Every year the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) takes over Austin with its multitude of festivals and presentations. It connects some of the greatest thinkers from music, movies, and new media. Creativity and innovation are the themes of the conference, and their presence this year has been apparent.
SXSW Interactive is one of the primary conferences at SXSW that encompasses all of the new media, and it has already unearthed some great ideas. Although the SXSW Technology Summit, which is full of great ideas and presentations on technology and business, has just begun, some standout startups have already emerged.
Every year, in addition to all of the conferences, there is a “Startup Bus” competition. The Startup Bus departs from Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, New York and San Francisco, and drives to Austin in two days. In those 48 hours, teams are assembled and they are given the task of developing an original idea, creating a demo and website, and then presenting their idea to a panel of judges once they arrive in Austin.
48 hours hardly seems long enough to come up with a business idea and actually create a demo for it but, for these people, it’s ample time. Great ideas are virtually always born on the buses, and this year was no different. These are the two winners of this year’s competition.
TripMedi focuses on the world of medical tourism, which is growing surprisingly fast. Medical tourism is a term used to describe the process of travelling to a developing nation to save money on medical procedures, both elective and non-elective.
The industry is growing by 15% yearly, so a comprehensive system for finding services is essential. Calling itself the “Yelp for medical tourism,” TripMedi hopes to become a one-stop-shop for the industry.
People can now go to one place to find a list of locations, doctors, and procedures and pricing available, making the process much less frightening. With 1,300 unique visitors and 44 sign-ups in just four days, TripMedi is sure to do well.
WalkIN looked to solve a problem that everyone can relate to – waiting for a table at a restaurant. We all know how annoying it is to cram into a restaurant lobby waiting for your name to be called.
WalkIN eliminates one of the biggest pains of waiting for a table by allowing you to roam while you wait. You can simply go into the restaurant, check in using a QR code, and then wander around until you are alerted via phone that your table is ready.
This is a big improvement from many restaurant pagers that are large and chunky and only work within a certain radius.
This year’s SXSW conferences, like all other years’, has already brought us some truly innovative ideas, and is sure to bring us even more.
For more information on SXSW, check out the website.