When you think SXSW (South by Southwest, or South By), you might think indie rock bands turned next big things. But the annual Austin, Texas festival is so much more than that. It’s also an opportunity to showcase innovation in everything we do, which includes how we travel. Think about it. 10 years ago, you were probably highlighting a paper map or having a trip itinerary printed out. When’s the last time you did either of those things? Conventions likes SXSW are part of the reason so much has changed in the world of travel.
The SXSW Interactive Accelerator has been helping tech startups break onto the scene for the past five years. It was held March 8–12 at this year’s festival. Two winners and three finalists of the SXSW Interactive Accelerator are the future of how we get from point A to point B.
Grand Prize Winners
Innovative Web Technologies: Wanderu
This Boston-based interactive web technology helps travelers book bus and train trips. It’s aimed at travel for young people on a budget. Think Priceline takes the bus.
Social Technologies: Plotter
With this social app, you can really personalize your maps. View multiple plotted locations at once, crowd source maps from other users, and of course, find out how to get where you want to go. This app is perfect for sharing new places you know your friends will love. The Plotter team is from Cleveland, Ohio.
Social Technologies: Koozoo
Share a live view of wherever you are. With this map app, you can plot a point showing where you are and attach a video snippet of what it’s like there right at that moment. Koozoo comes from San Francisco.
Mobile Technologies: Desti
Desti is a travel guide for the iPad that uses natural language processing to help you plan your entire trip in one app. The Desti team is from Menlo Park, California.
Innovative Web Technologies: Mr. Arlo
Mr. Arlo is your digital concierge. He’ll help you plan your trip, show you where to stay for low prices, and show you what your destination has to offer. Mr. Arlo comes from Atlanta.
So there you have it. In just one week at SXSW, we were introduced to five new ways to make travel easier. What’s your favorite? Tell us in the comments.