Verizon awarded a total of $6 million to twelve winners of its 2015 Powerful Answers Award contest, a year-long global challenge to discover and help bring to market technologies that show promise for addressing challenges in the emergency response, transportation and Internet of things (IoT) categories.
Three startups with potential were named $1 million winners, including Boston’s Bounce Imaging (Emergency Response category), Palo Alto’s Zizmos Technology (IoT) and Seattle’s Pogo, which took the top prize in the transportation category.
"Verizon created the Powerful Answers Award to discover and help bring to market technologies that address some of the world’s greatest challenges - and emergency response, transportation and the Internet of things are three critical categories where entrepreneurs have the opportunity to develop world-changing solutions," John Doherty, senior vice president of corporate development and Verizon Ventures, told eWEEK.
Doherty explained the common threads among the three grand prize winning startups are they all leverage technology to benefit their communities and provide innovative solutions to persistent real world challenges.
Bounce provides first responders with technologies that allow them to see what lies ahead in dangerous environments so they can make better decisions and improve civilian safety, as well as their own.
First responders and other individuals in hazardous situations can throw low-cost, omni-directional cameras into a room, tunnel, attic, or other potentially-hazardous area and get back real-time, 360-degree video and sensor data about what is happening inside.
Zizmos provides earthquake early warning and high-resolution earthquake hazard maps for urban areas, which the company developed by building a sensor network with mobile technology and cloud computing.
Pogo helps users streamline existing carpools and discover new carpool connections across trusted groups and guarantees paid rides as a back-up, helping communities and giving parents the information they need to share rides.
Verizon also awarded $500,000 and $250,000 prizes to one first runner-up and two second runners-up in each category.
All 2015 award winners were invited to the Powerful Answers Accelerator program at BootUp Academy, a program designed to strategically accelerate companies’ growth through intensive workshops and knowledge exchange sessions.
These sessions are designed to provide best practices in business planning, product development, user experience and user interface (UX/UI) design, global go-to-market strategies, communications, financing and growth hacking.
"Contests like the Powerful Answers Award not only provide financial support to help bring startups to market, they also bring awareness to the best and most innovative entrepreneurs who are leading promising companies in a time when the space is incredibly competitive," Doherty said. "We were very proud that this year’s Powerful Answers Award winners included three female-led startups, and of the 1,400 entrants, nearly a quarter were female-led. Encouraging founders to turn their idea into a reality is at the core of the contest."