Obama to address South by Southwest Interactive festival

IDA and Irish start-ups heading for prestigious event in Austin, Texas

US president Barack Obama is to speak at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival in Texas, conference organisers have said.

A number of Irish start-ups are heading over to the festival, along with Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Dublin Startup Commissioner Niamh Bushnell.

The Irish start-ups attending the festival include Galvanic, UrbanFox, Kong Digital, Intuition, KantanMT, Overhaul, TekTalent and OpenBack.

The interactive festival, which showcases cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, will run from March 11th-15th in Austin. Self-driving cars, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robots, drones and medtech will be among the topics being explored.


Along with president Obama, other speakers will include Star Wars director JJ Abrams, Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, Twitter co-founder Biz Sto9ne, and SoulCycle founders Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice.

IDA Ireland and Culture Ireland are bringing world famous Irish street performance company, Macnas, for a pop-up street theatre spectacle in the city of Austin on Saturday.

“This year we are stepping it up a notch and working with lots of partners to deliver a strong Irish voice and presence at SXSW,” the IDA said.

On Friday, Dublin Makes Me, a series of events to highlight Dublin as a city of creativity and innovation, will launch at SXSW.

An Irish Start-up Wake, for dead start-ups, their founders, fans and sympathisers, will take place on Sunday.