South by Southwest is an annual technology, film, and music conference in Austin, Texas. It's in full swing right now; tens of thousands of investors, entrepreneurs, writers, and early adopters have flown south to catch a glimpse of the Next Big Thing.
In previous years, Foursquare, Twitter, and Skype-owned GroupMe broke out during the conference. Each gave conference goers a better way to communicate and find friends during their time in Austin.
This year, the break out app seems to be Tinder, and it was already up-and-coming before the conference.
No one is using it in Austin, but everyone is talking about the Hot-or-Not dating app, from Ashton Kutcher to Path's Dave Morin.
We've even heard extremely bullish investors describe it as "the next Facebook."
Others think Tinder is a fleeting fad, like Chat Roulette was, but they're still fascinated by it. A group of investors we ate with Saturday talked about it over dinner. All admitted to using it and loving it.
What's amazing is that Tinder hasn't had a physical presence at South by Southwest at all. Its co-founder is speaking Tuesday at one of the smaller conference venues, but the startup hasn't thrown any outrageous parties or done anything to attract attention.
Tinder is a simple dating app that anonymously finds out who thinks you're attractive nearby. If you happen to think the other person is good looking too, it offers an intro. If not, the person never knows you weren't a fan. Before we left for South by Southwest a venture capital warned us: "Tinder is one of the most sought after deals right now."
It seems like that person was right. Profiles have been rated more than 1.5 billion times on the app.
We polled a few other people to see what startups were getting a lot of use at South by Southwest. Investor David Tisch told us about one of his portfolio companies, Splash. Splash has been used by companies instead of Eventbrite to throw parties and track RSVPs in Austin. Instead of just collecting ticket sales, Splash allows you to make an entire event website quickly.
Others are using old South by Southwest favorites GroupMe, Foursquare, and Highlight.
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