AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The South by Southwest Interactive Festival today announced the finalists for the fifth annual SXSW Accelerator competition, taking place March 11 - 13, 2013. The marquee event of the SXSW Interactive Festival's Startup Village, SXSW Accelerator provides a venue for startups to showcase some of the most impressive new technology innovations to a panel of hand-picked judges, made up of industry experts, early adopters, journalists and representatives from the venture capital/angel community. Since its inception, SXSW Accelerator finalists have received more than $427 million in total venture funding. Of the over five hundred applications received, this year's 56 finalists were chosen across seven categories, including: Innovative Web Technologies; Social Technologies; Entertainment and Gaming Technologies; Mobile Technologies; Health Technologies; News Technologies, and Music Technologies. SXSW Category Sponsors include IBM, Social Technology Category Sponsor; Turner Entertainment, Entertainment & Gaming Technology Category Sponsor; and Rackspace, Innovative Web Category Sponsor. On March 11th, 48 finalists will pitch their innovations in front of a live audience for the opportunity to be one of the top 18 companies invited back to the stage on March 12th, when the winners will be announced that afternoon. The SXSW Music Accelerator follows on March 13th with a full day of programming in which eight music technology finalists will present their products or services. "Some truly ground-breaking and disruptive companies once stood where this year's 56 SXSW Accelerator finalists will pitch to venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and press," said SXSW Accelerator Event Producer, Chris Valentine. "The bar has been set quite high - 47 percent of previous finalists have received funding, and 10 percent have been acquired. I am confident that this year's SXSW Accelerator finalists will bring equally exceptional and unique products and services to the table, with high potential to impact their respective industries." The winners will receive premium prize packages including two Interactive badges for the 2014 SXSW Interactive event, various SXSW Accelerator sponsor gifts and, most importantly, the opportunity to receive exposure from the SXSW audience seeking out the latest in cutting-edge technology.