South by Southwest 2019 (SXSW) is the first iteration of the Austin megaconference to take place since the conclusion of the Amazon HQ2 saga, which sent self-reflecting ripples through North America’s innovation corridors.
Joining a chorus of cities and countries vying for the spotlight at SXSW, Amplify Philly — the homegrown, collective effort to raise our city’s profile on the national sphere — is doubling down on its initiative of a “Philly house,” a local bar transformed into a Little Philly of sorts, where local tech and entrepreneurship staples will spend three days stumping for the City of Brotherly Love. Last year, the pop-up Philadelphia at SXSW18 had a successful proof of concept.
On the docket for this year are six Amplify Philly-hosted panels on the official SXSW schedule, ranging from art and films to internet of things and women in innovation. Some 24 speakers will raise the Philly flag during the event’s programming.
“People who come to the Amplify Philly House will get to see firsthand why our city’s reputation is on the rise,” said Michelle Freeman, of events production company Witty Gritty who is again co-organizing the Austin initiative. “We think that this experience will make them want to get in on all of the exciting things that are happening in the City of Brotherly Love.”
— PhillyStartupLeaders (@startupleaders) February 13, 2019
(Thinking of making the trek to Austin? To get the most out of your time and money, here’s a roundup of survival tips from attendees to another massive megaconference, Las Vegas-based CES.)
The list of companies backing the Amplify Philly effort is as long as it is varied: from Comcast NBCUniversal to software firms Arcweb or Guru, but also insurance titan Independence Blue Cross and academic institutions Penn, Temple and Thomas Jefferson University or financial services firm like Vanguard via its innovation studio.
Dave Silver, the REC Philly cofounder who’s also an Amplify Philly co-organizer, sees Philly’s approach as a singular one in the often noisy SXSW landscape.
“From our bootstrap approach to fundraising, to the diverse programming lineup we’ve put together, no other city does it like us,” said Silver. “We’re excited to put Philadelphia in the spotlight again at SXSW, and show attendees what our city has to offer.”