Vote Dwolla, Hudl, MindMixer or RareWire for Startup of the Year
At our inaugural Silicon Prairie Awards event on Aug. 30, one those four finalists will be crowned Startup of the Year. In anticipation of that celebration, we're providing overviews of the four contenders for each award. 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 New 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 Startup of the Year is the startup everyone was talking about. The one that made marked progress towards solidifying its success, having an all-around banner year. (Italicized company descriptions below from company websites.)
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.)
Online video analysis and coaching tools that help teams at all levels, from youth to the NFL, win. (Lincoln, Neb.)
Hudl closed the past year like it opened it, purchasing its largest competitor in the high school football market. With that dominance, it became the subject of feature stories across the U.S., such as one in a South Carolina paper: "Coaches going hi-tech with film study these days". Its coaches roster extended to the NHL and NBA, as well, as Hudl added the Redwings, Senators and Pacers. And it gave each of its clients new tools, releasing an iPhone and Android app. (More: Hudl blog, on SPN.)
MindMixer is an engagement tool that enables your community to become contributors. (Omaha)
MindMixer topped off its past year's progress when it learned in June that it had been accepted into Code for America's inaugural accelerator. The "virtual town hall" brings to the accelerator a list of more than 200 clients, which include cities, school districts, universities and politicians. Originally launched to serve cities, it added the latter three verticals this past year. With those verticals in mind, it closed a $1.9 million seed round in April, an announcement that coincided with the launch of a MindMixer site for the city of San Francisco. (More: MindMixer press, on SPN.)
A one-of-a-kind App creation and delivery engine built to simplify your mobile development process. (Kansas City, Mo.)
RareWire made itself known in the mobile app universe in July 2011 as the maker of The Atlantic's iPad app, which went on to win two Appy Awards. RareWire has since turned the magic behind its app-making over to its clients with the private beta release of its App Creation Studio. Press mentions included a timely app for the All-Star Game in Kansas City and news in March that RareWire plans to create 40 new jobs over the next five years. (More: RareWire 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.