AUSTIN, Tx. (KMOX) – The 12-hour bus ride from St. Louis to Austin, Texas was a little nerve-wracking for Ryan Brennell. Just as the sun was rising he checked his laptop and sighed relief — his website had officially launched.
Now, task number two: to make it a success.
He hopes his trek to the South by Southwest festival will help to that end. He calls it “the place where dreams come true”
His start-up is called Gladitood and it’s in what he calls the “voluntourism” business. It connects those wanting to volunteer and travel with groups needing such assistance.
“We help humanitarian and conservation projects raise funds and rally volunteers,” he said. “So people like you and me could find really cool volunteer opportunities abroad.”
Brennell was one of two entrepreneurs to win a free trip, including festival badge, through a video contest by Startup Missouri.
South by Southwest (a.k.a. SXSW) is better known by many for its music festival, but it’s where Twitter, Foursquare, and St. Louis’ own Bonfyre first gained widespread notoriety.
“My parents, who are kids of the 60s, described it as the modern-day Woodstock,” Brennell joked. “I can only hope its that good.”