Immigration, youth innovation and challenging norms were key themes on Monday, March 11 at the first full day of programming at SXSW V2V.
For the first Monday morning session, Congressman Joe Heck and an esteemed group of experts shared a pivotal conversation of what lies ahead for immigration reform. A diverse collection of leaders that have all been impacted by immigration in a unique way joined him for this panel: Alex Torrenegra, CEO of VoiceBunny and Voice123, who is from Columbia; Andrew Crump, CEO/Founder of Bluefields, orginially headquartered in England but now in Las Vegas; and Scott Allison, CEO/Co-founder of LV based Teamly. Moderating the session was Mark Falzone, Deputy Director of the National Immigration Forum, a leading immigration advocacy organization spearheading a campaign called Bibles Badges and Business for Immigration Reform.
A group of Thiel Fellows presented the businesses that led them to drop out of school. The real kicker? They're the founders of these businesses Paul Gu, co-founder of Upstart; Mark Daniel, co-founder of GoalHawk; Riley Ennis, founder of Immudicon; Nick Liow, founder of Commonly.cc; and Madison Maxey founder of CRATED.
Tony Hsieh led an impassioned talk about his home city of Las Vegas's ongoing transformation into the most community-centric city in the world. One of the most intriguing subsets of this pursuit, titled the Downtown Project, is the seamless alignment of community, small businesses and startups. The Downtown Project seeks to help accelerate achievement of dreams by supporting potential business owners that are passionate, unique and hold a vested interest in supporting the other businesses around them. Tony said the opportunities made available for startups with the Downtown Project have drawn more than 30 companies to the city over the last year. The chance to shape the future of a city has drawn thousands of people to Las Vegas, and the future holds limitless possibilities. So turn your shipping container into a restaurant, light something on fire and hit the streets to accelerate your return on collisions (ROC).
SXSW unveiled a new programming format, 20/20 Vision, which features intense 20-minute presentations from established business and entrepreneurial voices, as well as up-and-coming creative visionaries. This shorter format will allow audiences to experience a wide range of differing viewpoints and ideas from the people who are shaping the future. Monday's 20/20 Vision speakers included CEO of Behance Scott Belsky, Las Vegas's Tech Cocktail co-founder Frank Gruber, and Alamo Drafthouse Founder Tim League sharing their inspiration and lessons learned along their business, and life, pursuits.
In true SXSW style, Monday night was filled with a number of evening events. The Networking Mixer with Tech Cocktail at the Gold Spike gathered a huge crowd of registrants looking to meet, mingle, socialize and converse about all the fantastic content that they digested earlier in the day. Located in historic downtown Las Vegas, this Fremont Street location brought to life the descriptions that Tony Hsieh shared during his Monday afternoon Keynote presentation. XX@SXSWV2V and Signalfy x SXSW Get Down(town) evening parties celebrated entrepreneurial innovations and innovative spirit! The chance to experience these parties in Las Vegas led to packed houses and a plethora of serendipitous encounters -- in other words., the heart of the SXSW experience!
Down the street at the Triple B, the SXSW experience continued with the first-ever V2V Music Showcase. Performers included some of today's most exciting up-and-coming artists, including MC Dizzy Wright, Jackie Chain, Palmbomen, Palenke Soultribe, Gavin Turek, and Elektrik People. Attendees at this showcase at the Triple B ranged from SXSW V2V registrants to local Las Vegas music fans.
What is SXSW V2V?
SXSW V2V offers entrepreneurs from across all creative industries a space to learn the skills, make the connections and find the inspiration to take their ideas and talents to the next level. Read more about why the startup community is converging in Las Vegas this week.
Looking for more entrepreneurial programming? SXSW Interactive this March 7-11, 2014 in Austin features a number of startup-centric events including SXSW Accelerator, Startup Village and SXSW Startup Austin.
Photo at top: SXSW V2V hallway interaction. Photo at middle: SXSW V2V music showcase at the Backstage Bar. Both photos by Jessica Cox.