SXSW V2V, A Meeting Place for Startups


One of our favorite presentations at last year’s SXSW V2V conference in Las Vegas was about building a startup community. Running your own company can be a lonely business — for the first several years, at least, it amounts to mountains of work and 12-hour days. So Dylan Jorgensen (, Jennifer Chin (LaunchBit), Kelly Eidson (Moveline), and Porter Haney (Wedgies) set out to enumerate all the advantages of making connections with other startup founders and community leaders, explaining why making meaningful connections with other entrepreneurs doesn’t just mean finding fellow travelers — it means finding tactics to grow your business, staying motivated, and getting inspired.

Over the course of our four years in Seattle, Killer Infographics has made so many meaningful connections with local businesses and organizations, from GeekWire to TINYpulse. But we also see the value of stepping outside our comfort zone. SXSW V2V describes itself as “an extension and re-imagining of the legendary SXSW experience with an emphasis on the nuts and bolts education startups need to ensure entrepreneurial innovation and success.” Like so many of the companies that attend this event, SXSW is young — only three years old. For Killer Infographics co-founder Nick Grant, who attended the event last year, that translated to a flood of fresh ideas, thought-provoking discussions, and a general air of excitement about just how much these companies could accomplish together.

We discovered what startups can learn from rock stars — persistence, creative adaptability, and a healthy helping of obsession with your work — and John Maeda (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) taught us a lot about how to keep an artistic team motivated. We learned how organizations like Zappos and the NFL overcome obstacles and take smart risks. Facing your fears and finding a support system was the center of discussion for Adam Marelli (Adam Marelli Photo), Helen Todd (Sociality Squared), Jey Van-Sharp (MyUberLife), and Jim Hopkinson (Hopkinson Creative Media).

In short, SXSW V2V became a new startup community for us — a community from which we’ve learned a lot already.

At this year’s conference, we’d like to offer up what we’ve learned in our four years as a design startup. We’ve proposed four presentations for the event coming up July 19-22, 2015, in Las Vegas. And as of Monday, Jan. 12, voting has begun. Anyone can submit a proposal through the SXSW PanelPicker, but which presentations actually make it to the conference depends in large part on the voting public. Voting only lasts through Jan. 23, so if you’re an entrepreneur or startup, consider checking out our proposals and voting for some (or all) of them to appear at SXSW V2V 2015. Here’s how to vote:

  • Create an account at (Don’t worry — it takes about a minute.)
  • Check out all the great proposals, including ours:
    • Design Your Visually Inspired Marketing Campaign: VP of Marketing & Sales Charlie Holbert and Art Director Alaina Johnson team up for a workshop on how to harness data visualization and visual communication for a downright viral-worthy marketing campaign.
    • Empowering the Female Founder: KIG co-founder Amy Balliett leads a core conversation on the unique challenges that female leaders face in the world of entrepreneurship — and points out the unique skills women bring to the table.
    • No Funding? No Problem. Grow Your Startup for Free: KIG co-founder and sales guru Nick Grant speaks from firsthand experience about how to maneuver toward bigger and bigger clients through trades, partnerships, and pro bono work.
    • Bootstrapping from Zero to Millions in 2 Years: Co-founders Nick Grant and Amy Balliett explain how they built a multi-million-dollar company on a $750 investment, and offer practical tips on how other startups can do the same thing.
  • Don’t forget to click the thumbs-up icon if you’d like to vote for one or more of these presentations.
Erin McCoy

Author Erin McCoy

Erin McCoy is director of content marketing and public relations at Killer Visual Strategies. She earned her BA in Spanish with minors in French and Russian, and holds 2 master’s degrees from the University of Washington: an MFA in creative writing and an MA in Hispanic literature. She has won nearly 2 dozen awards in photojournalism, and has dedicated those skills to boosting Killer’s brand recognition and thought leadership in visual communication. Since Erin took on her marketing/PR role, Killer has been named a member of the Inc. 5000 for 4 years in a row; has been featured in such publications as Inc., Forbes, Mashable, and the Huffington Post; and has been invited to present at such conferences as SXSW and SMX Advanced.

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