‘My heart is in the East; #StartupNation is at SXSW’ (wrap-up)

(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:

  • Hyperactivate is a turnkey social marketing solutions provider that enables social media followers to amplify brand messages across multiple channels from mobile to online and digital outdoor displays.
  • Payoneer simplifies the world of commerce by removing the limitations of geographical borders and ensures smooth, cost-effective transactions to and from anywhere.
  • WonderVoice helps you interact with your favorite apps. It is ready when you are as it responds to your voice whenever you wish to Facebook, listen to music, find parking and more.
  • Interlude is the realization of a vision to create a new type of interactive video, offering users a seamless online video experience that enables video creators to express themselves in a new way.
  • Samba combines text and video to create a video messaging platform that also records the reactions of people watching the videos. By seeing the authentic reactions Samba powers a new kind of asynchronous communication.
  • Connesta’s Cloud Control Room (CCR) replaces legacy TV control room and vans to significantly lower costs and deliver unprecedented production flexibility. The hardware-free SaaS platform completely changes the cost paradigm for live video production, making it an affordable option for everyone.
  • Five Blocks is a digital consulting and technology firm that enables clients to manage the way their brand is perceived online. We develop and utilize technology that analyzes search-results data providing our clients with the context necessary to make informed digital branding decisions. The goal of each client program is to develop and execute an action plan shaped by data analysis.
  • LoyalBlocks is a highly advanced loyalty marketing solution for brick and mortar businesses and their clients. Backed by the only patented technology that enables automated hand-free punch cards and customer rewards, along with an easy-to-use dashboard, incredible social marketing features, and at highly competitive rates, LoyalBlocks is dominating the loyalty market.
  • YEVVO is the best way to let the world experience what you see, with you. Instantly push live video to your friends’ pockets and follow their lives in real-time. We are a free mobile-to-mobile platform that lets you instantly share live HD video with an unlimited number of subscribers’ mobiles.
  • Infiniti Augmented Reality (Infinity AR) provides the revolutionary software platform that makes the digital eyewear experience (i.e. Meta, Google Glass) a reality. The company is the first augmented reality software platform to connect universally with digital eyewear, smartphones and tablets, integrating multiple devices into one platform.

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.)