In 2015, Maren and Matthias Wagener swoppped their office in Hamburg for a yacht, which is now both their office and home. The couple provides digital services and manages projects such as display ad campaigns, web sites and apps for agencies and start-ups. To do so, they rely on over 100 programmers whom they contact on Skype, per email and telephone. As part of Hamburg’s delegation, the Wageners are now undertaking their second stint at the South by Southwest festival underway in Austin, Texas from March 8–17, 2019.
SXSW: “Welcome to Austin for SXSW!“
On the eve of the official opening of SXSW, Veronika Reichboth, head of the Hamburg Invest’s Startup-Unit and Sanja Stankovic of Hamburg Startups and Chelsea Collier (Austin, among others Smart Cities Connect) organized a welcoming event for delegates from Germany including Dorothee Bär, Minister of State for Digital Affairs.
SXSW 1 (March 8)
The city of San Antonio held the “San Antonio Start-up Day”. We travelled by coach from Austin to San Antonio as a large international group and experienced a city that is an alternative to the big hubs of Austin, Huston and Dallas.
SXSW 2 (March 10) – Events @Reeperbahn Hamburgers
Reeperbahn Hamburgers is the traditional event venue for Hamburg. A burger kiosk, a small beer stand, another stand with wraps and benches under a marquee, that’s it. But obviously, that’s all it takes to ensure overcrowded events on a regular basis. The content doesn’t matter. Two exciting networking events took place near the burger stand on Sunday: Digital Media Women Day and Hamburg TexConnect as a matchmaking event.
Digital Media Women Day
“The network works for greater visibility for women on all stages – whether conferences, trade media or corporate boards. Women want to and should participate on an equal footing and have a visible influence: open, respected and ground-breaking.” This is the goal of the Hamburg-based Digital Media Women (#DMW) network. Now in its third year, the network organizes SXSW’s Digital Media Women Day.
Sara Brand, Founding General Partner of True Wealth Ventures, shared insights from an investor’s perspective, which was a particularly exciting for us to experience “supply’” (start-ups) and “demand” (investors) in a direct exchange. A group of international entrepreneurs including Hanna Asmussen, Localyze, Jennifer Schäfer, founder of Daily Dress took to the stage for direct and very open reports about their experiences. On a smaller stage, Freya Oehle, an expert on founding companies, was the sharp-witted presenter guiding the audience through the event. All kinds of questions were put: How did the foundation come about in the first place? To what extent does the composition of the team influence the respective company, how was it financed? Are there differences between the respective founders’ stories? How can the founder’s story and family life be combined? Parallels became clear as well as our experiences as entrepreneurs, even though Vast Forward has been on the market for eleven years.
“Meet-up” or “stay put!” may be apt descriptions of the Hamburg-based TexConnect. Stankovic, of Hamburg Startups, and Collier filter out potential partner from delegates at SXSW for appointments. They can be from Germany and the United States, and are brought together in the relaxed atmosphere at Reeperbahn Hamburgers. The participants pitch and exchange objectives as well as interests in 20 minutes. What makes the whole thing exciting? The selection of up to four discussion partners is curated on the basis of surveyed business interests. The rest is up to the participants. We left our matchmaking round on a very positive note and got to know business angels, start-up consultants and two start-ups.