Every startup CEO, founder, or co-founder hopes that this year, South by Southwest will be the event that turns them into the next Twitter, Foursquare, or Beluga. They come to Austin, Texas, in search of exposure, new friends, more money, and parties (of course). This year, CNET's Brian Tong and I sat down to talk to a few of the companies we thought were interesting--out of the many, many, many others that are also interesting, don't get us wrong.
From our interview home at the Thirsty Nickel, we spoke with Dave Morin, the CEO of Path, who assured us that privacy is paramount for his company, or at least it is now. Veenome's Kevin Lenane showed off some of our favorite new tech: the company's video scanning algorithm, which specifically identifies objects in a video so that, let's say, you can actually buy the super hot shoes you see on your favorite prime-time shows. (Me, personally? I am going to lose a lot of money thanks to this technology.)
Speaking of video, Shelby.tv's Reece Pacheco showed us how his app collects all the videos your friends are sharing so you can sit down when you have time and watch them all at once. And SecondMarket's Barry Silbert has no less a goal than redefining the entire stock market, so startups can take investments (and their employees can sell stock) even without going public. And yes, in case you're wondering, he's hoping to change SEC regulations so you and I can be among those investors.
If there was any buzz-worthy trend this year (other than the "homeless hotspots"), it was probably people-finding apps: Highlight, Glance, and Banjo were either draining battery life out of phones or helping people hook up at parties (not that way), depending on who you talked to. Bridget Carey talked to attendees about what they thought of those apps.
Obviously, there were many more cool companies demonstrating or debuting at SXSW this year, and we hope to cover a lot of them in future interviews. This is just a taste of the startup landscape, but we think it's a pretty interesting start.