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It’s been ten years since our first trip to SXSW where we first launched Here East, and we were delighted to visit Texas again this year to strengthen our transatlantic connections and meet the innovators and entrepreneurs across the technology and entertainment industries.

As we reminisce on a decade of growth, collaboration, and inspiration, we are reminded of the remarkable journey we’ve been on since our inaugural visit. Over the last decade, we have grown our community here on campus to over 6,500 people, and we are now home to global technology companies and start-ups, major academic institutions and leading creative businesses.

This year’s trip to SXSW provided yet another opportunity to engage with a vibrant community of industry leaders, creators, and visionaries shaping the future.

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In collaboration with London & Partners, we hosted a networking event during the week, ‘London Calling’, showcasing London as a leading destination for tech, financial services, and the creative and climate industries.

Welcoming entrepreneurs, disruptors and thought leaders, the event explored the unique advantages of London’s business ecosystem and the potential for collaboration and growth between the UK and US. It was a pleasure to hear from speakers including:

  • Richard Hyde, His Majesty’s British Consul General in Houston
  • Shelby Wanstrath, Managing Director of Vista Equity Partners
  • Solomon Rogers, Global Director of Innovation at Magnopus
  • Ariana Alexander-Sefre, Founder and Co-CEO of Spoke
  • John Smolen, SVP of Distribution Sales of Atmosphere
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In addition to hosting London Calling, we also co-hosted the opening night for the British Music Embassy at UK House where leaders and representatives from the UK gathered at a showcase for emerging British artists.

We have had a long-standing relationship with UK House at SXSW. In 2023, we hosted an event there ‘looking beyond the hype’ of the metaverse convening experts from all over the world.

Beyond these events, a highlight from our trip included watching a brilliant presentation by renowned Futurist and CEO of the Future Today Institute, Amy Webb, on Future Trends.

Amy’s presentation focused on how we’ve entered a technology supercycle that will create substantial and sustained changes to the economy that will change the course of history. This is a result of advancements in biotechnology, artificial intelligence and the connected ecosystem. You can read the findings of Amy’s SXSW speech here.

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We also attended a fascinating session on ‘Fashion Meets Tech: Empowering Consumer Communities’, which explored how the converging relationship between fashion and technology can create more progressive and innovative consumer experiences.

According to a report by McKinsey, fashion companies will increase their investment in technology to about 3% by 2030. This highlights how brands are looking to maintain their competitive edge by innovating through the metaverse and AI, and we’re intrigued to see how the sector continues to evolve.

The week was punctuated by a number of networking sessions and insightful discussions, such as the Immersive Expos event we attended on our first day, where innovators like Spoke - the UK’s leading music-led wellness app that gives people personalised audio sessions that are clinically improved to improve your mental health, were featured.

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Networking was a highlight of the trip and it was great to catch up with old friends and meet new contacts from the likes of Capital Factory, MidWest House and UK House. Attending activations sprinkled across the city, we learned how big brands such as Dell Technologies and Porsche are spearheading innovation and changing consumer products as we know it.

From thought-provoking panels to productive networking dinners, the spirit of innovation was palpable throughout the week. We look forward to continuing to foster our transatlantic connections and drive progress together, propelling us into another decade of ground-breaking innovation and collaboration.

Watch our recap video to find out more about our trip to SXSW.

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