Editor’s Note: EarthTechling will be on the ground, covering all the action at SXSW Eco this year. Check back daily during the first week of October for an up close look, INCLUDING LIVE VIDEO, at this year’s best speakers, panels and innovations, and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Environmental activists, political leaders, renewable energy companies and cleantech innovators will converge on Austin, Texas, October 3-5 for the 2nd annual SXSW Eco conference. Thrown by the same company who hosts the multi-week music/film/interactive festival SXSW every spring, this multi-day event employs a cross sector approach to solving the recognized challenges facing the economy, the environment and civil society.
Attendees to last year’s inaugural SXSW Eco were treated to three days of feature sessions from experts in the public, private and academic sectors, all addressing pressing issues that cut across demographics and industries. Keynote speakers from the 2011 conference included Alex Steffen of Worldchanging.org, Mark Tercek of the Nature Conservancy, and Philippe Cousteau Jr. The event provided a unique opportunity for regular community members to mingle with the leaders of national organizations who are working to make the world a better place.
This year, in addition to panel discussions, demonstrations, and keynote speakers like retired U.S. Senator Byron L. Dorgan and Annie Leonard from the Story of Stuff project, the conference includes a Startup Showcase spotlighting some of the best and brightest ideas in cleantech innovation.
Presented by Austin Technology Incubator and Austin Energy, the SXSW Eco Startup Showcase is a one-day venture capital pitch tournament exhibiting the best of cleantech startups from around the country. Fifteen fledgling companies, handpicked by the Startup Showcase Advisory Board, will compete in front of a live audience for the attention of venture investors, potential clients, and the Startup Showcase judges.
Attendees will get a sneak peek at the most innovative new technologies while also getting an inside look at the often difficult process that brings a great green idea from concept to market. Semifinalists for the Showcase include ActualSun, CEFCO Global Clean Energy, iLumi Solutions, Kiverdi, KleenSpeed Technologies, Nexus eWater, NuMat Technologies, Omni Water Solutions, PlanetReuse, Plovgh, Pvilion, Radiator Labs, Sourcemap, Staxxon, and Zeta Communities. The winner will be announced at a special Awards Reception open to all SXSW Eco registrants directly following the Startup Showcase.
(Of course, being obsessed with green technology and gadgets that help us lead more sustainable lives, the startup showcase is of particular interest to us here at EarthTechling. As part of our live coverage of SXSW Eco, we’ll be chatting with many of the Startup Showcase semifinalists to get first hand details about their innovative products and services. Be sure to check back often for our posts!)
Keep reading for more about what to expect from SXSW Eco 2012…