The University of Texas at Austin's SXSW Graduate Startup Pitch Competition

    March 8, 2019 @ SXSW Interactive

    $50,000 in Cash Prizes


    See below for all of the important PitchTexas 2019 dates. Apply now.

    Application Deadline

    January 25, 2019 by 5 p.m. (CST)

    Semifinalists Announced

    February 1, 2019 by 5 p.m. (CST)

    Semi-Final Round

    March 8, 2019, 9 – 11 a.m. (CST)

    Finalist Round

    March 8, 2019, 5 – 6 p.m. (CST)


    The University of Texas at Austin's 2019 SXSW PitchTexas Graduate Student Pitch Competition


    The University of Texas at Austin is proud to present the 6th Annual 2019 SXSW Graduate Startup PitchTexas Competition—with prize money of $50,000.

    In an opportunity of a lifetime, startups led by graduate students from across the country will compete to impress and win over the savvy entrepreneur and venture-capitalist judges for up to $50,000 in cash prizes, bragging rights, and a chance to inspire the SXSW crowd. This is the sixth year for the PitchTexas competition at SXSW, started and run by the Texas McCombs MBA Entrepreneurship Society, a graduate student organization at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.


    The top 16 PitchTexas applicants will compete at preliminary rounds on March 8, 2019, at Robert B. Rowling Hall on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Later in the day, four finalists will take the stage at SXSW's Entrepreneurship & Startups Track and pitch in front of the audience, field tough questions from the judges, and do their best to win the SXSW 2019 PitchTexas.


    Cash Prizes

    $50,000 in cash prizes — 1st prize $35,000, 2nd prize $10,000, 3rd prize $5,000. Winners will be announced and cash prizes awarded at the end of the competition. Finalists will also benefit from exposure at the official event during SXSW's Entrepreneurship & Startups Track.


    Apply Now

    Applications are open and close at 5 p.m. CST, January 25, 2019. The top 16 applicants will be notified by 5 p.m. on February 1, 2019.


    Check out the winners from PitchTexas 2018!

    1st Place - Lapovations is redefining laparoscopy by developing innovative medical devices that minimize invasiveness, simplify procedures, and improve surgical outcomes.


    2nd Place - Brandefy is an online platform that tells shoppers when the store brand/generic product is the same as the name brand, helping shoppers save time and money.


    3rd Place - Leaf is a blockchain money transfer platform for refugees.



    March 8, 2019


    Preliminaries will be held at Robert B. Rowling Hall in the morning. Finalists will present at SXSW's Entrepreneurship & Startups Track starting at 5 p.m. at SXSW Interactive, at the Hilton Austin Downtown. Finalists will receive a SXSW Interactive badge.



    8:15 – 9 a.m.

    Breakfast and check-in


    9 – 10:30 a.m.
    Preliminary Round: Four teams per room given 15 minutes each. The format is a 5-minute presentation, 5 minute Q&A, and 5-minute judges' feedback. One finalist selected per room.


    11am – Noon

    Lunch with contestants and judges.


    5 – 6 p.m.

    Final Round: Judges will select the winner as the team they would most likely want to invest in based on the potential of the idea to be successful, the presentation, and professionalism of the team.

    Notice: This schedule may be subject to change.




    Team Structure
    For a team to be eligible to compete, at least one current founder who is a current graduate student (two maximum) must be present in Austin for the competition on March 8, 2019, during SXSW. We accept early-stage ideas from all categories. Startups with more than $500,000 in previous funding or over $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue will not be considered for this competition.



    Presentation: 5 minutes, Q&A: 5 minutes, Feedback: 5 minutes


    5-minute presentation (hard cut-off) with 5 minutes Q&A


    During check-in for preliminaries, we will randomly assign each team a room and time for their presentation. One team from each room will advance to the final round.



    Thank you to our event partners:

    McCombs School of Business

    Cockrell School of Engineering

    Graduate School


    Special thanks to:
    Texas McCombs MBA
    Entrepreneur Society

    Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, Growth, and Renewal