Over a dozen delegates from the NW’s digital business community took part in Invest NI’s largest-ever trade mission to SxSW in Austin, Texas - the mega-festival which now attracts over 35,000 delegates across film, music and interactive disciplines.
It’s the second year in a row the Derry have sent a large contingent and, if anything, this year’s group were even more successful than the last.
To start with, Derry companies SeedUps.com and Hubb.it were selected via a competitive process as two of the 20 companies to represent the UK at SxSW Interactive’s UK Demo Day. They were joined by another three companies from the 37-company-strong Northern Ireland contingent on show in a private preview session for investors and the press.
On the music front, local electro-pop act The Wonder Villains, made their US debut in front of 250 music and digital industry influencers and insiders. Their infectious act literally had passers-by dancing in the street and has won them extensive press coverage, new fans and potential tour dates. They played as part of the NI@SXSW event hosted by Digital Derry, Belfast City Council, DCAL and Invest NI which is now being touted as one of the ‘must see’ events in the SxSW programme.
Away from the demos and events, SxSW offers unrivalled opportunities to network and catch a glimpse of the latest new technologies and companies - something the entire group made great use of.
It’s also helping to inspire Northern Ireland’s own (albeit slightly smaller) version of the festival in Culture Tech, a four-day festival of digital culture, music and technologies taking place in Derry at the end of August. So if Texas seems like a trek, check out www.culturetech.co for a taste of the SxSW experience slightly closer to home.