From March 13 – 16, a three-person group from the Corporate Development and Innovation Team at Independence Blue Cross (Independence) traveled to Austin, Texas, to attend this year’s South by Southwest conference (SXSW).
SXSW Interactive is an incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity. The 2016 event featured five days of compelling presentations from some of the brightest minds in emerging technologies. There were networking events hosted by industry leaders and programs showcasing the best new websites, video games, and startup ideas.
This gathering attracted about 70,000 people and included sessions and meetings between entrepreneurs and potential investors in their companies. It also featured films, interactive media discussions, and music festivals.
Michele Madansky and Trae Vassalio, two authors of a recent report, Elephant in the Valley, served as co-keynoters. The report documents workplace issues among those in the technology industry, whose skills are critical to a high percentage of startups. Madansky and Vassalio discussed reactions to the report and solutions they believe the industry can embrace to bring change to the issues identified.
A multitude of Philadelphia-based companies are sponsoring an initiative called Startup PHL Presents: Amplify Philadelphia SXSW, with major support from Comcast and Independence. Our goals include representing Philadelphia as a city of innovation and creativity in arts, technology, and business.
The City of Philadelphia had a community-focused booth staffed by its employees that promoted the city and provided space for product demos, talks, and performances. Each day at this booth, Independence presented our work in Human-Centered Innovation to visitors. We also promoted Philadelphia as a hub for startups and showcased the companies, innovations, and technologies created here.
As an advocate for startups and the entrepreneurial community, this expands on the work done in Philadelphia by Dreamit Health, a joint venture of the University of Pennsylvania and Independence. Dreamit Health is the region’s first health care accelerator. In three years, we have identified 29 companies to receive seed funding, mentoring, collaborative office space with other startups, and opportunities to meet with potential investors and customers.
“We at Independence have a passion for innovation,” said Terry Booker, Vice President Corporate Development and Innovation. “By joining Comcast and others representing the City of Philadelphia at SXSW, we hope to show at the national level our dedication and commitment to innovation and the startup community.”
At Independence, we want to expose our Corporate Development and Innovation Team to any opportunities that may lead us to new solutions, which are needed as we seek better and more affordable health care for the people we serve. We hope this and similar efforts will create opportunities for our companies and our communities.
The full list of sponsors to Startup PHL Presents: Amplify Philadelphia SXSW includes Comcast NBCUniversal, Independence Blue Cross, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Startup PHL, Pennovation Works, Wharton Entrepreneurship, and Philadelphia startups Guru, Zivtech, and Chariot Solutions.