At SXSW, a two-story ‘house’ hopes to #AmplifyPhilly

Led by REC Philly's Dave Silver, an Austin restaurant will morph into the Amplify Philly House, featuring talks, demos and live music.

Philly at the South by Southwest tradeshow, March 2016.

(Courtesy photo)

Want a taste of Philly at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2018? Look for the two-story restaurant on the corner of 6th and Trinity.

At the megaconference in Austin, Texas, which last year drew some 400,000 attendees, Philadelphia will be represented via the “Amplify Philly House,” inside a remodeled restaurant that will host Philly companies, flavors and sounds.

“I’m very psyched about it,” said REC Philly founder and #AmplifyPhilly organizer David Silver. Silver is taking the lead this year, in the absence of former Philly Startup Leaders executive director Yuval Yarden.

The idea of a standalone activation, two blocks from the Austin Convention Center, was inspired by what some of the country delegations like Japan and Great Britain have done in the past.

The bar/restaurant to be transformed (the punny Pour Choices) has hosted Philly events in previous years during SXSW. It’s going to be open to all SXSW badge holders and will run two days of Philly-centric programming. Aside from the running tradeshow floor — featuring local startups like Webjunto, Tonic Design and Arcweb Technologies — the house will, er, house two days of talks centered around “supercharging your city” and “Grit and Hustle.”

After dark, SXSW attendees will get a taste of Philly arts via local acts like Son Little and Low Cut Connie.

Silver pointed out the challenges to fundraising Philly’s way to SXSW: unlike other cities (D.C.), there’s not one single entity to back the effort via development entities so the funds have to be sourced via sponsorship.

“We’re the only city that tries to get a little [money] from a lot of people,” Silver said.

(Last year, the effort rallied enough support to provide travel grants to 10 startups. This year, Silver said there are discounts available for badge purchases.)


For those still seeking to get involved, the organizer is doing a roll call via an online form.

“I hope those who enter the Philly house see the growing communities of so many different, unique sectors: incredible arts, startups and just rapid growth of our city,” Silver said. “As a business person, you should really be considering Philly.”

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