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Pick our Panel: SXSW Session

Voting Is Open

The South by Southwest (SXSW) conference is an annual meeting of minds on the cutting edge of the startup community. This year SXSW is taking place from March 10-19 in Austin, TX. Past speakers range anywhere from popular American singer Bruce Springsteen to former President Barack Obama. Regardless of the speaker, this conference is a terrific way for individuals to showcase their innovation, grow their knowledge, and sharpen their acumen in the startup community.

PanelPicker is a session proposal platform that lets users propose and vote for panels they want to see at SXSW. From the ground up, the power in attendees' hands to determine what and who they want to hear from. Historically, these panels have generated diverse topics like a 2006 panel on increasing women’s visibility online which led to productive discussions about gender equity in the startup community. Sessions have also featured informative panels on UX design from 2008 helped entrepreneurs make the right decisions about their website stylings and better present their product or service.

The PanelPicker method has given us some engaging panels over the years. This year, we’re introducing two panels we believe attendees will find valuable and informative during their entrepreneurial journeys. Voting is currently open, and ends Aug 21st! 

Voting is simple: after clicking the links in this article, create an account by filling out your name, email, and creating a password. Once you’re logged in, just hit the up arrow in the upper right corner for both of our panels! Feel free to leave a comment using the link under the arrows too.

1. 2023 and Beyond, The Future of Startup Investments

  • Venture Capital emerged in the 1970s as an asset class with a growing number of firms on the East & West Coasts. Since then, policy change saw more capital flowing to the VC market. These changes transformed VC into a more institutional structure for startups to rely on. We’ve also seen the rise of angel investing which started as high net worth individuals, became more popular through the rise of things like accelerators and various online platforms. Due to policy changes and the JOBS Act, crowdfunding emerged as an option, further lowering the barrier to investing in the private markets. In this session, we’ll reflect on the history of startup funding, explore the various startup investment types, and call out notable trends that give us a glimpse of what might come in the future.
  • In this panel you'll hear from:
    • Frank Gruber, Co-CEO & Co-Founder, Established & Established Ventures
    • Erica Duignan Minnihan, Founder & General Partner, Reign Ventures
    • Aziz Gilani, Managing Director, Mercury Fund
    • Cheryl Campos, Head of Venture, Republic
  • These are all individuals who have shown great success in the startup community, from smart investing in up and coming businesses, to starting companies themselves, they are excited to have the ability to share their insider knowledge with attendees of how to use creative, emerging forms of crowdfunding to gain financial assistance for a burgeoning business.

2. Ensuring Equitable Access to $4B in Federal Funds

  • How might we increase engagement with untapped talent to make use of American ingenuity and further strengthen the programs and the economy? The U.S. dedicates billions of dollars toward research and development (R&D) each year, but there are many challenges on the journey to turn technology ideas and innovations into a wealth of commercial enterprise that has a deep impact. America's Seed Fund's Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs ensure equitable access to the innovation ecosystem for those who are currently underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs. Hundreds of thousands of successful commercial entities have started this way and now contribute billions to the U.S. economy along with world-changing, technological innovations.
  • In this panel you'll hear from:
    • Jennifer Shieh, Ph.D, Director of Ecosystem Development, United States Small Business Administration
    • Grant Warner, Ph.D, Director of Innovation, Associate Professor, Director of Innovation for the College of Engineering, Howard University
    • Nancy Kamei, PharmD., Program Director, NIH NCI
    • Ben Schrag, Ph.D, Senior Program Director, Small Business Innovation Research, National Science Foundation
  • This group of diverse, creative thinkers is proud to be able to present their panel on equity and funding. Using their personal experiences along with professional connections, they are excited for this opportunity to share recent research looking at initiatives to lower barriers to funding, how to navigate the America’s Seed Fund application process, and showcase federally-supported startups.

Our community is stronger when everyone has a say. Remember to vote before August 21st and platform your voice!

Author: Paxton Dodd, Paxton is currently working towards his Master's degree in Communication at Purdue University. He has spent the last year teaching and taking courses along with freelancing. He is interested in creative marketing and data analysis.