If the future is here, but unevenly distributed, as the Canadian science fiction author William Gibson suggests, then I’m pleased to report from the near future here in Austin, Texas at the fourth annual SXSW Accelerator.
The Accelerator Program is dedicated to the discovery and promotion of the newest and most innovative web-based products. The program is a great format to hear from many different start-ups in a short time. With two minutes for their elevator pitch and ten minutes to address questions by an expert panel of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, each start-up is competing with four others in a 3-day round-robin style competition that concludes on March 14.
Of the 56 competitors so far, the five that interest me the most, and whose success I will monitor in the future are:
Funf.org is an open source framework for mobile sensing and data processing developed at the MIT Media Lab. Already the recipient of two Google Grants, Funf helps collect and interpret the abundant rich data about individuals, their devices and their environment.
Swift.Ushahidi.com develops free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping, increasing transparency and lowering barriers for individuals to share their stories. An example was residents in Japan sharing their individual home radiation levels and seeing them mapped in aggregate.
BuzzData.com from Toronto pitched their platform as the best way to share and collaborate on spreadsheets and other datasets publicly or, using their premium paid service, within a private organization.
Foreca.st is a simple way to share where you’re going instead of where you are now. Something that may be useful helping your friends find you when you’re out and about.
Brandyourself.com claims to be the first DIY platform that makes it easy for anyone to take control of their personal Google search results, optimizing positive information to the top results.
Which innovative new products do you have your eye on at this year’s SXSW Accelerator?
From Austin, Texas, see you in the future.