TOA Election Special: Who Should Rep Berlin at SXSW?

By Conor Rushby |

It’s still a long time until Tech Open Air heads out to Austin’s SXSW festival to represent Berlin in March. But the TOA crew are an efficient bunch and are already looking to get together their Berlin panel to discuss as yet undecided topics.

Located next to the house where TOA will be hosting its own events, the panel are not simply being chosen by the organisers. Instead, in true TOA style, it has been opened up to a public ballot to decide who would best represent the German capital’s scene. The Berlin Music Commission, which is helping organise the trip, will also host an event next week to let interested startups know what they are letting themselves in for.

Voters get to choose four people for the honour from a list of 41. Currently leading the Facebook poll are Lasse Clausen of FOUNDD, Alex Ljung of SoundCloud, Linsey Fryatt of Venture Village and Jess Erickson of General Assembly – however there’s still time to vote ahead of the deadline tomorrow at 6pm. The winners will be given badges granting access to the interactive areas of the festival.

The city-states of Berlin and Hamburg, partnering with Initiative Musik, will be renting a house close to the festival to host their own satellite event, to celebrate the latest in the German startup scene. Featuring meetups, presentations and parties, it will be a good way for festival goers to raise their startup’s profile, and encounter new ideas.

Partnering the Berlin Music Commission (BMC), TOA’s trip has the backing of the Berlin Senate, while organisers are looking for Berlin startups to accompany them on the trip. Next week’s event, and you can find out more here, will have a representative from SXSW on hand to answer questions about the festival.

The BMC is also offering special rates for Berlin startups who want to rent their own venue along with two subsidised accreditations per company. These will give access to the Trade Show and ensure a mention in the Berlin presentation’s publications, as well as 20 percent off individual access to the Interactive Festival, the Music Festival, and the Film Festival. The deadline for these special tickets is November 9.