The Extreme Tech Challenge team has reviewed each and every one of the nearly 2,000 interested applicants to determine the Top 25 semi-finalists. The hottest areas in technology are represented in this group from medical and wearables to IT and conservation. All are poised and ready to scale.
We announced the Top 25 live on stage at the TIBCO NOW conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 9:50am Pacific Time. TIBCO is an XTC sponsor, which has offered every single applicant free 3-month access to their amazing data analytics tool, TIBCO Spotfire, to help them strengthen their presentations with real-time information quickly and easily pulled in and beautifully displayed with graphs and/or charts.
The Top 25 will now compete for a chance to be one of the ten finalists who pitch live on stage at the world’s largest consumer electronics show, CES, in Las Vegas on January 8, 2015 at 2pm in the Marco Polo room at The Venetian (Get Tickets HERE). Thanks to TIBCO, the Top 3 winners selected at CES will fly to Sir Richard Branson’s private Necker Island to pitch the legendary entrepreneur, along with an all-star panel of judges.
Here is the Top 25 in random order.
Admetsys created the first fully-automated blood glucose control system for hospital care. It’s basically an artificial pancreas.
Largest and fastest growing Virtual Medical Practice which allows patients to have video office visits.
They’re revolutionizing electricity generation by empowering all of us to turn our waste into renewable on-site energy.
The first medical hands-free technology on Google Glass for surgeons.
9:50am – 10am PACIFIC TIME
It will be livestreamed HERE: http://now.tibco.com/video/tibconow2014-livestream/
The point of the Extreme Tech Challenge is to help entrepreneurs reduce the friction to scale. But let’s back up for a second. Do you know what I mean by “friction”? It’s all the stuff that gets in your way when you’re trying to take a great idea and build it into a great business. Technical challenges, lack of funds, lack of know-how and other tangible and intangible resources—it’s all friction.
The latest prize from XTC partner IBM goes a long way to eliminating a couple of those major lack-of-funds and lack-of-expert-resources issues. Building or buying (and then maintaining) cloud hosting infrastructure and databases takes a hefty percentage of a startup’s budget and (even worse) can distract your technical experts, who need to be focused on innovation, not infrastructure.
Enter IBM, which is generously offering all three XTC finalists FREE cloud infrastructure from SoftLayer, an IBM company.
It’s also offering FREE services from Cloudant, an IBM company that delivers IBM’s scalable, always-on NoSQL database as a service (DBaaS). These services give you control over your apps and data but take off the pressure of running all that infrastructure, so they can help you get you off the ground—and then some. With data centers all over the world, they can help you comply with data residency rules as you grow internationally.
Here are the details of what IBM is offering to help winners reach their goals:
➢ 3rd place, total value $15,000: $1,000 / month worth of cloud hosting and $250/month of Cloudant DBaaS usage for 12 months
➢ 2nd place, total value $30,000: $2,000 / month worth of cloud hosting and $500 per month of Cloudant DBaaS usage for 12 months
➢ 1st place, total value $39,000: $2,500 / month of cloud hosting and $750 per month of Cloudant DBaaS usage for 12 months.
And keep watching this space, because I’ll be posting info on more prizes soon!
Will.i.am jumped into the tech entrepreneurial ring this week announcing the new smartphone, PULS, which he said over and over again was not a watch (But it really is a watch…and more). His presentation was all too familiar:
The dark clothing;
The simple messaging;
The sleek and sexy product;
The line-up of celebrity and corporate endorsements;
More importantly, he went beyond what I always call ‘the message’. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the words your PR specialist has told you to stick with no matter what the question. Always bring it back to the message of your brand, who you are, and the features of your product, right?
What Will.i.am did so effectively was to go beyond the product and speak about the purpose and the mission. It’s something that Steve Jobs nailed.
It’s something to consider as you market your product. What is your purpose? What is your mission? That’s the secret to creating a strong brand.
Below is my interview with Will.i.am at DREAMFORCE, in its entirety. His story is amazing.
One interesting fact I’d like to point out is that he grew up in the projects and his mom sent him off on a one-hour long bus ride every day to a better neighborhood to attend school. She dressed him in a full suit every single day telling him it was a reminder that he was there to work, not play. She didn’t just want him to succeed, she expected it. And he, thereby, did as well. And now he’s giving back to his neighborhood. That’s where his purpose and his mission comes in, and we kept coming back that during the interview.
Take a look:
• We will be looking for teams with the right vision, passion, and set of abilities. Successful start-up teams tend to have a programmer, a marketer / salesperson, a product manager, and someone with basic administrative abilities (put together simple financial analyses, deal with legal aspects, etc.). Ideally, the team members will have worked together before.
• One person on the team must be designated as the team lead at the time of the initial submission and thus is authorized to make all decisions on behalf of the team.
• Entrant teams must have a novel product or service that is scalable, addresses a clear market opportunity and gives the company a sustainable competitive advantage.
• Teams must have identified and validated a number of customers. They must demonstrate a strong need for their solution, e.g. actual sales, a large number of interviews across customers and experts.
• Teams must have a prototype or minimum viable product they will develop over the course of the competition.
• The product / service ideas that win in new markets need to have the right vision. These ideas will be part of a larger story of how things have evolved to today, and what will need to happen going forward. They should hit the wave at the right time — neither too early nor too late, along with reasoning for “why now”. Your product / service idea should address what the challenges with existing solutions are, and why your idea is a break-through.
• There are a number of markets you can choose to compete in. We want to hear from entrepreneurs who are competing for markets that generate at least $1 billion in sales per year. This means that the total number of potential customers multiplied by how much they’ll spend on your product each year should be greater than $1 billion. We also believe entrepreneurs should focus their efforts in capturing entirely new markets that didn’t exist before, or in disrupting old markets with new technology.
• You will be judged by the quality of your application. We will assume that the style, wording, and thoughtfulness of your presentation will be a reflection of how you will present your idea to customers, partners, and other future stakeholders.
• We are looking for WINNERS to weave into our community. There is no hard-and-fast rule as to current revenue level or prior capital raised, but we will be biased to pick disruptive companies where we think we can add value and make a difference to your success. That said, we are generally focused on companies with less than $10,000,000 in revenue since inception.
• The proposed business should not be in violation of any intellectual property rights; including but not limited to patent infringement.
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Bill Tai, Gary Shapiro, Lars Rasmussen, Othman Laraki and John Souza Offer Five Key Tips for Tech Entrepreneurs
Startups participating in The Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) (www.extremetechchallenge.com/enter) will have the opportunity to be mentored by some of the world’s leading venture capitalists and tech leaders. Members of the all-star judging panel and advisory council offer five key tips for tech entrepreneurs as they compete against hundreds of startups vying for capital, world class coaching and a chance to pitch Sir Richard Branson.
“Always surround yourself with the highest quality people you can,” said Bill Tai, Extreme Tech Challenge co-founder and legendary venture capitalist. “In the end, the best teams win.”
“Forget a lengthy business plan,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. “Quickly test your concept with feedback from scores of potential customers, then respond like a ninja and go to market.”
“Innovation happens outside the comfort zone,” said Lars Rasmussen, Facebook’s director of engineering for Facebook and the co-inventor of Google Maps. “Most people can do more than they think they can.”
“Choose the one thing that is going to matter the most to your users and customers,” said Othman Laraki, Color Genomics co-founder and former Twitter VP Product. “Take your best shot at making it awesome.”
“An overnight success is many long nights in the making,” said John Souza, founder of Social Media Marketing University, serial entrepreneur and veteran investment banker. “And it’s not about coming up with more ideas, it’s about making things happen.
More than 1,000 startups have already entered the Extreme Tech Challenge, a unique competition designed to fuel the world’s top emerging tech entrepreneurs and accelerate their success. Launched by MaiTai Global, the event gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to showcase their ideas at CES 2015. The top three finalist will venture to Sir Richard Branson’s private Necker Island to pitch him and our all-star team of judges, including the inventor of Google Maps Lars Rasmussen, Samsung President Young Sohn, CEA President Gary Shapiro, and Felix Baumgartner, who jumped from the edge of outer space.
Submissions for the Extreme Tech Challenge will be accepted until September 30, 2014. Participating startups should be tech-based with less than $10 million in revenue and have a working demo and product/market fit. Prizes include access to funding, free infrastructure, distribution support, investment banking consultation, legal and tax advice, social media training and social media management services.
To enter, visit www.extremetechchallenge.com/enter. To view an infographic that maps the path to the finish line for this year’s startup participants, visit www.rightsourcesocial.com/xtc. The infographic was created by SMMU and Right Source Social, two of this year’s XTC partners.
Infographic brought to you by Right Source Social.