SixLab Startups Share Discoveries at SXSW Online



April 5, 2021

Welcome to our Q&A session with a member of our Studio X team. Today we are talking to four startup founders in our SixLab incubator who attended SXSW.

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Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, South By Southwest, in its entirety, for the first time in its history went digital.

The themes this year focused on a new urgency, challenging tech’s path forward, the rebirth of business, connection in disconnection, an uncharted future and more.

As the future of work adapts with the times, we saw this year as an opportunity to leverage SXSW Online to continue bringing together the brightest minds from industries worldwide. Studio X participated in the new Professional Development Hub featuring job openings, XCover projects, and a new Xeek challenge with $15K in prizes. Four of our startups EarthPeel, Geoluminia, Vorticity and Nesh were featured at the Startup Village and listened to sessions outside of the energy industry. Here’s what the founders said about the event.

SXSW is about discovering new trends, tech, innovations, etc. What did you discover this year?

“This was my first time attending SXSW, but I have attended a handful of online conferences over the past year. The most surprising discovery to me was the conference platform itself. Swapcard was a great interface and very easy to navigate. For a conference of this scale, I was surprised by how easy it was to switch between channels, find events, and find people. Still, talking to people was not as easy as it would have been in-person conference where you can simply walk up to someone and not have to send them a connection request first,” said Ananya Roy, founder of EarthPeel, an early-stage company that is modernizing the way geoscientists access subsurface data through a globe-based data search and sharing platform.

Chirath Neranjena, Founder of Vorticity, lighting fast scientific computing said, “ I think the major trend I was paying attention to was the ‘tech exodus’ from California.Getting a sense of the scene in Austin and if or when we should have some presence there.”  

“The focus on the mental health was quite intriguing, and the number of technologies from plush toys to changes in UX that provide mental comfort to people was very interesting and refreshing to see. As a startup founder, mental health gets put on the back-burner so it was a good reminder to not ignore that aspect of life,” said Sidd Gupta, Founder of Nesh, an AI assistant for search and analytics.

Was there a memorable session or event you attended?

“I enjoyed the Data Detectives talk. It was an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how John's Hopkins built their COVID-19 data dashboard. Jeff Lawson's (Twillio CEO) talk about the challenges with remaining customer focused as a company grows was great as well,” said Roy.

“To be honest I didn't have much time to devote to the sessions, but I did catch Priya Parker's session [Art of Gathering] and thought it was pretty cool” said Neranjena.

What was it like being a startup in energy at the conference?

“There were not many energy companies at the conference, but there were a lot of software companies and tech startups.Since we are a tech company, there was some interest in our booth. I enjoyed visiting the other booths as well and found some of the tech-related talks relevant,” said Roy

What connections did you make to help further the development of your startup?

“The most concrete connection we made was with a venture studio from Brooklyn called NewLab. We had a meeting about possibly connecting us with mining companies that also need better geoscience data access,” said Roy.

“I connected with a consultant from a major consulting firm who is looking to see if Nesh can help them manage and search their documentation,” said Gupta.

Although different this year, one fact remained constant: connections matter.  With a diverse range of forward-thinking exhibitors from  promising startups to established industry leaders, SXSW Online provided a  multitude of professional development and networking opportunities for our startups as well as attendees. Here’s to hoping we can do this in-person next year! Save the date for SXSW 2022 March  11-20 in Austin, TX.