Each year, SXSW EDU celebrates and honors trailblazers who are doing innovative and creative work through a series of fast-paced competitions.

Photo by Holly Jee.

Photo by Holly Jee.

2018 Launch Winner - Aarushi Machavarapu

Winning the Student Startup Competition in March 2018 lifted me up and empowered me to continue working and dreaming big.

Aarushi Machavarapu
2018 Student Startup Competition Winner / Threading Twine

2019 Learn by Design - Armando Manalo

The SXSW EDU Learn By Design competition provided an exceptional forum for showcasing our project to a broader community of like-minded peers working at the intersection of education, architecture, and digital media.

Armando Manalo
2019 Learn by Design Finalists / LabVenture

2017 Media - The

Few arenas spotlight, critique, or celebrate the newest edtech efforts quite like the South by Southwest Education Conference & Festival. At the center of it all: the live, rapid-fire Launch Competition, which gives new edtech innovators a stage, and platform, to make their best pitch.


2019 Student Startup Finalist - Koko Yee (Clutch)

SXSW EDU provides students with an incredible opportunity to bring their voices to the table. This is necessary for both teens and older attendees, especially since the work teachers do is for students.

Koko Yee
2019 Student Startup Finalist / Clutch

About Competitions


SXSW EDU hosts competitions that serve as a vehicle to elevate and honor the work of trailblazers in the space. These competitions are about showcasing fresh ideas and solutions, and ultimately connecting the broader community to those ideas for impact.

Competition hallmarks include a lineup of finalists selected through an arduous application process, as well as emcees, judges, and coaches that are hand-picked for their experience and expertise. Historically, these events have celebrated early-stage startups, the design of physical learning environments, and student entrepreneurs.

For 2021 the Launch competition will be part of the SXSW EDU Online digital experience, March 9-11.



Launch celebrates emerging innovations in learning with a fast-paced pitch competition featuring early-stage startups. The competition is an opportunity for early-stage companies seeking market exposure, investment, and strategic partnerships to showcase their innovative products. Selected companies will pitch in front of a panel of industry experts and educators, as well as an audience at SXSW EDU Online 2021.

Presented by

SXSW EDU Online Launch Finalists

New Orleans, LA
Composer is a global marketplace for high-quality instructional resources in civics, social emotional learning, global competence, and social justice. A research-based platform with content sourced from over 35 leading organizations, Composer enables educators to easily access and design curricula for empowering students to become active and engaged citizens.

Los Angeles, CA
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(Austin, TX)
FabuLingua is a subscription-based app available on iOS and Android that is harnessing the power of children’s stories from creators all over the world to teach kids new languages more effectively than ever.

Atlanta, GA
Inspirit contains hundreds of interactive 3D science models and environments. We are building a gamified interactive iOS STEM Education VR app (Duolingo meets Candy Crush) allowing students to learn processes, experiment, and answer questions. Our labs are also available on the web browser for teachers to share with their students.

Saratoga, CA
PolyUp is an equitable and accessible web-based, collaborative playground for building 3D dynamic system simulations and bringing to life robotics, computer games, AI, and more – all with the power of K-12 math and storytelling. PolyUp is rapidly scaling, serving students from the marginalized to the private schools in 70+ countries.

Launch Emcee & Judges

Nasir Qadree

Founder and Managing Partner

Zeal Capital Partners

Tony Wan

Co-founder and Managing Editor


Shanna Peeples

Author, 2015 National Teacher of the Year

Andrew Grauer

Cofounder and CEO

Course Hero

Get Involved

Register for SXSW EDU Online 2021

Join us at SXSW EDU Online, a digital experience March 9-11, 2021, with passes available at $159.


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Subscribe to the SXSW EDU Conference & Festival Update and the SXSW EDU Insider newsletters to stay up to date on important announcements and opportunities.




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