Hey startups, let's go to SXSW!

[UK] If you are a technology startup and want to network with Silicon Valley type then one way of doing it is to go to South By South West Interactive. Those who attend in the past have informally called it ‘Spring Break for Geeks’, but it is a little more significant that that suggests. Twitter took off in the US by launching there in 2007, Foursquare launched there last year and it’s generally a pretty interesting platform to test the waters of American geekdom.

Organised by Chinwag and the UKTI, the Digital Mission (a kind of punk trade mission) to SXSWi is back for it’s second year after a successful trip to Austin in 2009. There are 35 slots available on the 2010 mission (12-16th March, 2010) and applications are now open – but the dealine is Friday, 27th November so you better hurry. TechCrunch Europe is a media partner because to get on the mission all you have to have as a company is a UK headquarter, so in other words any European company with a UK HQ counts. Thus, this year, Zemanta, which is really built in Slovenia but has a UK HQ, came along. The rest of the selection criteria is below.

Here is the the application info page.

SXSWi features five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer.

Digital Mission to SXSWi 2010 is a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of the publicity and profile from a group of British companies attending SXSWi. Plus, there’s a plethora of features to help develop relationships/partnerships with US companies, look into opening an office stateside and make valuable contacts for the future – not to mention brushing up on your industry knowledge.

Entries are welcome from a broad range of digital companies ranging from start-ups, marketing agencies, through to ecommerce operators, mobile service providers and any qualifying company that operates in the digital space.

To qualify your company has to:

• Be “innovative”
• Be UK headquartered (so in other words a European company with a UK HQ counts)
• Be classified as an EU SME (small to medium enterprise, less than 250 employees)
• Have two years trading history, or failing that, compelling early-stage fast-track potential
• Provide references from key sponsors/industry players
• Be ready to do business in the US or potentially attractive to US investor
• Able to cover travel and accommodation costs
• Able to cover contribution towards event expenses

Successful applicants will be chosen by the Digital Mission Advisory Board which is traditionally made up of top UK digital entrepeuners, VC’s, journalists, UKTI and regional representatives.

Enquiries to mission@chinwag.com