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

    March 8, 2019 @ SXSW Interactive

    $50,000 in Cash Prizes


    Yourself.online empowers you to fix your online legacy by providing you with the tools to manage your online data and privacy. Founded by two ex-Googlers, yourself.online is a pre-seed online data and privacy management service.

    Check out the runners up from PitchTexas 2019!

    2nd Place - Slate is creating a better tattoo experience with the first online marketplace for tattoos. We connect customers to a curated selection of top tattoo artists by style and location.


    3rd Place - Hubly is modernizing the intracranial bedside procedure by replacing manual hand drills with integrated electric drill system to reduce complications from physician error.


    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 closed at 11:59 p.m. CST, January 27, 2019.



    See below for all of the important PitchTexas 2019 dates.


    ANNOUNCEMENT - Due to a high number of applicants, Semifinalist announcements will be sent out via email the week of February 4th

    Application Deadline

    January 27, 2019 by 11:59 p.m. (CST)

    Semifinalists Announced

    Week of February 4, 2019

    Semi-Final Round

    March 8, 2019, 9 – 11 a.m. (CST)

    Finalist Round

    March 8, 2019, 5 – 6 p.m. (CST)



    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.


    11 a.m. – 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.


  • Congratulations to the 2019 Semifinalists!

    These 16 teams will be pitching on March 8, 2019 at Robert B. Rowling Hall on The University of Texas at Austin campus for a chance to pitch at SXSW Interactive in the finals

    AeroLive, Inc.

    University of Texas at Austin

    Code Blue Jewelry

    University of Texas at Dallas

    Epistemix Inc.

    University of Pittsburgh

    Flo Recruit

    University of Texas at Austin


    University of Texas at Austin


    Northwestern University


    Northwestern University


    University of Texas at Austin


    Harvard University


    University of Texas at Austin

    Sincere Sitter

    Seton Hall University


    Northwestern University


    Georgia State University


    University of Texas at Austin

    Texas MicroSintering

    University of Texas at Austin


    London Business School

  • Finals Judges

    Gregory L. Fenves

    29th President of The University of Texas at Austin

    Since 2015, Gregory Fenves and his administration have worked to expand access to the university for talented students across the state of Texas. He has prioritized diversity and inclusion, invested heavily in faculty and their research, expanded experiential learning opportunities for students, and has overseen strategic efforts that have led to the highest four-year graduation rates in the university’s history. As provost and president, he launched the Dell Medical School at UT Austin, which is dedicated to transforming health and health care locally and globally.

    Heather Brunner

    CEO & Chairwoman at WP Engine

    Heather Brunner is chairwoman and CEO of WP Engine. In that role she has steered the company to hyper-growth and global expansion, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, San Francisco, London, Limerick and Brisbane, serving 90,000 customers in more than 135 countries. A 27-year technology veteran, Heather helped create billions in value-driven customer success, and led business strategy for both privately funded new ventures and Fortune 500 companies.


    She received the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Central Texas award for technology. This year, Fortune has given WP Engine three awards for Best Place to Work for Millennials, as a top mid-sized business and as a top workplace in technology. Heather serves on the boards of directors of Camden Property Trust and The Entrepreneurs Foundation.

    Rod Favaron

    Former Chairman & CEO at Spredfast, Entrepreneur, Investor, Board Member, Speaker

    Rod Favaron moved to Austin 20 years ago to build successful technology companies. He is a serial “startup” guy with three very successful B2B software startups over the past 20 years. Rod has served as chairman and CEO of Spredfast for the past seven years. His company’s enterprise social software connects the world’s largest brands to their customers. Spredfast grew from a startup to nearly $100 million in revenue in eight years. Spredfast was acquired by Vista Private Equity in October 2018. Prior to Spredfast, Rod was chairman and CEO of Lombardi Software from an early startup into a global leader in business process management software. Lombardi was acquired by IBM in 2010. Rod also served as CEO of Mediaprise, Inc., a brand asset management software company; SVP Sales & Marketing for pcOrder, a pioneer in e-commerce software and internet content services; and as general manager at Mentor Graphics Corporation. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Louisiana State University and an MBA from the University of Dallas Graduate School of Management. Rod currently serves on the boards of directors for Upland Software, and Bypass Mobile, and is a mentor to many technology entrepreneurs.


    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