San Francisco has been packed full of tech startups, products, services, and gifted entrepreneurs all week so far. How is that any different from a normal day in the Bay Area? It’s different because LAUNCH Festival was happening.
LAUNCH.co’s annual event brought in 50 different companies to launch their venture on stage in front of over 5,000 people. And the grand jury, a faction of seasoned entrepreneurs, stood by for three days to judge them all.
All of the awards and investments given by LAUNCH are in the spirit of celebrating and inspiring entrepreneurship. The overall winner of the competition won a $200,000 investment from the LAUNCH Fund while the other winners got the guarantee of a future investment.
Jason Calacanis hosted, and he was more than proud to announce the startup winners across nine different categories:
- The Alpha Award – AirDroids: They created the Pocket Drone, a personal flying robot that goes wherever you go.
- Best Design Award – Dattch: A dating app made by lesbians for lesbians.
- Best Technical Achievement – Cstm: A software tool that combines parametric modeling with augmented reality.
- Best Social Enterprise – HandUp: They’ve created a new way to donate directly to homeless people in the US.
- Best New Hardware – Adaptics: They designed Drop, an iPad connected kitchen scale that makes perfect baking easy.
- Best Enterprise Hardware – Density: A sensor device that, once plugged into an outlet, will immediately count the number of people in a room.
- Best Enterprise – Knox: A platform to process online payments in 30 seconds or less.
- Best 2.0 Company – Credible: A way for graduates to switch lenders and save on their student loans.
- Winner of LAUNCH Festival 2014 – Connect: They built a living address book that maps your connections from social networks.
Calancis also announced the winners of the hackathon:
- First Place – Vue: A platform to understand and engage the people using your app.
- Second Place – Blush: An app that combines text and video to change the way we message each other.
- Third Place – Ripple: A platform to spread ideas.
Ice House, a global design and development agency offered $50,000 worth of one of their developer’s time to build an entrepreneur’s dream app. Out of 250 submissions they chose:
- Flyr: They work to provide a better travel experience via data science that’s packaged in the form of apps for travelers.
In addition to all the fanfare and festivities there were a few exciting surprises.
- LAUNCH invested $25,000 in Mark Pesce’s company, Moores Cloud.
- Barracuda awarded a bonus investment of $25,000 to Blush.