Before he arrived in Austin, O'Neal and Tout joined up for a "Pitch Shaq" contest in which they invited registered SXSW attendees to submit 15-second elevator pitches about their startups. The winner was promised a personal audience with Shaq and possibly an infusion of his cash.
At the close of his remarks Monday, Shaq said he had viewed more than 150 pitches and had chosen two winners: Beam, which makes a mobile videoconferencing device that rolls around on wheels like a Segway; and Speakerfy, a social-sound app that lets you wirelessly sync music between different Apple mobile devices.
Both startups, when contacted by CNN at their booths inside the Austin Convention Center, were pleasantly stunned by the news.
But they don't need Shaq's money.
"We're very flattered. I'd love to figure out how Shaq could use (our device) in his business," said Scott Hassan, CEO of Beam. "We're not really looking for funding right now. We're well funded. But if he really wants to, we could probably work something out."
"We're very excited, don't get me wrong. We would love to do anything with Shaq. We want his advice," said Austin Wright, vice president of operations for Speakerfy.
"But we're good, funding-wise,"he said. "That's awkward. Do we tell Shaq no?"