South by Southwest Interactive is big, corporate, unruly and losing its edge, but whatever you think of it the tech festival is still a haven for early-stage start-ups, a survey says.
Nasdaq Private Market conducted the survey of private companies at SXSW to see the maturity, focus and fundraising expectations of businesses in attendance. The poll received 111 responses, with 34 percent of answers from company founders, co-founders or chief executive officers and most of the rest from an executive, director or associate.
As much as the start-up conversation of late has been about massive financing rounds and high burn rates, the companies at SXSW don't fit the mold. Of the respondents, 41 percent said they'd raised less than $2 million, with 12 percent having reeled in more than $50 million.
An equal number, 13 percent, were in the $2 million-to-$10-million and $10-million-to-$20-million range, 11 percent said $20 million to $50 million and 10 percent said they weren't sure.
"SXSW brings together influencers, venture capital, media and other similar companies looking to do the same thing in one spot, which makes it an ideal location," Jeff Thomas, vice president of sales at Nasdaq Private Market, wrote in an email. "Larger companies are still attending the conference, but more as corporate sponsors."
In the past, SXSW has been a place for hot Internet start-ups to be discovered. That perception has faded in recent years, but it hasn't diminished the popularity of the festival.