Each year, the District goes big at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and 2018 is no different.
The coveted technology, film and music festival kicks off tomorrow, and, with an arsenal of programming and ambassadors by its side, the Washington, D.C. Economic Partnership (WDCEP) is ready to go.
“Our main focus is to talk about D.C. as an inclusive city,” said Keith Sellers, WDCEP’s CEO. “A lot of cities talk about that, but not all of them can execute at the same level as we do.”
As with years before, WDCEP and the Mayor’s office have put together a collection of panels and events at the WeDC House, which serves as a hub for all ambassadors and D.C.-centric events. Ten people from the District will be serving as official “WeDC Ambassadors” at SXSW, including FiscalNote’s Tim Hwang and the Case Foundation’s Jade Floyd. And panels mostly focus on creating an inclusive innovation hub, which the District has been marketing itself as to the greater technology community. Mayor Bowser even went to Silicon Valley in February to meet with tech executives to pitch the District on its inclusivity.
“Last year, we had over 9,000 people who came through the WeDC House, and that was extremely positive. People… their perception of D.C. pivots into a different light,” Sellers said. “What we hope to leave Austin, Texas with is that people will think about opening their business here in D.C.”
When talking about the WeDC House, it is important to discuss the budget. This year’s activation is only two days, instead of the usual three. And WeDC is switching venues to the smaller Easy Tiger beer garden. The moves no doubt have an impact on the total budget, which is currently unknown for 2018.
However, this year’s lineup is drastically different from the star-studded 2017 line-up that included Wu-Tang Clan, Thievery Corporation, DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown (aka Erykah Badu) and others. The 2017 activation cost $1.1 million — the highest dollar amount for the city’s SXSW to date.
Below is a list of most of the D.C. tech people attending, panels being hosted by D.C.-area organizations and information on the WeDC event offerings. If we missed something, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An as-comprehensive-as-possible list of who all is attending SXSW 2018 from the D.C. metro area tech scene, based on direct emails, guest lists and social media:
- Ahmad Ashkar, Falafel Inc.
- Pia Carusone, Republic Restoratives Distillery
- Ruth Chandler, HireHer
- Jade Floyd, Case Foundation/Revolution
- Chad Hall, remodelmate
- Talisha Hill Bekavac, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
- Tim Hwang, FiscalNote
- Tim Keough, Sympli & WythMe
- Rebecca Yarbrough, Vinetta Project
- Adam Zuckerman, Fosterly/Discovery
- George Mocharko, Technical.ly DC
- Jen Consalvo, Tech.Co / Startup of the Year
- Frank Gruber, Tech.Co
- Ben Droz, Ben Droz Photography
- Ben Young, S’workit / Nexercise
- Meghan Gaffney Buck, VEDA Data Solutions
- Jennifer O’Daniel, CIT Gap Funds
- Harry Glazer, SPROCKIT
- Harry Alford III, humble ventures
- Mary Iafelice, humble ventures
- Yvette Scorse, Byte Back
- Elizabeth Lindsey, Byte Back
- Janice Omadeke, The Mentor Method
- Patricia Davis-Muffett, Amazon Web Services
- Evan Burfield, 1776 and UNION
- Katie Kiewel, 1776
- Monica Kang, Innovators Box
- Crystal Icenhour, Aperiomics
- Mariya Bouraima, Aveya Creative
- Ray Rahmati, Spredfast
- Mark Jacobsohn, Booz Allen Hamilton
- Sandra Marshall, Booz Allen Hamilton
- Jinnyn Jacob, Booz Allen Hamilton
- Tonio DeSorrento, Vemo Education
- Callie Jacobs, Vemo Education
- Consumer Technology Association
- Scott Drewno, CHIKO
- Danny Lee, CHIKO
- Dale Nirvani Pfeifer, Goodworld
- Dan Ye, CollegeNode
- Shire Fine, SKDKnickerbocker
- Matt Lembright, ENABLD.com
D.C. Tech’s Panels and Speaking Engagements:
A roundup of the panels and speaking engagements D.C. tech folks are participating in, based on direct emails, social media and the SXSW schedule. Events are in order of when they’re happenning:
- SPROCKIT CEO, Comcast Social Media Lounge Panel, March 9: Harry Glazer, the CEO and founder of SPROCKIT, will be on a panel called, “Breaking the Mold Friday” at the Comcast Social Media Lounge. The panel will cover leveraging core platforms, startups opportunities and entrepreneurial practices to incubate new business opportunities.
- Booz Allen Hamilton Panels, March 10: In its fourth festival year, Booz Allen Hamilton will host five different panels throughout the day on Saturday. Sessions include “Government on Demand: .Gov Services at .Com Speed,” “Active AI: Immersive Experiences in Health” and more. (Booz Allen’s website also has information on where you can find their staff at various events and showcases throughout the week.)
- Byte Back’s SXSW Panel, March 10: In late 2017, SXSW opened its programming up to panel pitches submitted by the public. One of those was one from D.C. tech nonprofit Byte Back called, “Reinventing Pathways to Tech Diversity,” which was ultimately selected by the festival. The panel will focus on increasing diversity in tech and creating new pathways to careers. Panelists include Byte Back Executive Director Elizabeth Lindsey, WDCEP tech sector lead Kevin Morgan, Mentor Method CEO Janice Omadeke, and Amazon Web Services’ Patricia Davis-Muffett.
- American Cities House hosted by Tech.Co and Startup of the Year, March 10: Tech.Co co-founders Jen Consalvo and Frank Gruber will be a part of the programming centered around American Cities House. This includes a startup celebration lunch, VIP happy hour and pitch and a startup night party.
- DMV Startups at SXSW Startup Night, March 10: Presented by the Kauffman Foundation in partnership with TechCo, as part of the annual Startup of the Year program, three local startups are pitching at the SXSW Startup Night, including The Mentor Method, WytheMe and Aperiomics.
- Veda Data Solutions on Dell Technologies Panel, March 10: Veda Data Solutions CEO and founder Meghan Gaffney Buck is on a panel called “Supporting Women in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Through Public Policy,” hosted by Dell, DropBox, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s High Tech Coalition. The panel focuses on a conversation with members of Congress, entrepreneurs and thought leaders on how more women can break the $1 million funding barrier.
- WeDC House, March 11-12: The D.C. Mayor’s office and WDCEP are teaming up to bring a variety of panels ranging from a pitch competition hosted by Black Girl Ventures, a fireside chat with humble ventures and a celebratory bash with live music and food/drinks. Events run from March 11-12.
- Events DC Showcase, March 11: As a part of WDCEP and the Mayor’s office’s programming, Events DC is presenting a wide array of music, culinary and e-sports programming. One such event will be an all-women music show as a part of the WeDC initiative on Sunday night. The line-up will include performances from OSHUN, DJ Farrah Flosscett, DJ Ayes Cold, Shaed, Sydney Franklin + Band, Priests, Eau Claire and Babeo. D.C. native Kelela will headline the night.
- Consumer Technology Association’s Innovation Policy Day, March 13: Innovation Policy Day is a day-long event, including a range of panels focused on tech policy. Sessions include “AI and Its Impact on our Workforce,” “Tech in the Trump Administration,” and “Fighting Terror in Tech.”
- Tien Wong on “Solving The Tech Transfer Challenge” panel, March 13: Tien Wong, along with three other D.C. tech community members (Center for Advancing Innovation’s Rosemarie Truman and Mike Wittenburg and Jarrod Borkat from MedImmune) will appear on a panel discussing the difficulties of transferring patents from universities, laboratories and similar organizations into commercial use.