Reeperbahn Hamburgers auf der SXSW 2019 © Hamburg Startups/Mathias Jäger

Hamburg - traditionally strong, innovative, broadly based at SXSW

Guest commentary by SXSW expert Hartmut Giesen, of Hamburg's Sutor Bank

It feels as though Hamburg has always been part of the South by South West (SXSW) and is one of the strongest state delegations at the Austin digital, music and film festival. And there are historical reasons for this: SXSW began in 1986 purely as a music festival. The film and digital tracks were added later. SXSW Interactive, which covers the first half of the festival (March 8-13, 2019), has established itself as the leading gathering of creative digital minds from all over the world. Discussions centre on technologies, business models, culture and politics as well as products. Hamburg has a strong music culture and used SXSW to its advantage when it was still a more or less simply a music event.

Reeperbahn Hamburgers – hub

Hamburg exploited this lead in the growing digital track: Now the Elbe city is presenting a large delegation, consisting of start-ups, established companies. The presentation features a series of firmly established events, which are sponsored by the City of Hamburg, Hamburg Marketing and Hamburg Invest, and are redesigned every year. The Interactive Programme is curated by the Hamburg Music Industry Interest Group, the Reeperbahn Festival and Hamburg Startups.

The Reeperbahn Hamburgers has traditionally been the hub of Hamburg’s presentation. Doors open for two days – during SXSW Interactive and later during the music section. The cottage is ideally located beside the Convention Center and between venues for talks and parties in downtown Austin. Venues were bursting at the seams on both Sunday and Monday. The matchmaking event TexConnect marked the start of Sunday’s events and brought Hanseatic start-ups together with interested U.S. partners, The Digital Women Day was another highlight on Sunday.

Hamburg in 16 events

While networking was in full swing at the Reeperbahn Hamburgers on Monday, accompanied by experts in the delegation, Hamburg-based start-ups took part in the “Future of the …” events and pitched to U.S. investors. Hamburg Startups and the Austin-based-partner organization Digit.City had organised this special edition of the Reeperbahn Startup Pitch. Hamburg is hosting or taking part in 16 events in SXSW’s official and supporting programs – an increase over 2018. Around 1,000 German delegates including 150 from Hamburg are attending SXSW 2019.

Hartmut Giesen is a Business Development Manager at Sutor Bank.

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