SXSW
4:36 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

SXSW Interactive Awards Finalists Are Here

The signs are everywhere that South by Southwest is nigh. But here’s one that doesn’t involve the rejiggering of sound permits: Finalists for the SXSW Interactive Awards have been announced.

The awards are divided into 15 categories: Activism, Amusement, Art, Business, Classic, Community, Educational Resource, Experimental, Film/TV, Motion Graphics, Music, Personal, Social Media, Student, and Technical Achievement.

Meant to recognize up-and-coming websites, applications and digital projects, the closest thing to a widespread name in the categories is Storify, which lets users combine social media updates into newsworthy narratives.

And in another sign of the burgeoning importance of the festival’s tech component, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell is leading a delegation of Austin start-ups to the UK this week.

Tomorrow, Leffingwell and representatives from nine Austin tech, gaming and venture capital groups are visiting London’s Tech City, the self-described “digital capital of Europe.” A press release describes the trip further:

The group will participate in a two-day programme that will introduce them to Tech City and their UK digital media and gaming counterparts, as well as attend workshops about setting up operations in London and hear from some US-based companies that have successfully entered the UK market.

“We are proud to be representing the best of Austin’s start-up scene to our London counterparts,” said Andy Jones, Business Development Director at Small World Labs. “This will be a great opportunity not only to showcase what we’re doing and explore potential new business opportunities here in the UK, but to learn and take some ideas back with us to Austin.”

The visit is timed to coincide with a pre-South By Southwest Interactive briefing for 40 UK-based companies that will be attending the conference through the UKTI. Both Mayor Leffingwell and the digital media companies taking part in the mission will have an opportunity to meet and address these potential partners.

SXSW Interactive and SXSW Film both kick off on March 9, with SXSW Music joining the party March 13.