SXSW Sets Stage for International Entrepreneurs and Breakthrough Products

Each year, aspiring tech entrepreneurs from all over the world head to the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas, to prove their worth. But what does it take to stand apart from the competition?

Anna Skaya, chief executive and co-founder of Basepaws, a DNA home test kit for cats, secured some seed funding at the conference. Seed funding is a form of securities offering in which an investor invests capital in exchange for an equity stake in the company.

“People are really excited about this idea of pet genetics. It hasn’t really been done before, we’re one of the first companies to do it,” said Skaya, who is originally from Russia.

International perspectives can lead to breakthrough products such as the biodegradable eco-bags from Indonesian startup, Avani.

Kevin Kumala is an avid surfer who studied biochemistry in the United States before returning to Indonesia. “When I came back to Bali, no longer I was surfing in waves, I was literally surfing in a wave of plastic, and it’s really disgusting,” he said.

Kumala’s bio-based bag is made with cassava root that dissolves in water and can even serve as food for marine life.

Representatives from Chinese startup Philm were demonstrating their mobile picture and video filters app. Co-founder Yin Zhang discussed the challenges of running a startup in China.

“If you are a small startup in the U.S., if you do one thing well, you can live very well,” he said. “But in China, there’s a lot more competition, so every idea you work on, there may be 10 other startups working on similar things.”

His key for keeping ahead of the pack? Staying on top of technologies like machine learning, which powers the Philm app.

No matter where they come from, at South by Southwest (SXSW), the passion for technology and innovation is a global cause.

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