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SXSW creates melting pot of international ventures

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South by Southwest is an experience unlike any other.

Travelers from across the world come to Austin just to be a part of the experience.

Marc Lizoian is the Canadian co-creator of Urtak.

“I’ve never been before, and I heard it was the place to be and a great place to meet all kinds of people in our space,” he said.

Whether your space involves music, film or technology, South by Southwest is the place to come and be a part of it all.

Donna Murphy is the vice president of operations for the Canadian Independent Music Association. She said they’ve been coming since 2005.

“It’s always new because we have new companies always coming with us. Every year there’s a turnover in artists so, inherently, South by [Southwest] is always new because we’re always bringing new people here,” Murphy said.

For Canadians, Murphy said, SXSW is a chance to be introduced to a world full of opportunities.

”It gives us more people to meet [and] more people to talk to. We are now coordinating our efforts a little bit with some of the countries,” she said. "It’s important and it’s getting more important because in the music industry 'live' is the most important aspect.”

SeedUps CEO Michael Faulkner came with the help of Invest Northern Ireland. His company just exited the beta phase of their product.

“We’re trying to do what’s been done for creative industries through crowdfunding, but we do it in a slightly different way that makes sense for tech companies to get set up,” he said. “We’re particularly interested in companies that are raising less than $250,000 in seed funds and are prepared to go onto an online platform, share their business information with qualified investors and raise funding through crowdsourcing technology.”

He and Film Trip Director Gawain Morrison came to SXSW to participate in film and interactive.

“That’s so important with what we’re trying to do with our technology,” Morrison said.

Morrison is focused on emotional response cinema. He said he believes it’s the future of interactive cinema.

“There’s a very high skill level in all creative media and technology coming out of Northern Ireland at the moment, and having been here the last couple of years, with Invest Northern Ireland supporting us, we’ve gotten to learn that there’s a very open marketplace for us to come and deal internationally because it’s not just American companies that are here. There are companies from all over the world,” he said.

Morrison said SXSW could give them a potential foothold on the planet.

While SXSW continues to break records and bring people together, they’re also allowing countries and companies to think in new ways and across multiple platforms.

This year they combined the interactive and music tradeshows into one.

“It’s new to us to see these interactive companies,” Murphy said. “I think it could be something very interesting as we develop relationships outside of just the music component. I think what we’ll try to do is maybe involve some Canadian interactive companies with us next year.”

With the explosion of mobile apps, national and international companies are blending music, film and technology together right in the palm of your hand.

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