Chris Valentine photo

Five finalists and four alternates from Austin made the list for the 11th annual SXSW Pitch event to be held at SXSW in March.

Two startups from Houston and another from Missouri City, Texas also made the finalist list.

“We had a record number of companies apply this year,” said Chris Valentine, event producer for SXSW Pitch, which changed its name from SXSW Accelerator this year.

For 2019, 857 companies applied, compared to 622 last year and 517 in 2017, Valentine said.

SXSW Pitch also added two new categories for Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence and dropped the FinTech and Security and Privacy categories. The changes reflect the trends SXSW Pitch has seen in the technology industry overall, Valentine said.

For 2019, LinkVR Robot, which makes the VR Haptic Robot to train users with VR applications, made the list of five finalists from Austin. It is competing under the Augmented and Virtual Reality category. myHouseby, based in Austin, made the alternates list. myHouseby is a platform for new home construction that lets buyers and builders explore various home designs virtually.

Other Austin finalists included Eggschain in the Blockchain category. It uses the blockchain to track frozen eggs, embryos, sperm and genetic materials in the fertility field of medicine.

Austin had a particularly strong showing in the Enterprise and Smart Data category with two finalists: Molecula and Osano and one alternative: Kilroy Blockchain. Molecula is a computational analysis engine based on Pilosa. Osano is a platform that provides users with insights into data sharing. Kilroy Blockchain uses blockchain, artificial intelligence and ecommerce technology to streamline business processes.

In the Entertainment and Content category, Austin-based Tankee is a finalist and Austin-based Ibble is an alternate. Tankee helps parents protect their kids from inappropriate online content. Ibble is a financial news and investment platform.

And Rocket Dollar is an alternate in the Hyper-Connected Communities category. Rocket Dollar is a retirement investment service that makes it easy to invest in anything allowed by the IRS, with no penalties.

Other Texas-based companies include Zibrio SmartScale, based in Houston, in the Health and Wearable category. It makes a smart scale that measures balance and identifies fall risk. Fluidity Technologies Aviator, also based in Houston, made the finalist list for Hyper-Connected Communities. It makes a drone controller that puts intuitive flight control in one hand and much-improved camera control in the other hand.

Xplosion Technology, based in Missouri City, Texas, is a finalist in the Sports and Performance category. The company makes a human performance software platform.

Overall, SXSW Pitch selected 50 startup finalists in 10 technology categories. Those finalists will participate in the SXSW Pitch event that takes place March 9-10th during the Entrepreneurship & Startup Track at the downtown Hilton Austin. Judges will select one winner from each category along with an overall “Best in Show” winner.

The selected companies come from all over with finalists from Dubai, Canada, the UK, Pakistan, Singapore, Tanzania and Japan.

All of the finalists for the 2019 SXSW Pitch are:

“Artificial Intelligence”: DerqPreventHendrix.aiRoadBoticsSherpaVence

“Augmented and Virtual Reality”: BehaviorMeHealiumLinkVR Robot.ObsessTunnelware

“Blockchain”: Bext360; EggschainKnowbella PlatformNebula GenomicsSteamchain

“Enterprise and Smart Data”: Geospiza SwiftMoleculaNovoOsanoTfi WPN

“Entertainment and Content”: AcciyoFantagSkyWeaverStrolyTankee

“Health and Wearables”: ExtendKeggPathwarePortable Surgical Visualization SystemZibrio SmartScale

“Hyper-Connected Communities”: FT AviatorNALANODEObjectBoxUbiGro

“Social and Culture”: EnrichHER FundingMySideKickNew Age SausageSupportivVOLO Career Volunteering Platform

“Sports and Performance”: Bisecu Smart Bike LockCricFlexFan Controlled Football LeagueHuman Body AILearn2Play

“Transportation & Delivery”: Autonomous Electric Transport SystemElectristructureENSO – Sustainable Tires for Electric VehiclesMigoSmart B/L

Out of the 453 companies that participated in SXSW Pitch from 2009 and 2018, more than 71 percent have received more than $5.43 billion in funding. And 16 percent have been acquired by Google, British Telecom, Huffington Post, Apple and others.

Austin startups have always had a strong showing in the SXSW Pitch competition. For 2019, 47 startups applied and five made the finalists and four made the alternates.

And from 2016 to 2018, Austin has had five winners, Valentine said. Last year, Austin-based GrubTubs won in the Hyper-Connected Communities category and Austin-based ICON 3D won in the Social and Cultural category.