Photo by Andy Wenstrand


March 3-6, 2025 in Austin, TX


The SXSW EDU Launch Startup Competition (“Launch”) is an opportunity for early-stage education startups seeking market exposure, investment, and strategic partnerships to showcase their innovative products and services. Selected companies will pitch their startups in front of a panel of industry experts, early adopters, investors, and educators, as well as a live audience at SXSW EDU 2025. In addition to the fast-paced, live pitch event, finalists and semi finalists have access to additional opportunities to showcase their products and services and network with the SXSW EDU community.

Apply by Friday, October 25, 2024 to have your company considered for Launch occurring at SXSW EDU, March 3-6, 2025 in Austin, Texas.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Launch is open to early-stage startup companies in the education market.
  • Companies must be established with a management team and public-facing website, able to convey a sustainable business model and able to demonstrate user traction, engagement, and adoption metrics.
  • Companies who have raised over $8 million in funds from combined funding sources at the time of application are ineligible.
  • Each applicant is only eligible to present in one of the SXSW startup events (SXSW Pitch or SXSW EDU Launch). If you apply and are selected as a finalist for both, you will need to choose in which competition you’d like to present.
  • Past SXSW EDU Launch Startup Competition finalists and semifinalists are not eligible to apply.

Application Process

Once you begin the application, you can save and continue your work as you go until you decide to submit your completed application, which you can do at a later time up until the application deadline.

Please note there is a fee associated with this application, but you will not be asked to commit to purchasing until you have completed the application and are ready to submit.

Judging Criteria

Finalists are eligible for three (3) awards: the Launch Award, the Impact Award, and the Community Choice Award. More information about each award can be found here. A panel of judges and our community will decide the winners at the event in March based on the following criteria:

  • Creativity: How original is this product or service?
  • Potential: What is the longevity, actualization, and profitability of the idea? Does it have clear potential to scale?
  • Functionality: How accessible and effective is this product for its intended users? Would it detract from or improve current learning environments?
  • Team/People: Is it clear that the team has the experience and unique perspective to successfully lead this startup?
  • Impact: What is the product's potential to improve educational outcomes? Is the intervention provided based in the science of learning? Does this idea take into account issues around equity and accessibility?

Finalists and semifinalists will be selected with the help of the Launch Advisory Committee and invited to present at SXSW EDU 2025 in Austin, Texas.

For additional information on Launch, contact