This year marks Hamburg’s tenth and most successful presentation at the world’s largest digital and creative fair South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. From March 9-13, 2018, the Hanseatic city presented a 163-strong delegation focusing on Digital Media Women, trending themes and featuring international receptions and matchmaking sessions. All these events have gone a long way towards enhancing Hamburg’s pioneering role as a digital and business location.
Elbe city’s clout as capital of start-ups
Hamburg and the Reeperbahn Festival have hosted the “Reeperbahn Hamburgers” in Austin for many years now. The platform near the burger stand was thronged and regularly attracted hundreds of creative people, start-up founders, journalists and Hamburg natives who came together for the Interactive Edition. There they networked over beers and burgers and mulled the subjects of many sessions and panels. Hamburg’s many creative facets were also highligted backed by NEXT Conference, Sutor Bank and fischerAppelt agency. Dr. Rolf Strittmatter, Managing Director of Hamburg Invest, said: “The SXSW Interactive has taken centre stage as a start-up and technology conference. Hamburg presence’s at SXSW and as a capital of start-ups surpassed that of other German cities and gave our promising companies a great stage. Our new ‘Startup-Unit’ has been able to use the fair ideally to market Hamburg’s start-up scene on an international stage.“
Win at Interactive Innovation Awards
Three Hamburg-based projects were among the finalists of the SXSW Innovation Awards in the “Student Innovation” category. A team of two students at Hamburg’s Miami Ad School Europa won with their Facebook messenger Chat Bot, which announces when a nearby hospital needs certain types of blood. The London-based Sceenic start-up was also part of Hamburg’s delegation after the team completed an intense, six-month programme at the Next Media Accelerator (NMA) last year. Backed by Hamburg Startups after reaching the finals of the Startups@Reeperbahn, Sceenic was one of four finalists vying for the coveted SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event in the “Entertainment and Content Technology” category. SXSW has benefitted other start-ups not among the finalists and digital companies also. Start-ups from Hamburg took part in over ten pitches at the SXSW Accelerator, in the Cyber Innovation Hub of the German Army (CIH), the International Accelerator, the “German Haus” and in the New Dutch Wave Haus.
Hamburg promoting women in digital sector
The Digital Media Women (#DMW) proved another success story in Texas. The community now has over 20,000 members in nine places across Germany and boosts the visibility of women in the digital industry. Hamburg has backed the second “Digital Media Women Day” held during the Reeperbahn Hamburgers at SXSW. The high-calibre line-up included several German and international speakers on stage.
In terms of music, the joint Hamburg x Berlin Party showcased in the German Haus’ Barracuda Club on March 12 and enhanced the Hanseatic city’s reputation for music in addition to being a thriving economic and creative hub.