Every once in a while you know you have a great idea, but the time may not be right. It could be something you share in a proposal, or suggest to a friend, or bounce off a few colleagues. You know it's good, but no one quite knows how it could work or when they could do it. That was the case with the latest global award the TechTrailBlazers.
The brainchild of Rose Ross, chief trailblazer at the Tech Trailblazers Awards, Rose was kind enough to spend a few minutes ahead of what is sure to be a very busy timeframe spearheading the Awards, along with all her other personal and professional responsibilities. Thankfully she was getting ready to head out and enjoy some well deserved time off to help recharge the batteries and prepare for the busy fall and the success the TechTrailBlazers Awards are sure to be.
In a nutshell, The TechTrailblazers Awards are a way to recognize the great work being done by startups and qualified emerging companies in enterprise IT. While there are other awards efforts that factor in the success of entrepreneurs and innovators, there are few that take a global approach and specifically only look at enterprise tech. The awards themselves focus on nine areas: big data, cloud, infosecurity, mobile, networking, storage, sustainable IT, emerging markets and virtualization.
To qualify entrants must be "enterprise tech startups that are less than five years old (based on the time the company was founded) and privately funded or at C-series funding or below are eligible." A full FAQ on the awards themselves can be found here. There are two deadlines for the awards. The first, an early bird deadline of August 17th at 11:59 pm PDT provides entrants a reduced rate. The second deadline falls on September 12th at 11:59 pm PDT. As Rose mentioned, there have already been several submissions, and she anticipates more will take advantage of the early bird deadline.
While the awards are new, there are several things going for them. Entrants and ultimately winners are afforded several cool opportunities. Both winners and entrants will be part of the TechTrailblazers Awards prize fund, projected to be worth an excess of $1m. The fund supported by sponsors and industry partners includes MIT/Stanford Venture Lab, the Cloud Security Alliance, Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), Prezi, StartupAmerica, RealWire, Lissted, Launchpad Europe, MyNewsDesk, and ExecEvent.
Additionally, everyone gets a goodie bag, which as Rose noted, includes a three month trial subscription to MyNewsDesk, valued at $1,500. MyNewsDesk, a Scandanavian company that operates as a virtual press office, is very well set up to support PR, marketing and SEO initiatives. Rose mentioned the company has a good presence in the UK as well as APAC and Singapore, and can really help with targeted outreach to focused media and influencers.
Lastly, the list of judges is a "Who's Who" of enterprise tech, spanning the investment community to industry analysts to media, bloggers and senior executives at companies like VMware to name a few. And the list keeps growing. As Rose mentioned, they added Vanessa Alvarez just this week.
It's no surprise the TechTrailBlazers Awards are generting significant interest in the industry, and at this rate, could well be on their way to hitting the goal of 100 submissions per category. Which, if you do the math, makes the possibility of making the finalists list and/or winning within reach for the right company. Once submissions have closed, judges will select a shortlist of companies and then put the entrants to a public vote, beginning in mid-October. Plans are to announce winners on December 3rd. One aspect of the Awards I particularly liked was once the shortlist of entrants was decided, finalists will be asked to "provide additional information to their entries, including a short informative video about who they are and why they should win."
As Simon Robinson, a judge and Vice President, Research at 451 Research, said to me, "What really attracted me to the Tech Trail Blazers was its focus on highlighting innovation in IT. Innovation - especially from smaller startups -- is what drives this industry forward, and is what we are all about as an analyst firm. There's a bit of a jaded attitude towards industry award programs these days, but TechTrailBlazers freshens up the idea by harnessing with a more open and transparent process that fully embraces social media." It should come as no surprise then why he, Rose, and everyone associated with the Awards is excited to be a part of the effort.
For frequent updates, sign up for the newsletter, or follow on Twitter and LinkedIn. Keep an eye on Twitter in particular. Rose mentioned they'll be doing some contests in the weeks ahead and participants will have a chance to win one of a few coveted T-shirts. By the sounds of things, it will be one of the fashion "must haves" for the Summer!
Disclosure: Neither I, nor LPP, are involved in the Awards in any way other than as excited industry watchers. While I will be encouraging current qualified clients and friends to consider entering, I was under no obligation to write up my c0nversation with Rose Ross. I've known Rose for a while, and while I cherish a really cool bottle opener she gave me a while back, I received nothing in return for this blog post, nor asked for it. Good luck with the awards Rose!