Canadian companies converge at South by Southwest

There will be a place, the Maple Leaf Digital Lounge, for Canadian technology companies to mingle this year at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music and film interactive conference from March 12-13 in Austin, Texas.

The Maple Leaf Digital Lounge will be held during the interactive portion of SXSW, showcasing new commercial-ready technology. Most of the attending companies are smaller ones, using the chance to display their technologies to other companies and other conference attendees like potential investors. Canada is the only country to host a lounge at this event. The purpose of the lounge is to promote Canadian companies with innovation among media and technology audiences, according to Deborah Lewis.

“We’re trying to create a Canadian hub for the show,” Lewis said.

The lounge will feature live music and food to add to the lounge atmosphere.

Social networking sites like Twitter were launched at South by Southwest in previous years. This year, Karla Tolstoy hopes to do the same with a relationship management platform, Tokii. Tokii is an online place for couples to engage in games and other interactive tools to learn about one another, according Tolstoy. Tokii platform is supposed to help couples with their relationships by solving communication problems. Tokii representatives will be attending South by Southwest and the Maple Leaf Digital Lounge to try to gain some publicity for the platform, according to Tolstoy

“The Maple Leaf Digital Lounge (MLDL) is about promoting Canadian talent, and we at Tokii are proud to be Canadian,” Tolstoy said. “MLDL is a great opportunity to showcase our company alongside some other great Canadian startups. We celebrate the Canadian startup community and MLDL is a great chance to help that community grow.”

Other Canadian attendees include the creators of iStopOver Inc., a Web site allowing one to search for short-term accommodation, and Trendspottr, an online curating service allowing people to track trends through Facebook and Twitter.

“We’re sponsoring the accommodation, we have great accommodation,” said Anthony Lipschitz, the CEO of iStopOver. “We want to get involved with and help other start-ups.”

A pre-party will be held for the Toronto-based digital technology attendants of South by Southwest, hosted by the Maple Leaf Digital Lounge, Feb. 17, at 6:30 p.m. at the Buffalo Bills Bar & Grill on the third floor of London Tap House.

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