President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama may be getting all the hype for this year’s South by Southwest, but a group of startups from the Triangle area hope to get some buzz as well. The following companies are participating in the festival, and in a variety of ways—from pitching during contests to serving on panels to promoting events and causes. 

All of their efforts combined will help show the world that the Triangle is hotbed of innovation and creativity. 

Here’s who to keep an eye on during the festival, which kicks off tomorrow in Austin: 


Over 470 startups from around the world applied to pitch at the eighth annual SXSW Accelerator pitch competition in Startup Village, and Durham’s Neuro+ made the final 48. 
Neuro+, founded by Jake Stauch, integrates neurofeedback, motion feedback and cognitive training protocols in video games that train the brains of kids and adults with ADHD to develop attention skills. The company launched last July with the hope of treating ADHD without meds. This affordable tool uses games such as “piloting flying dragons and defending towns” to teach skills in focus, the ability to sit still and ignoring distractions. 

The studio will host many other interactive activities such as virtual cycling and live mural painting by local artists. Attendees can also try to pilot a robot with their mind, beat the robot at ‘Rock, paper, scissors’ as it gets smarter after every move, and finally, take a selfie with the world’s most intuitive robot Pepper. 

Steve Case 

Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL and CEO of the D.C. venture capital firm Revolution, will speak with his wife Jean Case about how innovators and entrepreneurs can change the world in this “internet of everything” economy. Many may remember Case from his visits to Raleigh and Durham during the Rise from the Rest last May. He’s been known to say positive things about the Triangle startup ecosystem, and he’s also provided funding to Windsor Circle, Automated Insights and Mati Energy through the Google for Entrepreneurs’ Demo Day. 

Automated Insights 

Senior executives from Automated Insights will participate in talks with other artificial intelligence experts at the festival. While it works with major news organizations like Yahoo Finance and the Associated Press to automate the telling of routine sports and finance stories, its Wordsmith product allows customers to take spreadsheets full of data and create their own company stories, cutting down on the time and work needed to make sense of their reports.

Automated Insights CEO Robbie Allen, will discuss how to find a job in an automated future on Sunday, March 13th. Joe Procopio, the company’s chief product officer, will discuss the future of sports reporting and analysis and consider how algorithms and data affect sports coverage. His talk will be held Saturday, March 12th. 

“We’re excited to return to SXSW to discuss how people and computers are working together to reinvent how we write, work, and play,” Allen writes in a company blog post. 


Wake Forest Internet of Things startup MiPayWay is in the running for’s SXSW Startup of the Year competition. The mobile app and device allows for customers to give money to other individuals for gratuity, tips and donations. 


A Durham startup bringing transparency to the automotive sales and trade process will demo its vehicle valuation product called SNAP at McCombs Entrepreneurship Night Saturday and in the McCombs School of Business Booth during the SXSW trade show Monday. Founder Brice Englert is a University of Texas at Austin graduate, who founded the company, which is based at American Underground, in December 2014. Here’s the scoop from the TradePending blog.


Health and med tech are an increasingly important topic at the interactive festival and Durham’s Validic is in the mix to share its experience connecting physicians and hospital systems with all the data coming from wearable devices. Co-founder and chief technology officer Drew Schiller will present with a Garmin marketer on the topic “Wearables: The Powder Keg for a Health Revolution” Monday morning.

**If your company is demoing, pitching or presenting at South by Southwest this week, tweet us @exitevent or email with the details!