of Austin Fintech and Cyfeon, for helping to organize and invite members companies! We then started the Fireside Chat: Fintech API Ecosystem with five experts: Jonathan LeBlanc (Head of Developer Evangelism, PayPal), Danny Baute (Director of Operations, Kabbage), Stephane Dubois (CEO, Xignite), John Minor (VP of Product and Marketing, PayNearMe), and Christine Loredo (VP, Yodlee NEXT) moderating the panel. Our partner BitPay also gave away two Bitcoins in the exciting Rock-Paper-Scissors “Battle Royale” Tournament. Congrats to the winners! Feel free to view our Facebook album and smilebooth animated photos for a glimpse of the action. We were thrilled to see 700+ registrations for our Fintech Meetup, with almost double the number of attendees from last year. Besides our 15 partners, here’s a snapshot of the companies that joined us:
- Startup and Tech Innovators: Able Lending, Amazon, Apptivation, Apple, Accenture, Braintree/PayPal, BitAngels, BitX, Bowery Financial, Djed Studios, Dell, Honest Dollar, IBM, Microventures, MTV, NextGenVest, Peeptrade, Rackspace, SeedInvest, Sony, Spotify, Swipely, Target, TechCrunch, Verie, VC Experts, Voatz
- Financial Institutions: BBVA, BMO Financial Group, Capital One, Citigroup, Federal Reserve Bank, TIAA-CREF, USAA, Voya Financial
- Investors: Accion Venture Lab, Commerce Ventures, Falcon Ventures, Foundation Capital, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Octavia Investments, Pelion Venture Partners, Rubicon Venture Capital, S3 Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Vitesse Capital, Wild Base Investments, 37 Ventures
- Accelerators: Capital Factory, Techstars, Austin Technology Incubator, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
It was inspiring to connect with thought leaders in Fintech and enjoy great food, drinks, music, and entertainment. In addition to our meetup, we also checked out SoFin - A social gathering for Fintech and FinServ; Fintech Cocktails with The Financial Solutions Lab; and Fintech Startup Showcase at Startup Oasis. Christine Loredo, VP Yodlee NEXT and Karim Bhalwani, Director of Business Development, Yodlee Interactive, served as mentors at UP Global’s Startup Oasis office hours. Check out the awesome list of mentors here. Venture Capital Some of my favorite events at SXSWi were hosted by Foundation Capital, a VC firm that organized a Designer Happy Hour and Making a Mega Hit Q&A. Located in a charming house and background setting, Foundation Capital brought together investors, entrepreneurs, accelerators and startups for great conversations, gourmet tapas, cocktail drinks, live music, and custom T-shirts. Other notable investors that hosted SXSWi events were Andreesen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, CAA Ventures and Siemer & Associates. These parties, oftentimes invite only, offer incredible opportunities to connect with prominent investors and serial entrepreneurs. Developers and Engineers At SXSWi, there were numerous meetups, workshops and sessions for developers. For example, the Coinbase Developers Meetup, hosted at Facebook’s Hack ‘Em conference room, focused on Bitcoin and how the Coinbase API can be used to create apps. It was cool to meet entrepreneurs and investors from Coinbase, StackExchange, Andreessen Horowitz, and Boost.VC. An inspiring event for engineers was the IEEE Women in Tech Summit. This women’s group, in partnership with the UN Foundation, focuses on building and supporting the pipeline of women in technology. Incubators and Accelerators As an advocate for Yodlee Interactive Incubator and disruptive startups, I was curious to hear Joshua Baer, Founder of Capital Factory, speak at SXSWi. In this panel discussion, four entrepreneurs shared valuable insights on accelerator resources, the application process, key program components, and lessons learned. According to Joshua, there are 10 accelerators in Austin that offer funding, a mentor network, formal training, server hosting credits and demo day. For example, Capital Factory accelerator provides access to $150K in matching funds from Capital Factory, Silverton, FLOODGATE, and its AngelList Syndicate. Austin Technology Incubator also hosted a fabulous Entrepreneur’s Lounge on the rooftop of Fogo De Chau. This exclusive “Fogo Meat Up” brought together highly curated technology CEOs, top tier venture capitalists, national press and bloggers, and entrepreneurs building the next big thing. Startup Launches At SXSWi, the hub for entrepreneurial innovation, many startups announced beta launches to generate interest among attendees. For example, DRAFT, a new crowd-sourced online investment company that is part of Yodlee Interactive Incubator, announced its beta at Capital Factory’s Startup Crawl. They also offered cool T-shirts to those who signed up at www.draftapp.com. Also, our Austin-based customer Djed Studios, revealed a demo of its new application at SXSWi. CEO and founder Darren Reid has envisioned Djed “for more than ten years. Pronounced “Jed,” the site is an all-encompassing “family” of applications, the first comprehensive app that captures and shares all the family's vital information like health, wealth, projects, sports, school, trips, whatever a digital family needs. By integrating our Aggregation API, family members will be able to view each other’s spending behavior, categorize transactions, and provide suggestions for better money management. Which meetups, parties, workshops, and sessions did you find the most valuable at SXSWi? Would you recommend any other Fintech, VC, accelerator, developer or startup events that we missed on this list? If you’re interested in partnering on future events, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.