SXSW 2015 (en)

© Amanda Stronza

© Meredith Tankersley

© Maximilian Knop

© Maximilian Knop

© Jason Bollenbacher


Hamburg is not just an important hub of commerce and media. It is just as much a passionate and fertile breeding ground for startups. The streams of entrepreneurs emerging here in this urban center and, pitch for pitch, setting the sky alight with their startup ideas, delivers clear and endlessly recurring proof of this fact. Now the time has come to serve the Americans a generous helping of our hanseatic fervor!

2015 Startup Village Logo bigtop

Everything at South by Southwest (SXSW) revolves around the Austin Convention Center with its never-ending flow of exciting talks and panel. Directly adjacent, the Hilton Austin Downtown Hotel is transformed into the official SXSW Startup Village for the duration of SXSW, opening its doors to visitors from 13 to 17 March 2015. It is also the venue for the SXSW Accelerator on 14 and 15 March. This event will feature the German Startup Engine premiere, designed to showcase the German startup scene with an official panel and exciting pitches in the Startup Village on Sunday, 15 March. Accompanied by a suitable echo across all SXSW media channels, the German Startup Engine will participate in the official part of SXSW Interactive, also held in the Hilton.

What is the German Startup Engine?

1 official SXSW panel + 2 official SXSW startup pitches as parts of the SXSW Startup Village

The official SXSW panel will see experts come together to discuss the future of German entrepreneurial spirit under the title ‘German Entrepreneurship on Speed – Over-engineered and underestimated’, followed by two pitch sessions in archetypal SXSW style, designed to present the most exciting German startups in the segments of e-commerce and travel & mobility. An international jury will convene to ask probingly critical questions and give their judgment on the startups.

Now it’s up to you! Which startups will represent Hamburg in these two segments? We want your applications. The jury (see below) will decide at a pre-pitch event, held in Hamburg on 01/13/2015, which startups we will send off to the United States.


Bildschirmfoto 2014-02-23 um 18.42.20

The South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) has been held each spring in Austin, Texas, since 1987. Originally a music festival, SXSW has grown to become the world’s leading trade show in the creative digital economy. Hamburg has been involved for many years, putting up a 70-strong delegation of companies – the largest – in 2014. Hamburg town hall initiates a number of measures on the ground to help participating companies from the city, operating in the three industries of music, interactive and film, achieve the common goal of presenting Hamburg as a hub of the creative industry.

The Hamburg Senate Chancellery, Hamburg Marketing GmbH, Hamburg Convention Büro GmbH, the Hamburg Ministry of Culture and Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft are all backing this joint presentation of Hamburg. IHM – Hamburg Music Business Association – and the Reeperbahn Festival are in charge of organization.

Germany is taking part by organizing an extensive program divided into three sections, also featuring a joint trade show stand and a presence on the ground at the German House on Rainey Street. We will release information detailing the full German and Hamburg program shortly.

  • The Pitch

    Five German startups in the two segments of e-commerce and travel & mobility will step up and pitch their ideas to an international jury in the official SXSW Startup Village on 15 March.

  • South by Southwest (SXSW)

    Whammy! The two finalists from Hamburg will be listed as official speakers and will also receive an Interactive Badge for the SXSW

  • Travel & Accommodation

    A contribution towards travel expenses will be provided from civic coffers and thanks to outstanding partners such as EY.

  • Timing

    The closing date for applications is 01/08/2015 | The pre-pitch will be held in Hamburg on 01/13/2015 | The pitches in Austin are scheduled for 03/15/2015


    …to all our superb partners and organizers without whom this event would not be possible.

Me. Too!

If you have a working product/service/proposal and possess meaningful experience with users and customers, please send your comprehensive pitch deck to by 12 AM on 8 January.

Just a few things to consider:

  • We are only able to accept applications from the segments of e-commerce and travel & mobility.
  • The pitch will be held in the USA. So naturally we need a pitch deck in English.
  • Competition in the USA is pretty tough! Make sure your pitch deck wows us!
  • Good English is mandatory!
  • Explain to us why you are just perfect to represent Hamburg at the SXSW!
  • When?

    The closing date for applications is 01/08/2015 – The pitch will be held in Austin, Texas, on 03/15/2013.


    Yes! The states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Hamburg and NRW are all backing the German Startup Engine. But we have just two allocated slots for representatives from Hamburg.


Below you will find the panel of experts from the Hamburg startup scene waiting to review incoming applications and to nominate four to six pre-finalists. They will be asked to pitch their ideas convincingly to the jury and book their tickets to Austin on 13 January in Hamburg.

<a href="">Jan-Menko Grummer</a>

Jan-Menko Grummer

Partner Head of Assurance North-East Germany, EY (Ernst & Young)
<a href="">Sina Gritzuhn</a>

Sina Gritzuhn

Co-Founder and Managing Director Hamburg Startups, Editor
<a href="">Jeremy Tai Abbett</a>

Jeremy Tai Abbett

Creative Evangelist, Google
<a href="">Elke Fleing</a>

Elke Fleing

Executive Consultant, Editor
<a href="">Jens Unrau</a>

Jens Unrau

Area Manager - Department Media State Chancellery Hamburg
Marc-Sven Kopka

Marc-Sven Kopka

Vice President Corporate Communications XING AG
Katharina Borchert

Katharina Borchert


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