On Monday, March 16, 10 startups presented a three-minute pitch about their companies to a standing room-only crowd of IBM influencers and guests at SXSW.
The competition, #newwaytostartup, gave the startups, which are focused on social good missions, the chance to raise their profiles and win software, services, mentorship, and a trip to the exclusive [email protected] event.
The evening event was hosted by Chelsea Krost, a 23 year-old Millennial expert and co-founder of The MPulse.
Each startup had just nine slides and 20 seconds per slide to present their company's technology and its mission.
The startups' presentations were evaluated by a panel of four judges: Zita Cassizzi, Chief Digital Officer at TOMS; Matthew Dowd, founder of Paradox Capital, a social impact venture fund focused on for-profit social good companies; David Heath, co-founder and CEO of BOMBAS, a sock company that donates one pair of socks for everyone purchased; and Brian Fanzo, Partner and Chief Digital Strategist at Broadsuite.
The panel also included a special guest judge, nine year-old Rachel Hurt, the daughter of Debra and Brett Hurt, who was the founder of Bazaarvoice and Coremetrics, which was acquired by IBM.
In addition to being judged on the strength of their presentation and their startups' mission, the teams were also tasked to drive social engagement and attendance to the IBM event on March 16th. (The winning team, the Lassy Project, got more than 500,000 impressions within a 24-hour period.
The first to present was Sam Frons, the CEO of Addicaid, a personalized addiction network that helps people in recovery to connect, find meetings, and find counselors.
Next up was Charity Charge, cofounded by CEO Steven Garten, which allows you to donate reward points from credit cards to any company with nonprofit status.
Garten was followed by Connor Landgraf, the CEO and co-founder of Eko Devices, a smartphone-connected stethoscope that can diagnose common heart conditions that standard stethoscopes fail to detect.
Enertiv, which had developed a hardware and software platform to monitor individual household's energy use, presented next, followed by Owlet, a wearable infant monitor that detects dangerous heart rates and oxygen levels. (Cleverly, the device is in a sock.)
Christopher Hastings, the founder of CEO of Puente Phone, presented his startup's app, which helps people in the construction industry by instantly connecting them to live Spanish-English translators so they can solve issues like safety and quality.
Rakel Solvadottir, the founder and CEO of reKode Education, talked about her startup's cutting edge program that teaches kids how to create, collaborate and code.
Solvadottir was followed by Aaron Horowitz, the co-founder and CEO of Sproutel, which produces comforting companions for kids with chronic illnesses. (Their first product, "Jerry the Bear" helps kids with Type 1 diabetes.)
Lauren Foster, CEO of Stretch Recipes, presented her team's app, which uses budget and meal choices to automatically plan recipes and shopping.
John Guydon, the CEO of Lassy Project, wrapped up the stellar presentations by IBM's ten, handpicked Millenial startups. The Lassy Project app helps parents notify the local community about a missing child in seconds.
"If child not found, and it is a serious case, the parent and the community can escalate the message, and create an instant search and rescue effort," says Guydon.
The judges deliberated for 15 minutes, and then announced the five winning teams: Charity Charge; Lassy Project; Owlet; Sproutel; and Stretch Recipes.
The winning teams will be featured in a series of webisodes that will begin airing on April 16. The webisodes will document how the innovators are working with IBM to transform and drive their big ideas into big change.
On April 20-24, two members of each of the five winning teams return to Austin for a one-week accelerator where they will live in the same house and compete on daily challenges using IBM technology such as Verse and Watson Analytics.
While the teams are using these technologies to accelerate their missions forward, you can also be one of the first to experience them through our free betas.
From May 4 to June 5, fans can vote for their favorite teams by tweeting each team's unique Twitter hashtag.
The winning team will be announced on July 1, and will receive a trip to the exclusive [email protected] event.