Taoiseach to join Irish entrepreneurs and musicians at SXSW in Austin

Enda Kenny will address session as part of Entreprise Ireland’s partnership of next month’s Interactive event in Texas

US ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley announcing details of Ireland’s involvement in the SXSWi festival, which  start on March 13th in Austin, Texas

US ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley announcing details of Ireland’s involvement in the SXSWi festival, which start on March 13th in Austin, Texas


The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, will be speaking at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival in Texas, along with Irish entrepreneurs Brendan O’Driscoll and Joe Mitchell.

The Taoiseach is expected to speak at a session in the Start-up Village on Sunday March 15th on how the Irish economy has been growing rapidly and how the State is earning a reputation as a successful location for launching start ups and a leading tech and innovatin hub.

Soundwave chief executive Brendan O’Driscoll and Tapastreet chief executive Joe Mitchell will take part in a panel discussion with Enterprise Ireland senior vice-president of internet, media and entertainment Simone Boswell at the tech element of the world famous music and entertainment industry event.

The panel will be discussing why Ireland is a popular home to the world’s leading tech companies and why its indigenous tech scene is nurturing some of the most interesting tech companies in the world.

The interactive festival,which showcases cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, will run from March 13th-17th in Austin, Texas. Self-driving cars, revolutionary ride-sharing programmes, robots, drones and medtech will be among the topics being explored.

About 17 Irish start-ups will attend the festival including Teamwork.com, NewsWhip, Gigstarter, Pulsate, GreenletterBox, ChannelSight, Rothco and Intuition.

Speaking at a send-off event for the Irish bands and start-ups, which took place at the American Ambassador’s residence this week, Chris Hyams, senior vice-president for product at job site Indeed, said entrepreneurs and musicians can have a “very successful SXSWi” without getting a record deal, a million users or a million dollars.

He said the trick to making the conference and festival a worthwhile and successful trip, is to make connections, skip parties and talk to people after panel sessions.

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the brothers most widely known for their legal battles with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, are among the featured speakers and will discuss what bitcoin needs to succeed.

The famous twins claimed Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for a social-networking website to start Facebook, but settled the case several years ago. They have since created the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, a NASDAQ-listed exchange-traded fund, as well as the Bitcoin price index WinkDex to price their ETF.

Other speakers at the annual music, film, and interactive conference this year include actors Ryan Gosling and Sally Field, Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, YouTube star Michelle Phan and economist Paul Krugman.

This year’s film festival will screen a total of 150 features, including 102 world premieres. Ryan Gosling will discuss his new film, Lost River, with Guillermo del Toro. Two-time Oscar winner Field is scheduled to discuss her career. The premiere of director Paul Feig’s upcoming Melissa McCarthy action-comedy, Spy, are among the blockbuster titles set to bow at this year’s South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival

SXSWi is where Twitter and Foursquare first appeared on many radars and confirmed the event’s link with new innovations. Together with SXSW Film, SWSX Interactive attracts 51,000 attendees to Austin every March. The music event has grown from 700 registrants in 1987 to almost 28,000 conference participants.

James Vincent McMorrow, Le Galaxie, and Walking on Cars are among the Irish musicians heading to the music festival this year.

Past speakers at SWSX include World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee, Paypal and Tesla co-founder Elon Musk and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.