Let’s face it: SXSW is a big, hot mess.

Sure, anything that people like to call “Spring Break for nerds” is all right by us. But if you’re a startup trying to stand out in that crowd, good luck.

Well, VentureBeat has one way to help you cut through the noise: Enter our second annual WinSXSW Contest. (Update: We’ve renamed it Win in 30 Seconds, because we want to make it extra clear that this is not an official SXSW-sponsored event.)

This is the second year VentureBeat and Buzzstarter have teamed up for the competition. Last year, we interviewed 129 companies, generating over 1.5 million views within a week for these startups. This year, it will be even bigger and better.

All you have to do is give us 30 seconds of your time. But these have to be the most awesome, on-point 30 seconds of your life. Imagine you’re in an elevator with investor Dave McClure and you’ve got to pitch him on your startup before the doors open or he starts swearing at you.

If you win the top prize, you’ll get to pitch McClure himself and get a chance at a $50,000 investment from 500 Startups.

In addition, the winners in more than 10 categories will receive prizes offered by our many sponsors, as well as meetings with 20+ leading investors and brand managers on our judging panel. In all, there are more than $100,000 in prizes.

VentureBeat will also pick an “editor’s choice” winner, whom we’ll invite to brief the editorial team at our headquarters in San Francisco or New York, leading to coverage right here on VentureBeat.

Check out the full details and instructions at Win30s.co. For a short overview, watch this lovely video starring yours truly, or read on.

There are two ways to enter:

  1. We’ll have a video crew roaming around SXSW shooting 30-second interviews. Find the team (follow @venturebeat, @winsxsw, and @buzzstarter to see where we are), and connect with us for a 30-second video pitch session with a VentureBeat journalist or Buzzstarter staff member. We’ll upload your video to WinSXSW to be voted.
  2. Submit your startup through Win30s.co. We highly recomment including a video link to either an elevator pitch or a product demo. Startups with videos are much more likely to win.

The competition runs from the start of SXSW Interactive on March 7 and ends on Friday, March 14. Fans can vote for their favorite startups starting March 8. We’ll announce daily winners during SXSW on the WinSXSW site and on VentureBeat. Other category winners and the overall winner will be announced on Friday, March 21.

So get your pitches ready. We’ll see you in Austin!

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