SXSW: Startup Bus

March 16th, 2011 by LG Blog UK

Back in 2007 a small start-up showed their social media tool at sxsw for the first time. It was called Twitter. Four years later Twitter has over 200 million active users who send 140 million tweets per day, whilst around 460,000 new accounts are set up each day.

Start-ups are an integral part of sxsw interactive, where the audience is made up of key industry players looking for the next big thing to revolutionize the online world. This year the ‘Startup Bus’ competition was put in place to help these budding online entrepreneurs get there break. Comprising of an initial 38 teams of “buspreneurs” (NOT my pun) spread across 6 buses from New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland, and Miami, the teams had to conceive an idea, build a prototype website, and create a pitch that they had to show to a panel of judges – all before they arrived in Austin!

Two winners were picked by the judging panel and they could not have been more different.

TripMedi is an idea aimed at helping those US citizens who cannot afford surgery in the States. Currently three million Americans travel abroad for medical care each year, due to nearly 50 million Americans not having health insurance. This equates to a $20 million dollar market in ‘medical tourism’. The aim of TripMedi is to aggregate all of the necessary information onto one trustworthy site.

On the flip side of the coin was WalkIN, the second winner picked by the panel of judges. A simple but ingenious idea, WalkIN utilizes QR codes and your smartphone to notify you when a table at a restaurant becomes available. Rather than sit at the bar filling up on complimentary nuts, you can instead scan the restaurant’s QR code and then go for a walk until your table is ready, at which point you will be notified by message.

Websites for both winners are live at the moment, they are unfortunately still in testing stages. However, having won a competition as high profile as this with solid ideas it is surely a matter of time before both companies have the financial backing to kickstart properly.

Credit to MrFlip for the top image

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