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Texas ECE Student and Alum Startup Named Finalist for SXSW Pitch


As South by Southwest (SXSW) Pitch returns for its 16th iteration, this year’s finalists include a pair of Longhorn-run startups.

The annual event, which has become a staple of SXSW, showcases rising startup technologies from around the world, as companies pitch their latest cutting-edge ideas across eight categories. The Student Startup category features two companies spearheaded by brilliant students from The University of Texas at Austin. MACH Transit and Paradigm Robotics  have each come up with innovative solutions to address some unique needs within different technology sectors.

Paradigm Robotics aims to develop new technologies to better protect those working in firefighting, disaster response and manufacturing industries. One such technology the team has developed is the FireBot, an unmanned ground vehicle that can be deployed into burning buildings, in place of firefighters, for rescue operations.

“It’s such an honor to be selected as a finalist and it’s a testament to the work being carried out by our incredible team and technical partners,” said Jimmy Mahon, chief operating officer for Paradigm Robotics and a 2023 graduate of UT’s electrical and computer engineering program. “The core of our vision is serving the needs of firefighters through innovation, and we’re hungrier than ever to prove that FireBot represents a generational leap in firefighting technology. With FireBot V4 rolling out in the coming months, we look forward to showing the world what it means for a robot to be ‘forged by flames.’”

Siddarth Thakur started at Texas ECE in Fall 2021 and is the founder and CEO of Paradigm Robotics. James Mahon IV received his BS in Computer Engineering from Texas ECE in May 2023 and serves as the Chief Operating Officer.

All SXSW Pitch finalists will showcase their innovations during the first weekend of SXSW, March 9-10, at the Hilton Hotel – Salon DE (4th Floor) at 535 East 5th Street.