A Comprehensive List of the 12 SXSW Events Talking About Accelerators

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Accelerator SXSW


If you’re planning on joining, starting, or being heavily involved in a startup accelerator, these are the SXSW events you need to check out. This list excludes the “SXSW Accelerator” series, which is seemingly more of a pitch competition than a conversation about accelerators. To find out more about each event, be sure to click on its link and “star” the event so you don’t forget about it at SXSW!!

Friday, March 13

Increasing the Diversity of Tech Startup Founders: 5:00PM – 6:00PM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Austin Convention Center Ballroom E

Minority-owned businesses are being formed at a faster rate than non-minority-owned businesses nationwide, and their economic impact is growing rapidly. In the tech industry this trend is reflected in the growing number of African American, Hispanic and Asian founders of tech startups. However, minority-owned ventures are awarded just 1% of venture and angel funding that is used to develop startups into successful enterprises. Our nation will benefit from the economic impact of the increasing number of diverse tech entrepreneurs. We need to increase access to the resources that will enable these founders to accelerate the growth of their ventures into large enterprises. Key resources needed to address this gap include mentors, tech accelerators and investors. Now is the time to build national and international awareness of how to create a more inclusive tech entrepreneurship community and engage the resources needed to stimulate the innovation that more diverse tech founders bring.

Saturday, March 14

Accelerating Startups in Europe: What’s Different: 9:30AM – 10:30AM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Hilton Austin Downtown Salon H

Europe has over 200 accelerator programs, the vast majority of which are corporate or government-backed. Since these programs where created in 2011 and 2012, they have yielded thousands of accelerated startups, a small but growing number of which emerge as global success stories. Despite comparatively low success rates and very modest investor returns, these programs have been instrumental in connecting the fragmented European startup communities into the wider global technology ecosystem. With leading US investors like USV, YCombinator, and 500 startups engaging more and more with European teams, this session will analyze the benefits and risks of working with and investing in accelerated startups from Europe, as well as discuss the opportunities for experienced US founders and operators to benefit from the European tech boom.

Sunday, March 15

Sandbox Stories, Creating a Space for Social Good: 9:30AM – 10:30AM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Austin City Hall Council Chambers

In order to create a social impact investment eco-system a community needs to have a physical place to gather. This place serves as a test ground to incubate and validate new ideas. While not all of the ideas that are birthed have the same success, this space allows for social innovation to flourish where otherwise it may only happen in a silo or not at all. This will all be shared in the form of an open dialogue where we will hear from the trailblazers in this space who have helped create and launch these spaces globally and are helping social enterprises become successful. This discussion will cover what are the steps that need to be taken to launch a space like this in your city? How do you create a structure and validate the market?


The Latin American Acceleration Scene: 11:00AM – 12:00PM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Hilton Austin Downtown Salon J

Accelerators in Latin America are growing regionally while startups are going from one city to another to open new markets, get funding and learn the best practices of the region. Join Patricia Galván and Pablo Salazar in a talk where they will share their perspective on acceleration in the region and how Latin America is taking the first steps to build a successful ecosystem. Gain first-hand insight from these leading players and be part of the creation of the first regional acceleration program.


1+ Many: The Power of Convening for Social Impact: 12:30PM – 1:30PM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Hilton Austin Downtown Room 400-402

Even in our high tech world, sometimes it takes people actually coming together to really make things happen. Austin has proven this theory for many years with incubators, accelerators, research centers, funding events and with gatherings like SXSW. Recently, the city has exploded with a plethora of coffee shops, co-working spaces, incubators, accelerators and entrepreneurial hubs with more to come as people seek out places to convene and share ideas.

In social impact, where companies create not only market value but also contribute to the social, environmental and civic good, perhaps the power of convening becomes even more relevant. So how does all of this work? Is the infrastructure in place for Austin to be a top city for social impact? What do we need to create and what can we learn from those who have blazed that path around the country and around this globally connected city? Join experts and entrepreneurs who are leading this charge for an informative and engaged discussion.


How Universities Can Create More Startups: 12:30PM – 1:30PM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Hilton Austin Downtown Salon B

In this session, we’ll present the NYU Summer Launchpad program, a ten-week accelerator for graduating NYU student teams that provides them with the skills, resources, and connections they need to develop their startups into commercially viable ventures. We will talk about the objectives of the program, as well as details about what it entails and how it is run. We will provide a brief overview of how it differs from other non-university affiliated startup accelerators. After this short overview, we will use the rest of the session to have two alumni of the program share their experiences and discuss the role NYU played in helping them develop and launch their ventures.


NeoAngel Funded Conscious Capitalism: 3:30PM – 4:30PM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Hilton Austin Downtown Salon E

DreamFunded.com, a new Angel platform, where Manny Fernandez, CEO of DreamFunded and Manos Accelerator are currently collaborating on a Beta Project that includes Socioeconomic Selection Criteria for economically advancing the lives of underrepresented women and minorities around the nation and the world. Leaders in the Latino Community willing to invest in Latino entrepreneurs or means for improving the Latino Community. To complete the Latino Symbiotic Startup Ecosystem, Manos Accelerator provides the potential Latino entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, across the United States and six Latin American countries. Under the proposed pilot, successful Latinos in the “Tech Bubble” of Silicon Valley are providing a hand (i.e. “Manos”) to other minority Tech entrepreneurs as Manos, with the assistance of the Google for Entrepreneurs Network, Silicon Valley Investors & Leaders, and the National Latino Leadership) train Latino entrepreneurs within the walls of the Silicon Valley tech corridor.


Demystifying the Startup Accelerator Journey: 5:00PM – 6:00PM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Hilton Austin Downtown Room 400-402

To optimize your chances of becoming a corporate CEO, graduate from a top tier MBA program. To optimize your chances of getting drafted for the NFL, play for a Division 1 college. To optimize your chances of a successful startup do you join an accelerator program? If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s hard to imagine ANY better environment than a startup accelerator to increase your chance of success. Offering seed funding, mentoring, office space, and investor exposure, accelerators seem to be the perfect startup boot camps. But what are the must-knows in this evolving accelerator landscape? With over 230 programs and thousands of startups fighting to be accepted to them, it’s never been more important to know fact from fiction. Our perfectly stacked panel of experts and accelerator graduates will demystify the application process, experience and what you can expect to gain from attending a top-tier accelerator. Attendees will walk away refreshingly knowledgeable about startup accelerators.


Monday, March 16

Creating a New Accelerator for Culinary Business: 9:30AM – 10:30AM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Driskill Hotel Maximilian

Culinary entrepreneurs can often mirror artists, as their zeal for the art of food creation may not directly translate into a successful business model. Break Fast & Launch was designed to bridge this gap by making new culinary businesses achieve success and sustainability.

In November 2014, Break Fast & Launch was recognized at the White House as 1 of 50 national winners of the first SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Selected out of 832 applications, our plan is to execute 3 separate cohorts, each with a unique culinary vertical, throughout 2015.

Modeled after the TechStars accelerator and hosted by Cafe Commerce, Break Fast & Launch utilizes mentorship and experiential and classroom style learning to provide business fundamentals and support to our teams to make them investment ready in just 3 months. Join Break Fast & Launch co-creators and program mentors as they discuss the creation, operation and challenges of creating a new accelerator type.


Creating Inclusive Startup and Tech Ecosystems: 9:30AM – 10:30AM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Austin Convention Center Ballroom E

African Americans and Latinos entrepreneurs receive less than two percent of all private equity capital invested. Women entrepreneurs receive less than four percent. In this session, we’ll discover viable and definitive solutions to closing the exposure, talent, technical assistance, mentorship and private equity gaps in underserved and underrepresented communities in America and beyond by creating end to end startup and technology ecosystems. We’ll learn how to authentically engage with underrepresented communities for talent, startups, advisors, investors and investments. Join us as we discuss solutions in supporting leaders and experts that are building tech and startup ecosystems in their community to provide resources for aspiring entrepreneurs.


Bringing Our A-Game to Technical Venture Funds: 3:30PM – 4:30PM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Hilton Austin Downtown Salon D

Kirk Coburn Founder and Managing Director of Surge Accelerator will discuss the importance of bringing your best and most refined ideas to large, technically minded companies for investment opportunities.
As the director of Surge, Kirk has seen hardheaded engineered solutions consistently out perform gadget solutions like apps. His understanding of the sophistication required to play in truly technically competitive arenas requires engineering startups to think big. Kirk will bring three startup companies to speak on a panel discussing successes and learning from their respective experiences.

Tuesday, March 17

Accelerators by the Numbers: 2014 Rankings: 9:30AM – 10:30AM

Solo / Dual / Panel

Hilton Austin Downtown Room 412

Announcing the top accelerator programs for 2014! Seed accelerators such as YCombinator, Angelpad and Techstars continue to proliferate. For entrepreneurs, they offer the promise of much-needed funding, advice and networking. But which programs are best? The directors of the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, professors Yael Hochberg of Rice University and MIT and Susan Cohen of the University of Richmond will announce this year’s top programs, as well as top new and industry-specific programs for startups a variety of verticals. The rankings team assessed hundreds of programs using complete, confidential data on the programs and the startups that attend them. Hochberg and Cohen will also share general insights from their cutting edge research on accelerators, including what accelerator programs accelerate and how they impact their local ecosystems.


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