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7 German startups creating buzz at South by Southwest

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Photo: Splash app from Berlin startup Viorama.
15:19 CET+01:00
From creating apps that save lives to developing ones that expand our visual horizons, these tech projects and startups are making waves at Texas' South by Southwest.

Tech companies from around the world have been flocking once again to this year's South by Southwest (SXSW) fest in Austin, Texas, battling it out in a series of competitions.

But more important than any prize money is a company's exposure to potential investors at this launching pad for startups: both Twitter and Foursquare credit the Austin conference with jump-starting their success.

The Local takes a look at some of Germany's budding tech firms that have been wining accolades at the Texan tech hub this year.

1. Viorama's Splash

DW News interviews co-founder Michael Ronen after the exciting news that Splash has been chosen for the Top 3 SXSW VR Accelerator Finals!

Posted by Splash on Saturday, March 12, 2016

Berlin startup Viorama won an award for virtual reality at SXSW at the weekend, beating out tech firms from around the world.

Viorama's app Splash offers "virtual reality for the everyman," allowing users to easily create and share their own 360-degree videos.

360 degree video and VR is hot. Join live to get a sneak peek at an app launching tomorrow here at SXSW that is quite innovative. Called Splash and you can get it tomorrow at http://splashapp.co

Posted by Robert Scoble on Thursday, March 10, 2016

"We wanted to find a way to bring virtual reality - a medium that we find to be very immersive and opening up empathy and solidarity between people - to the hands of everyone... to democratize virtual reality," said co-founder Michael Ronen, a 34-year-old expat from Israel, to The Local.

The app can be viewed with simple cardboard virtual reality head mounts, like Google Cardboard, or just with an iPhone by itself, though Ronen said that he hoped it could be a sort of "bridge" for people to start using virtual reality headgear to get a better experience,

Photo: DPA.

"There is a difference between moving your phone around and actually looking with this optical illusion with two lenses and looking into this stereoscopic image, which is moving and feeling like you're really there," Ronen explained.

Forty-eight startups from all over the world competed in the Accelerator contest with Viorama and each prize comes with $4,000 (€3,586).

2. ShareTheMeal

This app by the United Nations World Food Programme and developed by a team in Berlin allows users to "share their meals" with children in need by donating as little as $0.50 to feed one child for one full day with just a couple taps on their smartphone.

So far the app has shared nearly 5 million meals and has been able to provide school meals to 20,000 Syrian refugee children living in camps in Jordan for a year and also funded 1.8 million meals for schoolchildren in the southern African country of Lesotho.

Currently the app's donations are going towards helping pregnant and nursing mothers along with their children in Homs, Syria.

At SXSW, the app won the Interactive Innovation Award.

3. #GetTheMayor

This website was created by the city of Heidelberg to give citizens a chance to dictate the mayor's schedule. People can submit issues that they want the mayor to address, or vote for projects submitted by others, like having more bike paths or supporting public art. 

Projects that get the most votes will then get personal response from the mayor himself.

"We want to give citizens and everyone passionate about our beautiful city the opportunity to get involved and engage with their local government in a way they've never had a chance to do so before," explains mayor Eckart Würzner in a video on the website.

Even if you don't have anything to say about helping Heidelberg, this adorable site is still fun to play with, helping it win the People's Choice Award in the SXSW innovation category.

4. SpiceVR - Spherie

SpiceVR, from Hamburg, has developed a "virtual reality drone" with a 360-degree camera called Spherie. The idea combines the concept of capturing stunning images in 3D with the accessibility that a flying drone allows. The startup calls the perspective viewers get the "Godview".

The drone design was a finalist in the Accelerator competition.

5. videmic

Also from Berlin, videmic became a finalist in the SXSW ReleaseIt awards, though it was beat out by a San Francisco intelligent sleep mask.

Videmic is developing an ad-hoc video app that makes it easy to create and share videos with friends - without using Wi-Fi, data or any internet at all. 

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6. DataLion

Out of Munich, DataLion offers a solution to spice up boring work presentations, claiming to bring "the power of data science to the masses".

It allows users to create complex and visually compelling charts or graphs from their own research.

7. Lofelt - Basslet

Voice of America - VOA asked us about the Basslet. And we did answer. #sxsw

Posted by Basslet on Monday, March 14, 2016

Another company from Berlin created a bracelet called Basslet that lets you feel the bass of the music you listen to "flowing through your body".

"Every beat, every bass note directly touches you - gives you an immersive, all-encompassing music experience," the company states on their website.

The wearable device works wirelessly with headphones and was named a finalist in the Accelerator competition.

SEE ALSO: Booming startups draw expats to Germany

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