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The weather's looking pretty gray from we're sitting and y'all out west make sure you're keeping dry. But don't worry, the Beat is here to help brighten your day.

And don't forget, the first presidential debate is happening tonight on all major channels, except for ESPN where the Saints and Falcons are playing. Get your shot glasses ready...

Billy: While SXSW has long been synonymous with Austin, Washington DC's getting in on the game by hosting SXSL (South by South Lawn) on October 3rd. The lineup was announced today and of course President Obama will be at the one in his backyard, making him two for two on Southby's in 2016. In addition will be Leo DiCaprio and my favorite artist James Turrell (check out one of his works at UT). There's also going to be the directors and cast of Stranger Things in attendance.

But Brent, aside from all the name-dropping, what else do we need to know about SXSW's northern export?

Brent: SXSW probably didn't need another validation point, especially after Obama's visit earlier this year. But, hey, it feels good to be mimicked, and the White House event amplifies how important creative and tech communities are to the country's future.

So far, however, we don't see many Austin names in the mix. There are a few tech founders -- Slack's Stewart Butterfield, EpiBone's Nina Tandon and DAQRI's Brian Mullins. But nothing on the initial lineup that includes the local community. That said, Capital Factory Founder Joshua Baer tweeted over the weekend that he'll be representing Austin at SXSL. If the White House is following SXSW's model, we'll see a few more surprises emerge before and during the Oct. 3 festival.


Billy: "President Obama’s keynote at SXSW 2016 put the importance of community-focused innovation at the forefront of both our event and the conversation around the country. We feel excited and privileged to help the White House continue to spread this message via South by South Lawn on October 3," said Hugh Forrest, SXSW Chief of Programming.

Billy: As much as I prefer them, Irish exits aren't the best way to let your friends know you've left the bar, or more importantly gotten home. And when you're hanging out with a bunch of new friends or in a big group, that one person missing can either be an Irish exit, or worse. And the latter category is why bthere, a new app that launched today, exists.

bthere gives users the ability to create different circles of friends so they can keep track of each other throughout the night to ensure everyone's safe. Also the app has what will be the most-used feature by my friends and notifies your friends when your battery hits 10% so they can figure out how to get to you soon, or finally be rid of you for good (also, my friends).

Brent: The trick with this will be user adoption. Everybody has to get on the same page and download it before cracking that third beer.

Two more moves on the radar.

WP Engine announced it will open a technical support and innovation centre in Limerick, Ireland and hire 100 people in the next three years. The company, which powers loads of the WordPress sites we visit each day, opened an office in London in 2015. The company says its customer base has doubled since then.

WP Engine, which was one of our coolest company winners, is just the latest part of the booming tech scene in Ireland. The nation's lower tax rates save big tech companies, including Dell Technologies, Indeed and almost every other major tech company you can think of, a ton of money. But now that Ireland is trying to force Apple to pay billions in retro-active taxes, the industry is watching anxiously to see if other tech companies will be affected. On a related note, Ireland is the only European country that has a consulate office in Austin, and they're active at local tech events. 

And, we missed this move last week: Dropoff, the Austin-based B2B courier service, has continued its expansion in Florida by adding service in Orlando and Tampa. You might recall they launched in Miami and Fort Lauderdale in August. 

NEW MONEY


BrentCollabIP, Inc., the Austin-based maker of Tethr, raised $7.9M of a planned $9.2M round, a new federal filing shows. That follows a $1M round in 2013 and a $1.4M round in 2014. CollabIP's Tethr product is an intelligent software platform that listens to phone conversations, transcribes them and analyzes them to help you draw new insights. And it can integrate that data with Salesforce and other software.
 

Brent: There's a little more buzz around a statewide Uber law. Republican State Sen. Charles Schwertner, of Georgetown, reiterated his goal for statewide ride-hailing regulations at Texas Tribune Fest over the weekend, the Statesman reported. If approved, that could override Austin's regulations, which require a fingerprint-based background check and scared off Uber and Lyft earlier this year.

Billy: I had a meeting with a source last week that said there's a state bill pretty much ready to go through in early 2017 that establishes state-wide ride-hailing regulations, similar to what passed in Ohio. Keep in mind, this is unsubstantiated, but from a trustworthy and connected individual.

Brent: Never trust anyone who says they can predict a state legislature. Weathermen and palm readers have better track records.

But you can trust in this: The next phase of our Smart Spaces meet ups is going to be a blast. We'll be touring HomeAway's downtown offices and learning how the home-grown unicorn is reducing its footprint with smart building design and keeping it interesting with office design decisions. Once your mind is fed, we'll wander a block down to the Tiniest Bar in Texas and hang out at the open bar.

Now, let me stress, this event is extremely limited due to the nature of taking a group of people through a corporate office. Only 18 spots are available. So give it a look right now

Brent: One of the weird things about Austin is it's an exceptionally open-minded and innovative town, which is also home to one of the nation's most conservative and widely-observed state legislatures. And, while we noted they may be on the side of Uber and Lyft with statewide ride-hailing regs, lawmakers might have to face off with the tech industry over possible regulations for on-demand food delivery services, such as Favor, UberEATS and GrubHub.

The Houston Business Journal reported Kenneth Besserman, a lawyer for the Texas Restaurant Association, said the TRA has been talking with restaurateurs and delivery services for new legislation. It'd likely focus on food handling and who is to blame if a meal gets someone sick or fails some kind of inspection. And it would also look to prevent delivery companies from using proprietary menus in their apps.

For me, soggy fries has been the worst of it. But the city is keeping an eye on it and sent letters out to on-demand food delivery services warning them earlier this year they have to comply with local and state laws. I think this is primarily a problem for companies that send drivers out with a bunch of meals, thereby spending more time on the road letting food cool to unsafe temps. Nimble Foods, which has closed down, was the only one I know operating that way in Austin. 

Billy: Since we're talking about state-wide legislation, let's also keep in mind that there's going to be a potty bill coming down the pipe next year. How that affects AppleGoogle and other large employers in Texas a la North Carolina and HB2, we'll have to see. Whatever happens though, it's sure to be messy.

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