Vote Bloom, Dwolla, Hatchlings or SkyVu for Consumer Startup of the Year
Half of the finalists for Consumer Startup of the Year are gaming companies, but the four companies' performances over the past year suggest none of them were playing around.
At our inaugural Silicon Prairie Awards event on Aug. 30, one these four finalists will be crowned Consumer Startup of the Year. In anticipation of that celebration, we're providing overviews of the four contenders for each of our 12 Silicon Prairie Awards. The finalists — 48 in all — are the result of public nominations in July and input from our selection committee earlier this month.
A public vote will help determine the winners of the awards, so cast your ballot for the Consumer Startup of the Year below, or visit the awards page to vote on all 12 categories.
Join us for the Silicon Prairie Awards: We have a fun night of community celebration planned for Aug. 30 at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha. Tickets still remain for the event, which includes an opening reception, keynote talk by TechStars founder and CEO David Cohen, awards ceremony and a closing party. Purchase your tickets today.
Meet the finalists
The Consumer Startup of the Year hit milestones, evolved and might have even surprised a few people in a year of notable growth and advancements. (Italicized company descriptions below from company websites.)
Bloom is the world's leading social beauty network where you can discover your favorite looks, products and professionals. (Omaha)
Bloom kicked things off in August with its national launch, and less than six months later it was on the verge of surpassing the 100,000-member mark. Bloom credited its growth to its Facebook following and recognition it received from beauty publications, such as being named on InStyle's "Best of the Web 2011" list. In April, Bloom closed a $5.4 million Series A round led by Capricorn Investment Group, which said one reason for its interest in the startup was because no one yet owns the online beauty space. Press included profiles of the startup's founder by CNN Money and the Financial Times, along with a look at Bloom in a New York Times story. (More: Bloom on SPN.)
Dwolla empowers anyone with an internet connection to safely send money to friends or businesses. (Des Moines)
Dwolla's past year can be summed up with four Ms: milestones, money and media mentions. Milestones: In July 2011, Dwolla passed $1 million in transaction per day. In the months following, Dwolla released features – Proxi and Instant – and held meetups that packed bars in Des Moines. Money: In February 2012, Dwolla closed a $5 million Series B round led by Union Square Ventures, and included participation Ashton Kutcher. Media Mentions: From Fast Company's list of the world's most innovative companies to a Bloomberg TV appearance, Dwolla was covered and recognized non-stop. (More: Dwolla "In the News," on SPN.)
The world's largest Easter egg hunt. (Des Moines)
The past year marked a "re-startup phase" for the four-year-old Hatchlings, which in early 2012 released a private beta of its overhauled second version, Hatchlings 2. By the end of June, it was preparing for its July 1 public release. The new version moved the game off Facebook's website – where it attracted 3.5 million users – to its own domain. In April, the starutp received a flood of attention, though it wasn't on account of its product. After Hatchlings' founder blogged about his company's troubles with Google, multiple outlets shed positive light on the virtual Easter egg hunt. (More: Hatchlings on SPN.)
With over 18 million app downloads and a portfolio of award-winning mobile games, SkyVu is one of the leading mobile game developers in the world. (Omaha)
SkyVu Entertainment, the startup behind Battle Bears, opened the past year by announcing a new milestone – 11 million downloads – and a releasing a new game. That news coincided with a visit to ComicCon, where SkyVu sold out of its merchandise and landed an interview on G4's Attack of the Show. In December, the company released its first multiplayer game, boosting itself to more downloads, press mentions and recognition. In February, SkyVu was named one of PocketGamer.biz's Top 50 developers, and in April it received the AIM Institute's Innovator of the Year award. By the end of June, the download total for SkyVu games had climbed to about 17 million. (More: SkyVu press, on SPN.)
Thanks to sponsors that are making this inaugural event a reality: Bellevue University, Hudl, Centennial Bank, Lightbank, West Corporation, Koley - Jessen, Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Verizon Wireless, University of Nebraska and our Startup Alley participants. To learn about more opportunities, contact email@example.com.