2018 SXSW Pitch Winner: PolyPort
Some of the world’s most innovative startups are showcased at SXSW Pitch, formerly known as SXSW Accelerator.
If your startup wants to be involved in the 2019 competition, then click here for entry information. But don’t delay on getting involved, because the final entry deadline for SXSW Pitch is Thursday, November 15.
Entrepreneurs, founders, funders, investors and other related professionals will also want to attend these two tracks of programming at SXSW 2019: “Entrepreneurship & Startups” (scheduled March 8–12) and “Tech Industry & Enterprise” (scheduled March 8–13).
Also, click here to read PolyPort’s pre-SXSW interview from last January.
PolyPort is a 3D asset protection, management, and delivery company, which employs proprietary encryption technology to facilitate an end-to-end solution for 3D designers. Could you share some current developments/changes/stories on how your technology is currently being utilized?
Chloe: We have focused our efforts more solely around the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) and Media and Entertainment (M&E) industries. We are working on delivering a POC for Trimble, in efforts to protect their 8M+ asset library for Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) that are served into different 3D software applications. These assets range from elbows and t-joints that contain more than 300 lines of attribution around tensile strength, that are key factors for proper building and design.
What have been some key developments for PolyPort since March, when you won the Security & Privacy category at SXSW Pitch 2018?
Chloe: Fast forward six months; we moved our company to Denver, are building out our team, are in delivery phase for two major customers, are steps away from closing our $1.2M seed round, and are pushing towards a big beta launch in January. Startup life is far from glamorous. The highs are exhilarating and daily bumps and bruises are a way of life, but every now and then you’ll run into challenges that feel akin to a devastating blow to the gut. It’s critical for company leaders to stay focused on what really matters during these times, in order for the company to endure. This past year has been nothing short of grit and perseverance and I wouldn’t dream of another team to do this with.
What kind of opportunities did winning your category at SXSW Pitch open up for Polyport?
Chloe: Our team can’t thank SXSW enough for inviting us two years in a row! Winning the SXSW Pitch event this year opened up multiple doors for our company, including meeting our first investor the Carnrite Group.
What was your most memorable moment from SXSW 2018?
Chloe: At SXSW 2017, we met a guy named James Brown at a hot dog stand and struck up a conversation. It turned out he was a speaker that year, and we kept running into him throughout the week. We eventually ended up having drinks with him and he was a blast to hang out with. Fast forward to 2018 SXSW, My co-founders Partha and Mike left the Marriott across from the convention center to grab some beers. While walking, they spotted the back of a bald skinny guy’s head and jokingly yelled “James!” to see what happened. Sure enough, James Brown turned around and we were reunited! What are the chances.
Partha: The walk from the Green Room past the line of everyone coming to see the SXSW Pitch awards, into the room for the awards show and then winning the award for our category!
Could you name the most surprising/exciting thing you learned or saw at SXSW 2018?
Partha: I dropped a stack of around $400 which went flying around the street. Three random young men quickly ran about and gathered it all and handed it back to me. It was great to see good hearted spirit still exists in the world.
Could you name a favorite panel/event of SXSW 2018?
Chloe: Besides staying for some Drum & Bass music events, I thoroughly enjoyed the Wisconsin Cheese Hall. I’m a cheese fanatic. I probably eat around 1lb cheese every week. After the stress of pitching dissipated, being able to check out some more lighter/fun items at SXSW was pleasant. I didn’t have the opportunity to do so in 2017 during the Interactive Innovation Awards.
Do you have any advice for applicants to the 2019 SXSW Pitch contest?
Chloe: As you are applying for any type of pitch competition, start to save your answers in a central document; it will make your life 10x easier when applying to future events and competitions. Also, don’t take yourself too seriously. Show your fun side in your application. We submitted a Bollywood style montage to represent our team culture. When you are an early-stage startup, investors put a heavy emphasis on the founding team. Give them the opportunity to see who you really are and why your team is so awesome!
How about suggestions for the Pitch finalists on how to best to showcase their startup?
Chloe: Practice makes perfect. While you don’t want to sound like a robot while pitching, the more you practice the less likely you are to mess up during the pitch due to nerves. The more comfortable you feel with your pitch, the better off you will be. In addition, practice in front of multiple people, find smart individuals and VC contacts that are willing to do a “mock pitch” with you and grill you with questions. If you do this, once you get up on stage at SXSW you will feel like it’s just another opportunity to share your amazing idea with the world.
Do you have any other advice for attendees looking making the most of SXSW 2019?
Chloe: PLAN. PLAN. PLAN. Take advantage of the SXSW app and resources prior to making it down to Austin. Scope out the potential investors, customers, advisors, or other individuals you want to meet as far in advance as possible. While you may get lucky running into someone you would like to talk with, chances are far and few between.
Partha: Bring a spare HDMI cable, a solid pair of sneakers, and go exploring (with a buddy of course).
Other than what you are working on at PolyPort, what new trend/development in the tech space are you most excited about?
Partha: Quantum technology; asteroid mining.
What should we expect to see from PolyPort over the rest of 2018 and for 2019?
Chloe: We are still in stealth mode for the rest of this year. Expect to see big things happening with PolyPort in 2019!
As you mentioned earlier, PolyPort has now moved from Atlanta to Denver. Can you compare and contrast the startup scenes in the two cities?
Chloe: The scene in Denver is night and day compared to Atlanta. A lot of companies from Silicon Valley are setting up shop here now that San Francisco has become crazy expensive. Denver has a vibrant startup scene as does Atlanta, but it seems there is more access to talent and capital in Denver. Atlanta is definitely making strides to become an exceptional startup hub, but there’s just a tremendous amount of movement to Denver and Austin.
Did you participate in Denver Startup Week this year? If so, what were your impressions?
Chloe: I didn’t see much of Denver Startup Week this year, but I did participate on a panel discussion around being a military veteran entrepreneur. Downtown Denver was definitely bustling much more than usual, but I can’t speak to much more than that.
Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.
Remember to vote on Tuesday, November 6. In Austin, early voting begins Monday, October 22 and continues through Friday, November 2.