Showdown In Texas: NYC Startups Play to Win SXSW

Which startup will rule the 2011 South By Southwest Interactive Festival?

New York’s own darling, Foursquare, was declared the breakout app in 2009. Twitter won hearts at the festival in 2007.  This year, several New York startups are in the running.

Speculation has begun on Quora that SMS-based apps will probably make a big splash, and New York’s startup-of-the-moment GroupMe is a natural contender.

“I’m biased as an investor, but to me, GroupMe is a natural,” investor Charlie O’Donnell wrote in response to the question “What companies will people be talking about at SXSW 2011?”

“If you were at SXSW in ’07, you remember how much of a ‘small town’ feel that Twitter had,” O’Donnell wrote. “It was awesome. You could just add people you met and follow every tweet via SMS. Now, you can’t even consume the #sxsw tag via Tweetdeck anymore, it’s just a firehose. Small, private groups of the people you want to hangout with most are absolutely going to kill it at SXSW, and given that GroupMe is the best team in the space, they have and continue to be my bet in this area.”

Mobile group chatting and group messaging is a competitive space, though. FastSociety is another New York startup that offers a similar group messaging service–they recently announced a partnership with MTV. Group messaging apps Beluga, Yobongo and Message Party will also be hoping to break through.

Another contender for the SXSW Interactive crown is New York’s Hashable, another SMS-capable app that could take off by facilitating networking. Hashable is sending five top users to SXSW to evangelize the service. “Since SXSW is also about networking, a lot of folks will prefer the ease of Hashable to the old and outdated business cards,” wrote Shrinath Navghane, CEO of

Bnter, Betterment, Canvas Networks and Foodspotting were also mentioned as contenders.

“Pretty sure the one that’ll be the runaway hit isn’t even really released yet. It’s generally surprise hits that kinda come out of nowhere that ‘win’ at southby, after all. Foursquare, Twitter, Gowalla, etc, were barely blips before their southby appearances,” startup founder and advisor Jeremy Wright said.

Broadcastr, maybe? Although with the new photo check-ins, Foursquare could take the festival again.

ajeffries [at] | @adrjeffries

Showdown In Texas: NYC Startups Play to Win SXSW