What we're seeing (and loving) in Austin this week

To help our clients See Tomorrow, Cassandra has boots on the ground in Austin, trendspotting at SXSW. At a festival and conference full of innovators, we had to check out the SXSW Innovation Awards Finalists Showcase, where sixty-three finalists across thirteen competition categories shared their new products and services. Read on to see some of our favorites.


Imagine the convenience and quality of a Keurig – but instead of made-to-order coffee, on-demand ice cream. Cold Snap is making that a reality and transforming the way frozen treats are produced and enjoyed. Their shelf-stable ice cream is ready in minutes through a “revolutionary freezing technology.” Plus, according to their website, it reduces the carbon emissions associated with making, shipping, and storing ice cream by 30-50%, so you can feel less guilt while enjoying some yummy (yes, we had the opportunity to sample this one!) ice cream with both dairy and dairy-free options.


Our next favorite uses a 100% AI-based digital social cash transfer model that leverages mobile technologies and machine learning to send mobile payments to those in need. For example, they worked directly with Togo’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Transformation to distribute $34M in stimulus money to a quarter of Togo’s population in less than 2 weeks. Togo residents could simply send a text and answer a few questions, then the algorithm would determine if they were eligible for payment based on their predicted poverty level. If eligible, they would receive money right to their mobile phone every 2 weeks. Their success rates are impressive, especially when here in the U.S. some Americans still haven’t received all their stimulus money and have to file taxes in order to get it. We sure do wish Uncle Sam knew about GiveDirectly’s Novissi platform. Novissi is the only African nominee at SXSW 2022 and the first African nominee in Innovation. Check out what GiveDirectly is doing in other communities.


o8t is getting personal with brains and using their neurotechnology and connectomics (think genomics for your brain) to transform our understanding of the brain and create personalized brain mapping. Today, their Quicktome product is being used to help brain surgeons understand each of their patients' personalized brain maps so that during brain surgery they can avoid doing anything that could fundamentally change the essence of who a person is. Their vision is to expand beyond the surgery use case to do personalized brain mapping to help treat mental health issues. We hope they get there soon, so we can also get our personalized brain map (without needing brain surgery)!

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