- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
I tell ya, that Elmo guy sure does get around. First he creates a monster iPhone app and now he (along with the whole Sesame Street) has partnered with Israeli-based Aniboom to create an animation contest. The animations are targeting pre-school age children.
Each category winner will win $5,000 and the top winner receives an additional $5,000. The winners will also be considered for development deals post-contest. The contest award categories include:
- school readiness videos
- pro-social (no, not Facebook but actually helping kids go outside and meet other people)
- Open category they call “Sky’s the Limit”
- Community favorite
The entry period runs from March 1 through April 26, 2010. I was hoping that the Sesame Street characters (e.g. Cookie, Big Bird, etc.) could be used in the animations but sadly my hopes were quickly dissolved when I read the official rules which states, “Do not animate existing Sesame Street characters or you will be disqualified.” After many years managing icons like the SS characters, I get the corporate fear of allowing people to play with the icons but c’mon. This is 2010, you can let the animators have a stock set of icons and parts to work with. Maybe the post-contest development deals will allow for icon animation.
Continue reading “Aniboom and Sesame Street Partner on Animation Contest” »
Here are the NYC-based companies on the list (in alpha order):
Most of the companies are headquartered on the East Coast! Go checkout all of the listed companies and then vote for a NYC-based company.
It seems nearly every startup I talk to is using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Either S3 for storage, EC2 for processing or one of the other options. Here at CN we use S3 for storage of nearly all static files.
Today Amazon has announced their third annual “Startup Challenge” which offers startups that are using AWS a chance to win a variety of prizes and service credits. Startups in United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Israel are eligible to enter and the entry period ends on August 25th. Also, startups must have earned no more than $5 million in annual revenue and/or raised more than $5 million in venture capital funding.
The top prize is $50,000 in cash, $50,000 in Amazon Web Services (AWS) credits, mentoring sessions from an AWS technical expert, and premium gold support for one year. There are a variety of other winners as well.
What’s great about the Startup Challenge is that unlike many startup contests, it doesn’t appear that Amazon is taking any equity for the prize amounts (of course you should check the rules to verify). My take is simple – if you use AWS in any form, submit your entry because, at a minimum, you get a $25 credit (which for CN is like 6 mos free service).
This month we announced a giveaway for an Apple iPod Shuffle. We just picked the winner and they have been notified. Apologies if you didn’t receive a winning email but thanks for sending in all of the links to other blogs you read and enjoy.
I’ve put together a list of some of the submitted blogs – I hope you find some new blogs to enjoy - I know I have.
- Chip Chick
- Vintage Indie
- Crooks and Liars
- Right Wing News
- Dumb Little Man
- hilife 2b
- Gear Patrol
- LoHud Yankees Blog
- Debt Free Adventures
- Boston Dirt Dogs
- very short list
- pretty much amazing
- Pop Candy
- Food Wishes
- Not Always Right
- About Harvest
- Accidental Mommies
- Cider Press Hill
- The Wander Girl
- Workin on my Fitness
- Gotham Gal
- I Heart Talk Radio
- Let’s Be Friends
- Recipe Star
- Carrie Jones
- Bad PR Pitches
- The Energy Collective
- CollegeWeb Guy
- Sandruck Family Blog
- Bank Deals
- Dark Roasted Blend
- Girl on the Brink
- Appon’s Thai Food
- Wormtown Taxi
- Positivity Blog
- Dumb Little Man
Martyn Williams has an interesting look at the Japanese mobile content market. He notes that for the calendar year 2007, more than $100 billion was spent on mobile content. The total was actually $107.5 billion and includes items such as ring tones, Web site subscriptions and e-commerce purchases. E-commerce made up about 65% of the total amount spent and all sorts of transactions were handled including: movie and event ticket sales, travel reservations, air and rail ticket sales, stock trading and online auctions.
The biggest percentage gain came from "high-fidelity music" which increased 42% thanks to more mobile devices handling better quality sound. Mobile gaming jumped 13% as well.
Maybe the iPhone app store will push other countries to follow suit. While not mentioned in the article, I wonder what percentage of transactions took place via a QR code.
Just as I did with the Open Web Awards, here are my thoughts on the Crunchies awards. Here’s the info on voting. I found voting on the Crunchies more difficult than the Open Web Awards. Not sure exactly but it’s not easy to compare a company who has been alive for years versus a brand new company. It’d be great to get some clarification on the term "start-up" — does this mean this year or a startup from anytime? Check out Robert Scoble’s picks as well.
Just a note on voting for this contest and any other awards – consider a one vote per IP address limit. I understand all of the reasons why an awards show wants maximum votes but it reduces the chances that that smaller players will be able to be competitive.
As for the actual selected companies, there are a few that I could have guessed would be listed. On the flip side, for example, how’d Ribbit make it in considering they only launched on December 17?
Another brief note, I noticed on Twitter that Loic is disappointed that Seesmic wasn’t one of the finalists. Mike Arrington noted in a Seesmic video (about 1:20 in) that he removed any of his investments from grabbing a finalist slot. This is a good idea — perhaps he should list which of his investments made it but were removed – that might clear up some of the confusion.
Here are my selections and comments and CONGRATS! to all the finalists.
Best Technology Innovation
- Nominees: Earthmine, Like, Move Networks, Twine, Viewdle
- My Selection: None – don’t know enough about these companies
Best Bootstrapped Startup
- Nominees: FriendFeed, PoliticalBase, ProductWiki, Techmeme, UpNext
- My Selection: UpNext
- Comments: I only know FriendFeed, PoliticalBase from my research today. I did a tiny bit of consulting for ProductWiki and really like where they are headed but can’t vote for them based on the work. Techmeme and UpNext could both have received my vote, I went with UpNext because it’s NYC based. Like what both companies are doing though.
Best new gadget/device
- Nominees: iPhone, Kindle, Ooma, Pleo, Wii
- My Selection: iPhone
- Comments: I didn’t vote Wii as this category says 2007, wasn’t Wii 2006? Kindle been bashed 20 ways to Sunday, Ooma I’ve heard nothing about except on Techcrunch and Pleo I don’t know anything about. While it seems like the iPhone was left, it still was the strongest of the bunch. Did people actually vote for Ooma when they just shipped about 1 month ago?
Best business model
- Nominees: Glam Media, Imeem, Prosper, Weatherbill, Zazzle
- My Selection: None
- Comments: Glam Media = blog network, Imeem = no idea, Prosper = love social lending but the others in the category are just as strong, Weatherbill = innovative but not enough to get a vote, Zazzle = print stuff with your picture on it?
- Nominees: Etsy, Jackson Fish Market, Netvibes, SmugMug, Songza
- My Selection: SmugMug
- Comments: Not really sure what I am voting for here. The category says "best user-interface design" so I went with that. Jackson Fish Market is a web shop – should one of their products have been the entry?
Best enterprise start-up
- Nominees: 37Signals, Attributor, EditGrid, Ribbit, Zoho
- My Selection: None
- Comments: Would have voted for Zoho but can’t vote for a CN advertiser. Ribbit – how’d they get in, they launched on December 17? 37Signals isn’t really a start-up anymore. The others I don’t know enough to comment on.
Best consumer start-up
- Nominees: 1800-FREE-411, 23andMe, LinkedIn, Meebo, Zillow
- My Selection: Meebo
- Comments: Meebo has been going from strength to strength and deserves the vote. Zillow came in a very close second. LinkedIn isn’t a startup, 23andMe is pretty revolutionary, 1800-FREE-411 was big at year’s begin but not as much now.
Best mobile start-up
- Nominees: AdMob, Fring, Loopt, Shozu, Twitter
- My Selection: None
- Comments: I don’t know enough about these companies outside of Twitter (which I don’t use on the Mobile) to vote.
Best international start-up
- Nominees: Atlassian, Gizmoz, MusicShake, Netvibes, Openads
- My Selection: MusicShake
- Comments: MusicShake kicked ass at the TC40 and should have won and they get my vote. Netvibes is a great service but isn’t a startup, Openads I’ve heard is buggy, Gizmoz is fun but not as fun as MusicShake.
Best user-generated content site
- Nominees: Digg, Facebook, Geni, Instructables, Yelp
- My Selection: Yelp
- Comments: Digg and Geni aren’t UGC, not voting for Facebook, and Instructables is great but I use Yelp it seems daily.
Best video site
- Nominees: Aniboom, Hulu, Joost, Justin.tv, Tokbox
- My Selection: Hulu
- Comments: Hulu is a game changer, Aniboom would have been my next choice. Justin.tv LOLZ, Tokbox is ok, in my early trials I found it buggy.
Best clean start-up
- Nominees: A123Systems, Ausra, Gridpoint, NanoSolar, Tesla Motors
- My Selection: None
- Comments: I don’t know enough about these companies to vote.
Best use of viral marketing
- Nominees: Flixster, iLike, iminlikewithyou, RockYou, StumbleUpon
- My Selection: StumbleUpon
- Comments: StumbleUpon is awesome. The others are good as well but StumbleUpon sits above them.
Best time sink site
- Nominees: College Humor, Duels, Kdice, Kongregate, Pandora
- My Selection: Kongregate
- Comments: All good time wasters – interesting that iminlikewithyou didn’t make the cut here
Most likely to make the world a better place
- Nominees: Causes, DonorsChoose, ZeroFootprint, Kiva, One Laptop Per Child
- My Selection: Kiva
- Comments: I am going with the online vote here. Met ZeroFootprint when they sponsored TC40 and it seemed interesting, but not as strong online as Kiva. One Laptop Per Child will probably win in 2008.
Most likely to succeed
- Nominees: Kayak, Mint, Slide, WordPress, Zivity
- My Selection: Kayak
- Comments: Kayak is a strong player here and out of this group has the most chance to succeed. WordPress is too old to consider in this category, Zivity is a closed beta, you already know my thoughts on Mint.
Best start-up founder
- Nominees: Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Max Levchin (Slide), Kevin Rose (Digg), Evan Williams (Twitter), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
- My Selection: none
- Comments: None of these are startups in 2007. If it’s of all time, then Mark or Reid would be my vote.
Best start-up CEO
- Nominees: Gina Bianchini (Ning), Dick Costolo (Feedburner), Toni Schneider (WordPress), Rob Solomon (Sidestep), Lance Takoda (RockYou)
- My Selection: Ning/Gina Bianchini
- Comments: Gina has built a strong company – one could argue that Mark is the marketer behind the growth but nevertheless it’s a company that comes up in conversation weekly. The others are not from 2007.
Best new start-up of 2007
- Nominees: Hulu, iMedix, Joost, Ribbit, Tumblr
- My Selection: Hulu
- Comments: Each of them are strong and my vote could have went to any of them. I like Tumblr a lot along with iMedix but my guess is, unfortunately, neither will win without the massive budgets of Joost and Hulu.
- Nominees: Digg, Facebook, GrandCentral, Twitter, Zillow
- My Selection: GrandCentral
- Comments: GrandCentral is a huge game changer. Twiiter I could take or leave, Digg and Facebook are both massive and offer huge benefits but GrandCentral hits the pocketbook for most people so that’s why they get the nod. Zillow will get the win in 2008.
There’s my selections, who are your picks for the Crunchies Award Winners?
Dogster CEO Ted Rheingold was the first CN interview I conducted just over a year ago. I was impressed from the first minute I met him both on his business acumen but also with his strategic visions. I can only imagine what he was thinking as he was coming to meet a no-name, new, no traffic blogger :)
Today, Ted sent over some very impressive stats about Dogster and Catster:
- Over 17.5 million distinct friend-to-friend connections have been made
- Over 3 million photos have been uploaded
- Over 20 thousand videos have been uploaded (video only started this year)
- Over 10.8 thousand member-established and -driven groups have been created
- There are over 100,000 locales now in our dog and cat friendly Local Listings
- There are over 4,000 adoptable pets available on the site right now.
They also launched the 2007 version of their coolest pet contest. I wonder if any cats will be twitter’in about their entries. Check out the contest details.
The reason for their success is (at least) three things: a passionate team of employees who are actively involved with the site community, a leader who is active in the tech community, and a fun, active, affluent community. Dogster is like the Yelp of dogs. Some startups have one or maybe two characteristics, but all three is a huge step towards profitability and long-term growth. Of course I would like to belive the real growth happened after our interview. :-P