SXSW is the annual event in Austin, where the world of innovation presents its progress. It was here, for example, where Twitter was presented for the first time – and immediately attracted massive amounts of users. The ideal place for startups to showcase themselves. However, it is not so easy to get there, especially for initiatives from outside the US. Since 2009 there has been an SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event to change this. This year, its organisers are focusing specifically on Europe.

Bert-Jan Woertman, commercial director at Eindhoven University of Technology, is a member of the advisory board of this event. He is now trying to get as many Dutch startups as possible to be enthusiastic as possible to register for this. Woertman:”If you have the ambition to conquer your business in America, this is the place-to-be. SXSW is probably the largest group of emerging entrepreneurs and artists from all over the world, making it the ultimate cocktail for inspiration and innovation. You meet like-minded people, people who make or are going to make a difference today. During the keynotes, panels, workshops, trade shows and parties you have plenty of chance to meet with relevant others, people who can be of significance for your future. Top marketers from the Valley, investors, potential customers and many journalists from all over the world.”

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    Thibaut Decré (HighTechXL) is pleased that SXSW is going to focus more on Europe. “It seems to be a real success: Europe, the Netherlands and even Eindhoven are starting to appear on the map when it comes to innovation in the US.”

    During the SXSW Accelerator pitch event, the invited start-ups get a spotlight for thousands of people to present their latest product. Decré: “This is a unique opportunity for consumer-focused startups, in SXSW’s 10-focus loop, to reach a wide audience in the States. And of course, nowadays you don’t have to explain to anyone anymore why it is valuable to stand on a stage in America, for global media and investors, and to show yourself from your best side. Even if the ideal market for a specific start-up is not in America, it is always good to get an exposure on such a scale. The subscriptions run until November 10th, so grab your chance!”

    The Accelerator pitching event itself is on 10 and 11 March 2018 but contestants must register before 10 November. A total of 50 startups can participate.

    What SXSW says about Accelerator:

    Of the 403 companies who participated in SXSW Accelerator between 2009 and 2017, over 70% received funding, with combined funding in excess of almost $4.63 billion (does not include undisclosed grants, angel and seed funding). Of these 403 companies, 16% have been acquired by the likes of Google, British Telecom, Huffington Post, Apple, Live Nation, OpenTable, Constant Contact, and Harmon. For more information on past alum please visit SXSW Accelerator Alums.

    SXSW Accelerator


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    Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of