We’re thrilled to announce that ARwall won the SXSW Accelerator Pitch Contest for best AR/VR company of 2018. We’re truly honored to have been nominated alongside so many incredible innovators. It has been a tough but rewarding journey. There’s nothing like watching your vision come to fruition. Within the past few months we have achieved a lot and we only see it going upwards from here. Get the full story here: https://sxsw.com/awards/sxsw-accelerator/
Message from the CEO, Rene Amador:
As soon as we stepped into Austin, we knew this was a place where big ideas could win. Eric Navarrette, our chief marketing officer, and I were hungry for two things: victory and BBQ. The BBQ was plentiful. The victory would have to wait until after our pitch, which would have to wait until after our “dry run” the day before the actual pitch. At the dry run, with just the other AR/VR contestants and some industry coaches in attendance, we pitched the story we’d been working on for a month. Without exception, every single contestant’s pitch got shredded by the coaches, forcing us all to go back to the drawing board and rethink from scratch, now with less than 24 hours before standing in front of that audience. Eric and I flexed some creative writing muscles we’d honed over decades. A few margaritas may have been involved as well. When I stepped on stage, I was about to deliver a speech I had practiced out loud less than 5 times.
The crowd loved it. The judges loved it. Eric and I walked away feeling pretty good, with some level of realism about our prospects to win. Some of the other contestants had made great changes to their pitches as well, honing in on better use cases or value propositions. At the awards ceremony the next day, there were a few announcer difficulties, including our very own “La La Land / Moonlight / Oscars” moment where the wrong company name was announced as the winners to the AR/VR category. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t one of the most awkward and nerve-racking moments of my entire life. Finally, the issue was sorted out and we heard the name ARwall. For a split second, I could feel an intense wash of biochemical responses: relief, glee, terror, pride. I could tell Eric felt it to, we seemed to be moving in slow-motion as we came up to the stage and accepted the trophy and giant prize check. They asked me to say a few words, I can’t remember much but I do remember beaming with pride with Eric and saying “I’m a filmmaker, so is Eric. So this is a project of passion for us.”
Afterwards, we were swarmed. People could tell the win was truly satisfying by the looks on our faces. I had to carry the giant check around downtown Austin as we hopped from club to party to VIP afterparty and finally ended up in a room full of investors and gourmet food at a club called The Eleanor. At least 25 very serious people handed me cards with instructions to contact them immediately. The next morning Eric and I made it to a great spot, Black’s BBQ, near the university district, where we gorged ourselves on tender meats. We would be in Hollywood again soon, but in that moment, having been embraced and celebrated in a strange land, we were truly Texans. We’ll be headed back to SXSW in 2019 with something special.
The Los Angeles Takeover of Augmented Reality?
Is it possible this major win at SXSW has pulled the AR “center of gravity” towards Los Angeles? (See Bizjournals.com article: Bay Area Shut Out in SXSW Accelerator). Three of the five AR/VR nominees were LA based companies, showing that Silicon Beach and LA innovators are at the forefront of this technology. Being located in the entertainment hub of the world, the team at ARwall has seen unlimited potential for entertainment and technology to flourish as one. It is truly a humbling experience being able to connect with so many companies who share our desire to see AR revolutionize the way we interact with media. We’re excited for what’s to come and for the role that we’re going to play in it!