Here are 6 Texas companies that are competing in this year’s SXSW Accelerator Pitch event

Companies participating in SXSW's Accelerator Pitch event are working on solving problems in various industries.

Companies participating in SXSW's Accelerator Pitch event are working on solving problems in various industries.

In its 10th year, the SXSW Accelerator Pitch event has selected 50 company finalists representing 10 different categories to pitch their innovative ideas at the 2018 annual conference. Out of the 50 companies from around the globe, six are based in Texas.


1. 14bis Supply Tracking: Houston


Security & Privacy Technologies finalist


While taking a course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the four co-founders of 14bis Supply Tracking worked on an project to try to stop counterfeit parts from being used in airplanes and making it into the aerospace industry.

“We are trying to create safer flights for people and cargo, ultimately,” said Alexis Dames, co-founder and CMO. “We do this by ensuring each part that’s on the airplane is the part that’s supposed to be there.”

At least 2 percent of parts in circulation are known to be counterfeit, according to the company’s website. 14bis Supply Tracking’s goal is to track each part of an airplane from its creation through every step of the supply chain.

Dames said SXSW is an opportunity for the company to present its solution to the world, make connections with other industries and present the new era of blockchain, which is a way of keeping continuous, linked records.

“It’s almost overwhelming,” Dames said. “We feel very privileged to be there.”

Based in Houston, 14bis Supply Tracking drew inspiration for its name from Alberto Santos-Dumont’s invention of the 14bis, a wooden and fabric lined aviation craft.





2. Apptronik: Austin


Hyper-Connected Communities Technologies finalist


Austin-based company Apptronik aims to create robots to help first responders and put robots in “dull, dirty or dangerous jobs.”

The company started at the UT Human Center Robotics Laboratory and has since grown to have 14 employees and five contractors in Northwest Austin.

The company's technology revolves around series elastic actuators, which act like the muscles of a robot and allow the joints to move, and control circuitry. They work with an open-source platform that can be adopted by anyone.

CEO Bill Welch said the company has a bipedal, or two-legged, robot and a human exoskeleton developed. Both are meant to “partner with human beings in a much more productive and safe way ahead for the human race.”

“We’re willing to share our product with everybody,” Welch said. “We want to help the whole industry move forward. We’re not afraid to compete later when we all have something innovative and useful.”

At SXSW, Welch said Apptronik is looking for exposure.

“We’ve been operating under the radar purposefully as we develop our technology,” he said. “We’re poised now to make a big decision. We can continue this very manageable growth, or we can say, ‘We’re ready now to say let’s accelerate this.’”





3. FastVisa US: Dallas


Enterprise and Smart Data Technologies finalist


In an effort to help nonprofits, higher education, government, law firms, enterprise human resources and other industries, FastVisa US aims to streamline the immigration workflow process from end-to-end.

Co-founder and CEO Paul Kang said he saw the process firsthand when his wife immigrated from South Korea. He said he knew there had to be a better solution.

Kang said the current U.S. immigration process is still in the pen-and-paper world.

“I want people to know that with immigration, there’s an issue with processing,” he said. “There’s a systematic issue in the process overall.”

Kang said the current political climate is putting pressure on organizations that have to go through the process–FastVisa US is helping.

The company chose Dallas for its headquarters because of the city’s immigrant population and is now part of The Dallas Entrepreneurship Center (The DEC).

“We’re always looking for partners and customers,” Kang said. “We want to work with everyone … everything touching and helping immigrants.”





4. GrubTubs: Austin


Hyper-Connected Communities Technologies finalist


Austin-based GrubTubs’ mission is to integrate cities and farmers to connect to supply chains.

The company collects food waste from restaurants, uses it to feed grubs, then partners with farmers who feed the grubs to farm animals. GrubTubs said it is able to divert waste from landfills, save costs and help local farmers, according to the company's website.

While the company’s headquarters is in downtown Austin, the grubs are housed at a farm in Buda, Texas.





5. ICON 3D: Austin


Social and Culture Technologies finalist


Working in stealth until March 12, the Austin-based company is working toward building the first up-to-code 3-D-printed home in the U.S. According to the SXSW Accelerator Pitch website, ICON 3D has a contract with New Story (YC S15) in bringing to market the promise of robotic home-building.





6. m.io: Austin


Enterprise and Smart Data Technologies finalist


At a previous company, the founders of m.io found themselves wanting a solution for communicating across multiple messaging apps.

After developing a universal messaging network for themselves, they decided that m.io would be useful for anyone who uses messaging apps and switched their company’s product.

“It’s kind of stressful to get so many messages through so many channels,” CEO Tom Hadfield said.

M.io allows users in one app to talk to users in another app.

Hadfield said the company chose Austin for its headquarters because “it’s the place to be.” The company works with Capital Factory in downtown Austin.

“It’s easy to recruit top talent in Austin,” he said. “We’re all in it together … that’s something we haven’t found anywhere else.”

M.io launched publicly this week, right before SXSW. Hadfield said he is excited to have tens of thousands of potential customers all in one place.


SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

For three days in a row, three new cases of COVID-19 have been reported to Comal County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Three more coronavirus patients in Comal, two are community spread

Patients are from New Braunfels, Canyon Lake and Smithson Valley. One is hospitalized.

Guadalupe County issues stay-at-home order, amends disaster declaration

County suspends foreclosure proceedings for at least 30 days.

The train through Landa Park is popular with children.
New Braunfels' parks to be closed Easter weekend.

Stay-at-home orders are effect at the city and state levels through the rest of the month. County to join on Saturday.

(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Comal County issues stay-at-home order

Confirmed cases within the county have jumped 50% in last two days.

(Graphic illustration courtesy Jay Jones/Community Impact Newspaper)
‘We’ve got this’: Central Texas librarians step up to help their communities amid coronavirus pandemic

The example in Bee Cave appears to be just one of many stories relating how, amid the COVID-19 crisis, librarians are helping their communities throughout the Greater Austin area.

Economic relief options for small business owners include the Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
Has your Austin-area small business been affected by the coronavirus? Here are resources you can access.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering a short-term loan program intended to help cover payroll and a separate, long-term loan program intended to help business owners stay afloat.

A recent string of incidents where Zoom meetings have been “hacked” has put the future viability of teleconferencing security in doubt. (Courtesy Pixabay)
String of racist attacks via videoconferencing software leads to heightened security concerns

A recent string of incidents where Zoom meetings have been “hacked” has put the future viability of teleconferencing security in doubt.

COVID-19 testing kits are in short supply, and Dr. Judith Thompson has requested information on any that might be available.  (Courtesy National Institutes of Health)
Drive-thru coronavirus testing center opens in New Braunfels

A doctor is required to set up an appointment for testing.

Austin and Travis County's orders went into place March 25 and require residents to stay home for everything but essential travel. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
5 recent coronavirus stories from the Austin area readers should know

Read local updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

All three new cases are located in New Braunfels. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Breaking news: Comal County reports three new cases of coronavirus in New Braunfels

All three of the new cases in the county are located in New Braunfels.

Friday's digital telethon will help Austin metro residents through nonprofits during the coronavirus pandemic.
Donations to All Together ATX will help local residents through grants to nonprofits

Friday's digital telethon seeks donations to help the community

First Protestant Church of New Braunfels was founded in 1845. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Here's why New Braunfels is allowing limited, in-person religious services, despite coronavirus concerns

An email exchange between the mayor and a retired doctor laid it all out.