SXSW: Israeli startups and how to Get an ROI from the Spring Break for Geeks


SXSW outdoor eventSXSW celebrates its 21st anniversary this week with a cornucopia of music, film and digital networking. From its humble roots as an indie music retreat, it is now ground zero for digital validation.

SXSW is where Foursquare and Twitter conquered the digerati and Mark Zuckerberg addressed his first prominent conference. Now the event is at a cross-roads. Bloated from its own success and drowning in a pool of corporate swag, startups that once wallowed in the SXSW limelight are opting to stay home. Farewell Foursquare, Goodbye GroupMe, Ta-Ta Twitter. Instead of discovering the Next Big Thing, attendees are far more likely to encounter Oreo, Esurance, Doritos or Chevy. Amidst this carnival of hype, energy drinks and ambient noise, below are a few tips to achieve some sort of ROI, as well as introductions to the Israeli companies participating in SXSW. You can meet them at a special dinner, hosted by the Israeli Embassy of the Southwest. Contact for additional information:


Tips for Getting Some Sort of ROI from SXSW

1. Stay focused

2. Schedule meetings weeks in advance

3. Attend panels but approach your target BEFORE their session. Most panels are lightly attended

4. Dinners, not parties. You can actually have a conversation

5. Divide and conquer with a “wing man”

6. Follow up with people immediately after each party

Israeli companies at SXSW 2014

  • Hyperactivate : A turnkey social marketing solutions provider enabling social media followers to amplify brand messages across multiple channels from mobile to online and digital outdoor displays
  • Payoneer : Simplifies commerce by removing the limitations of geographical borders and ensuring smooth, cost-effective transactions to and from anywhere
  • Wondervoice : Hands-free voice assistant helps consumers interact with their favorite apps by responding to voice commands
  • Interlude : Platform for video creators to tell “choose your own adventure” interactive stories
  • Samba : Combines text and video for an asynchronous video messaging platform that also records the reactions of people watching the videos
  • Connesta : Cloud Control Room (CCR) hardware-free SaaS platform that replaces legacy TV control room and vans to significantly lower costs and deliver greater production flexibility
  • FiveBlocks : Digital consulting and technology firm analyzing search-results data for managing how brands are perceived online and executing an action plan shaped by data analysis
  • LoyalBlocks : Loyalty marketing solution for brick and mortar businesses with patented technology that enables automated hand-free punch cards and customer rewards
  • Yevvo : Free mobile-to-mobile platform to instantly share live HD video with an unlimited number of subscribers’ mobiles
  • Conduit : DIY App Maker brings an innovative solution to easily create apps and a quality mobile version of existing websites

See y’all at the BBQ!!

Levi Shapiro
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Levi Shapiro

Managing Partner at JIMMI Fund
Levi Shapiro is the Managing Partner at the JIMMI Fund, a corporate venture investment fund, and concurrently Partner at TMT Strategic Advisors. He is also the organizer of Marketing & Ad:Tech Israel (, Israel's largest conference for digital advertising.

During a 20 year career inmedia and technology, including 7 years in Asia, Levi launched new business units(IBM), new products (Toyota) and new startups (TwoMinute Television, Snack Mobile, etc).

He teaches Entrepreneurship and Mobile Marketing as an Adjunct Professor at IDC Herzliya, serves as Mentor in Residence for The Hive accelerator and writes a bi-weekly column about digital media and technology in the Jerusalem Post called "Unleavened Media ".

Mr. Shapiro is a graduate of Tulane (BA), Cornell (Asian Studies) and MIT (MBA)
Levi Shapiro
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