By LAURA LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News
At the Austin Chamber Office Sunday morning, a standing room only crowd turned out at 9:30 a.m. to hear the ten finalists of the Austin Fast Pitch competition at South by Southwest Interactive.
That’s pretty amazing considering the parties at SXSW stretched into the wee hours of Sunday morning and daylight savings time change meant that everyone lost an hour of time as the clocks sprung forward.
The room at the Austin Chamber, which holds about 100 people, heated up quick with the two-minute pitches from Austin-based tech startups.
The Austin Technology Incubator, Central Texas Angel Network and Silicon Hills News hosted the panel.
Online, more than 40 companies competed for the ten semifinalist spots, said Kyle Cox, director with the ATI.
The five finalists were in retail and medical applications.
“Austin is becoming a hub for online commerce,” Cox said.
And with the new University of Texas Dell Medical School, the city is becoming a hotbed of activity for the healthcare industry, he said.
The finalists included Embrace, authentic customer relationship management, eyeQ, reinventing the in-store shopping experience, Mahana, iBeacons for customer relationship management at restaurants, Pristine, Google Glass for medical applications and Spot On Sciences, a convenient diagnostic blood test called HemaSpot.
Mahana won the Austin Fast Pitch competition, Spot on Sciences took second place and Pristine was third.
The winner will receive a series of stories about them in Silicon Hills News detailing “the entrepreneurial journey.” The winner also gets a chance to pitch the Central Texas Angels Network and a spot in the Austin Technology Incubator.
Venu Shamapant, general partner with LieOak Venture Partners, John Stockton, venture advisor with Mayfield Fund and Tom Cheredar with Venturebeat served as the finalist judges. The runners up also get to choose from a selection of prizes.