The Austinpreneur’s Guide to SXSW

Guest post by Joshua Baer: Joshua Baer helps people quit their jobs and become entrepreneurs. In 2008 he founded Capital Factory, a tech startup incubator and co-working space in Austin, Texas. Josh founded his first startup in 1996 in his college dormitory at CMU and now teaches a class at the University of Texas for student entrepreneurs. Josh is the Chief Innovation Officer of Return Path.

It’s that time again, finally! After 360 days of anticipation, SXSW is right around the corner. With so much going on it’s hard for entrepreneurs who are new to SXSW to know where (or how) to focus amongst all the distraction. To give you a starting point, here is my top 12 list of must-attend events and a few other lists from SXSW leaders you will find helpful…

ATX Startup Crawl
Thursday, March 7 from 4-10pm
50 Austin startups downtown are throwing a simultaneous party with shuttles running a loop between them all. Check-in, grab your badge at the Convention Center, and then jump on the crawl. Get inside that startup you’ve been hearing about to meet the founders and see what it’s like to work there. Various startups have bands, food trucks, drinks and other unique entertainment.

Tech Happy Hour
Thursday, March 7 from 6pm-8pm
This happy hour is one of the cornerstones of the Austin tech scene and SXSW is always the biggest of the year. 50 more tickets were just added, so you might want to get yours now!

5 Austin Startups Immune to the Series A Crunch
Friday, March 8 from 3:30-4:30pm
Come see pitches from 5 up and coming Austin startups that are immune to the Series A Crunch because they can all get profitable on less than $1 million in funding.

Move Your Startup to Austin $100,000 Competition
Friday, March 8 from 5-6pm
5 startups that are NOT from Austin will compete for a $100,000 “relocation package” including a $35,000 investment, a house to live in, office space, server hosting, groceries and more!

The Lean Startup at SXSW
Saturday, March 9 from 9:30am-6pm
An official SXSW track focused on lean startup methods, to be held on March 9, 2013. Brought to you by 500 Startups & Eric Ries of “The Lean Startup,” in partnership with SXSW. Hear from experts like Steve Blank, Eric Ries and Dave McClure.

Saturday, March 9 from 9:30am-midnight
A whole day of events with the ff Venture Capital Portfolio including 500.px, Contently,, GameSalad, IndieGogo, Infochimps, LiveFyre, Moveline, and VolunteerSpot, following by a MASSIVE party.

DreamIt Austin Demo Day
Saturday, March 9 from 9am-2pm
Get a first-look at the promising startups from the Austin 2013 DreamIt program and select DreamIt alumni companies with an exciting day of business, creativity, and innovation.

Elon Musk Keynote
Saturday, March 9 from 2-3pm

Elon Musk is the founder of SpaceX, TeslaMotors and SolarCity, not to mention Paypal. He’s such a badass that they model comic book characters after him. Go watch this talk… if you can get in the room (arrive a few hours early).

Finding and Managing CoFounders & CoFounder Speed Dating
Sunday, March 10 from 3:30-6pm
You’ve been told you need a co-founder, but why? And how do you pick the right one? You’re an engineer & you think biz folks are kind of sucky, why do you need them? You’re a biz person & you’re getting the cold shoulder from engineers & designers.

Austin on Rails SXSW Happy Hour
Monday, March 11 from 6-9pm
It’s the eighth annual! This is always a great geek party with good conversation, appetizers, and a night out without the laptop. DJ’d by the founders of It’s easily the best party for the HTTP set. All web developers welcome!

Chaotic Good: The right alignment for your company
Tuesday, March 12 from 11am-12pm
Come hear the founder of Evernote talk use an analogy from Dungeons & Dragons to talk about the right company culture for tech companies.

Peter Thiel – You Are Not a Lottery Ticket
Tuesday, March 12 from 3:30-4:30pm
Peter Thiel is the other founder of Paypal speaking at SXSW, and he’s also a partner at Founders Fund, runs his own hedge fund, and was one of the early investors and board members of Facebook. He’s brilliant and always worth listening to.

If you want more…

To get a complete list of all of the startup events at SXSW, sign up for the Austin Startup Digest (and the Startup Digest for your city).

If you have questions about SXSW or just about Austin while you are in town, hit me up on Twitter and I’ll try to point you in the right direction.

The Austinpreneur’s Guide to SXSW