Pittsburgh companies Gridwise and Moms Can: Code are two of 50 finalists in the South by Southwest Accelerator Pitch Event this spring in Austin, Texas, while a third local startup, Hustle, snagged an alternate spot for the contest.
It’s a huge honor to be a finalist for SXSW, said Erica Peterson, founder of Moms Can: Code, a membership-based community that helps moms learning to code.
Also, “it’s an incredible funding platform,” she said. Per a news release from SXSW, more than 70 percent of the companies who’ve pitched at this event have gone on to receive funding as a result.
Gridwise CEO Ryan Green agreed. His company aims to help rideshare drivers increase their earnings through their app.
“We are excited to be selected as one of the five transportation technology companies to pitch at SXSW. It will be a great place for us to create awareness of Gridwise and make some new product announcements,” he said via news release.
The pitch contest is one of the headlining events for SXSW’s conference and festivals. This year, more than 600 companies applied for the 50 finalists slots in 10 categories.
Moms Can: Code, which launched this summer, is a finalist in the Social and Culture Technologies category, while nearly 2-year-old Gridwise is a finalist in transportation technologies.
Peterson said she’s most excited about the exposure and opportunity to spread the word about Moms Can: Code and its mission on a global and national scale.
See a full list here of finalists, who will pitch in front of a panel of judges and a live audience of industry experts, venture capitalists and media on March 10 and 11. In addition to naming a winner in each category, there will also be a “Best in Show” to mark the event’s tenth anniversary.
Matt Michaux, CEO of Pittsburgh-based Hustle, an app for sports drills and instruction, said that as an alternate, he’ll compete in a mini pitch contest with other alternates in the Sports and Performance Data Technologies category as well as have backstage access to SXSW events. Hustle, which launched in January of 2016, provides basketball drills and instruction from professionals to users and plans to add more sports such as soccer, baseball and softball.