Unfortunately, despite raising a total of $2 million in funding and getting more than 300 press clips, Sonar — which used location-based technology to connect people — ultimately failed. While SXSW wasn't the main reason, Martin pointed out the difference why his company's 2011 experience was successful, and 2012 wasn't so good.
"When I went to SXSW in 2011, I went with no expectations," he recalled. "I was working on a new product, had a little demo, and I found the right people that were interested. I wasn't even looking to raise money. (In 2012), the media for months had been hyping us to be the next big thing. All of a sudden we get tens of thousands of people trying to use your app. Even if you happen to be the one lucky app that gets a bunch of hype and people use your technology, you have a high risk of getting crushed under the weight of your success."
Event management system Splash, too, experienced technical difficulties during its first SXSW in 2012 when a large event crashed its system. Splash execs have since learned from the experience, and do more system tests to ensure everything goes smoothly.
"By SXSW standards, if you are popular, you get screwed," said Ben Hindman, co-founder and CEO of Splash. "It's a pop-up little city of people who are early adopters. It can really stress-test your product."