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 a number of distinct competitions, each of which serves 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.

In 2020 SXSW EDU planned to host four powerful competitions. Learn more about past competitions, listed below, and stay tuned for news for future competitions at SXSW EDU.

  • Launch – Celebrates emerging innovations in learning with a fast-paced pitch competition featuring early-stage startups
  • Learn by Design – Elevates groundbreaking work in the design of physical learning environments and how it impacts pedagogy and learning outcomes
  • Student Startup – Brings together high school students during SXSW EDU to pitch their entrepreneurial business idea
  • Amazon Alexa Challenge – Invites EdTech companies to develop the best use of voice application for education

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Explore opportunities to participate during SXSW EDU including PanelPicker, mentoring, and more.

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