A record number of Hanseatic start-ups have represented Hamburg at this year’s South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) underlining their global importance at the world’s largest creative industry trade fair. This year (March 8-17, 2019), the 150-strong delegation included Hamburg-based investors and established entrepreneurs as well as many regional start-ups including Localyze, Cargonexx, which aims to set up an intelligent transport network for long-distance traffic, and the Tomorrow fintech, which focuses on sustainable online banking.
Hamburg’s strong links to SXSW
Hamburg has sent a delegation to Austin every year since 2008. Dr. Carsten Brosda, Senator for Culture and Media, said: “Hamburg and SXSW now have strong links that continuously offer Hamburg’s creative and media companies valuable opportunities for presentation and networking.” The size of the Hamburg delegation alone and the record number of start-ups are evidence of the city’s great innovative strength as a creative location. “Events at the Reeperbahn Festival and Hamburg’s SXSW showcase also give artists an opportunity to perform in front of an international audience and raise Hamburg’s international visibility as a city of music at the same time,” Brosda added.
Hamburg-based start-ups at pitches and panels
The private initiative, Hamburg Startups, had organised the start-ups’ presentations backed by Hamburg Invest’s Startup Unit to highlight innovative ideas from Hamburg and the diversity of its start-up system. Events in Austin featured a U.S. version of the Reeperbahn Startup Pitch. Viewers had some 30 opportunities to see Hamburg-based start-ups take to stage for pitches, panel discussions and presentations to investors. This year, Hamburg built on the success of previous stints at the key creative and digital conference in Austin. Dr. Rolf Strittmatter, Chairman of the Hamburg Marketing Management Board and Managing Director of Hamburg Invest, commented: “Our Startup-Unit supports, in particular, innovative founders with expanding their networks on this international platform. The entire Hamburg start-up ecosystem will become better known worldwide as a result. Hamburg is becoming far more visible as a forward-looking business location.”
Networking, female founders and SXSW’s showcases
Receptions at SXSW’s Reeperbahn Hamburgers are considered truly Hanseatic as the city boasts “the best Hamburgers in town”. Representatives of Hamburg’s digital sector held several talks with existing and potential partners over fresh burgers. The issue of women in the digital industry, among other topics, dominated SXSW. U.S. star investor Sara Brand gave a keynote with the Hanseatic Women in Tech-Network, that hosted the Digital Media Women Day while Hamburg-based start-ups shared their experiences with U.S. companies during a panel discussion in front of 500 international guests. The Reeperbahn Festival and the Keychange gender balance initiative presented Monday (March 11, 2019) musicians and bands based in Hamburg including Gurr, Mavi Phoenix, Lowly, and the singer-songwriter Soak as part of Hamburg’ official showcase at SXSW.
The City of Hamburg, Hamburg Marketing GmbH and Hamburg Invest sponsored the joint Hamburg presentation at SXSW this year. The Interessengemeinschaft Hamburger Musikwirtschaft e.V. (Hamburg Music Industry Interest Group). (IHM) and the Reeperbahn Festival were responsible for organising the interactive and music section curated with Sanja Stankovic of Hamburg Startups. Partners included Anchor – Reeperbahn Festival International Music Award, Digital Media Women, Hamburg Startups, Music Cities Network, Next Conference, Nivea, Next Media Accelerator (NMA), Sequencer Tour USA, Sutor Bank, Vast Forward and Wunderbar Together – Germany and the United States.