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6 DC Entrepreneurs You'll See at SXSW

Many DC techies are in Austin for the next few days to attend one of the biggest music, film and tech festivals. We talked to a few to understand the beast that is SXSW. 

Kevin Alansky
CMO, SocialRadar


Company: Mobile app that gives real-time info about nearby people.

Ever been to SXSW: Last two years. 

Days you’ll be there: Saturday morning through Wednesday.

Who are you taking: SocialRadar CEO Michael Chasen (right).

Agenda: Networking and keeping up with the latest industry trends. Also meeting other app developers, folks from adtech and the DC tech community.

Goals: We’re a few weeks away from launching v. 1 of SocialRadar’s SDK, which will allow other app developers to improve battery drain, generate accurate location info and gain user insights. We’re giving a sneak peek to app developers. 

Most excited about: Seeing new technologies launch and the latest and greatest with social media. Also looking forward to the festival’s nooks and crannies, especially on the streets of Austin. 

Best tip for surviving: Plan ahead—set appointments and meetings, choose sessions and keynotes, and RSVP to parties in advance. Then plan for it to all change and be rescheduled. 

Doug Naegele
Founder/president, Infield Health


Company: Helps patients and doctors communicate before and after surgical procedures on their mobile phones.

Ever been to SXSW: This will be my sixth.

Days you’ll be there: Friday through Tuesday.

Who are you taking: Just myself.

Agenda: I purposely don’t have one. I decided long ago that SXSW isn’t a traditional “business trip.”

Goals: See how major players in pharma, insurance and hospitals are looking at new health tech, and to see what’s new in AI and predictive modeling.

Most excited about: I love that it isn’t a trade show, so I can take off my sales hat and put on my learning hat. 

Best tip for surviving SXSW: Turn it down about three notches and enjoy whatever you’re doing at that moment.

Martin Ringlein 
Co-founder, nvite


Company: Events platform

Ever been to SXSW: Been going eight years, before it was cool and when Interactive was 3,000 people and there was never a line to get into a party. 

Days you’ll be there: Friday morn through Tuesday. 

Who are you taking: Co-founder Michael Dick.

Agenda: All networking. Several large events are being thrown using nvite. We’re also meeting with our large partners, including Adobe, Dribbble and Dropbox, and talking to prospects like Oracle and CreativeMarket.

Goals: Engaging with our partners, showing support at their big events, and meeting some of them for the first time. 

Most excited about: Our first event with Dropbox—it sold out in a few hours. 

Best tip for surviving: You can always find a taxi at The Four Seasons as long as you imply you’re a guest. If there’s a line for a taxi, look for a black car in the parking lot—$20 can get you across town.

Manpreet Singh
Co-founder/president, TalkLocal


Company: Mobile concierge service for finding service providers.

Ever been to SXSW: Three times—this time I’ll get things done more efficiently. 

Days you’ll be there: Friday to Monday evening.

Who are you taking: Two from our biz dev team—Rajesh Karyampudi and Troy Mosby; and products head Amandeep Bakshi. 

Agenda: Networking and biz dev. We have meetings to advance current partnership discussions, and we’re interested in meeting new people and exploring additional opportunities. 

Goals: Goodie bags of swag, samples and free trials. But the trip isn’t a real success unless we return to DC with new targets in our sights. 

Most excited about: No matter where you are when you enter the door, you leave with connections and opportunities that put you maybe an inch, a foot or a few stories above where you were before you showed up. 

Best tip for surviving: Get the SXSW app and use it, along with LinkedIn and Twitter, to connect to people who share your passions, and to make sure your face and brand get seen and heard.

Mike Chan
Co-founder, ribl


Company: App to share and discover what’s going on near your current location.

Ever been to SXSW: No, this is my first time. 

Days you’ll be there: Already at SXSW and staying until next Tuesday. 

Who are you taking: Just me. 

Agenda: Promote the launch of ribl’s public beta on Google Play. I’m also presenting at the Austin TechBreakfast Spectacular and have showcase tables at the We DC Startup Showcase and the Up Global Startup Oasis Party. I’ll also be roaming around.

Goals: Increase awareness of ribl and get lots of downloads. 

Most excited about: Using ribl, growing the user base, and wearing a frog costume during the event (seriously). 

Best tip for surviving: Drink lots of fluid (alcohol and otherwise) and bring a phone charger.

Scott Block
Co-founder, VentureBoard


Company: Online tool to help university entrepreneurship centers manage and keep track of student startups.

Ever been to SXSW: This is my first time.

Days you’ll be there: Until next Thursday.

Who are you taking: Just me.

Agenda: We’re sponsoring Student Startup Madness, a competition for college startups. It’s a great way to get our name out to universities and meet staff and students, who will hopefully use our platform. I’m also hitting sessions and panels that cater to university entrepreneurship and participating in the We DC Startup Showcase. 

Goals: To meet as many people involved in college entrepreneurship as possible, learn what problems students are facing, what kind of software universities are using to improve their centers, market our platform, learn about upcoming national trends, and enjoy the weather and Austin. 

Most excited about: Seeing the startups competing in the Student Startup Madness tournament. It should be a collection of the most driven, innovative students across the country. 

Best tip for surviving: I don’t see myself lasting too long without a lot of Red Bull.