(With Oded Grinstein) Every Spring, SXSW, a music, media and innovation festival, attracts thousands to Austin, Texas. The pilgrims come from all walk of humanity: from places both local and far-flung; Artists, agents and fans; Corporate executives, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and journalists. And in accordance with a familiar principle, wherever there is innovation, there are visionary Israelis.
One favorite tradition at SXSW refers to the dozens of panels and parties taking place every day at the festival, where revelers mingle, imbibe and discuss all kinds of relevant topics from the arts to technology. For the second year in a row, the Israel Economic Mission in Houston, together with Israel Bonds, organized a “Startup Nation Showcase” and networking party featuring more than a dozen Israeli companies with solutions for commerce, social media, advertising and beyond. The party kicked off with an address by the Honorable Nandita Berry, Secretary of State for Texas, and was attended by several notable investors and innovators, including Yahoo!, KDDI and Adobe. The more than 200 guests in attendance were invited to enjoy a tempting array of Israeli wines.
Participating Israeli companies included:
During the event, many Israeli companies received recognition for their value and ingenuity. Samba, an app for Apple’s iPhone that records and shares viewers’ reactions to viral videos, was awarded ‘Best Social Technologies App’ at the festival.
Other notes: Although there was no official theme for this year’s festival, the big topic on everyone’s lips was technology, privacy and Big Data. The two most popular speakers (via video conference) at SXSW were Julian Assange, the controversial founder of WikiLeaks, and Edward Snowden, a former U.S. government employee who drew attention to the way that organizations and governments collect and use private information.
(More coverage from the Israel Economic Mission in Houston available HERE.)