Is SXSW losing it's edge? Some of the top SXSW parties this year were hosted by major institutions such as McDonald's and Goldman Sachs. Maybe this is a sign of recognition by the incumbents? Startups are scaling and disrupting faster than ever before and large institutions are taking notice.
“People think you have to be a Snapchat or Uber to work with Goldman Sachs. They just want to seem more accessible to earlier-stage companies,” a venture investor in attendance told me. Which makes perfect sense. Tech startups grow to unicorn size faster than ever. (Take Slack, which took just eight months to hit a $1 billion valuation.) Even Uber and Snapchat, which are worth a respective $41.2 billion and $15 billion, are young companies. The earlier in a startup’s life that a bank like Goldman can buddy up to the next unicorn, the better its odds of being chosen to offer, say, a large debt placement to its high net worth clients (as Goldman recently did with Uber). With startups staying private longer than ever, more investors want to get in on that growth before they go public.