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.

Apply by Friday, January 8, 2021, to have your company considered for Launch occurring at SXSW EDU Online, March 9-11, 2021.

Competition Eligibility Requiremements
  • The SXSW EDU Launch competition is open to early-stage startup companies in the education market.
  • Companies must be established with a management team and public-facing website, able to convey a sustainable business model and able to demonstrate user traction, engagement, and adoption metrics.
  • Companies who have raised over $5 million in funds from combined funding sources at the time of application are ineligible.
  • Each applicant is only eligible to present in one of the SXSW startup events (SXSW Pitch or SXSW EDU Launch). In contrast, if you have applied for one of these events and were not accepted to participate, then please feel free to apply to SXSW EDU Launch.

Apply for Launch

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