News & Events

Without Further Ado, the 48 Finalists for the 2013 Silicon Prairie Awards

Round two has been just as good. You've nominated the leaders of the Silicon Prairie for the second year and our selection committee has weighed in.

The Silicon Prairie Awards are almost here, and so it's time to unveil 48 finalists across 12 categories recognizing outstanding products, strong leadership and noteworthy contributions to the community over the last year—including two new, hotly contested categories, Innovation and Student Entrepreneur.



Today kicks off a two-week public voting period. Whether you're an SPN reader, Silicon Prairie community member or interested individual from afar, we invite you to vote and play a part in selecting the winners. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. August 21, when selection committee members will cast their votes to round out the process.

This all culminates with the evening of August 29 at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines, where the winners will be announced live on stage. This event features a keynote from The Brandery founder Dave Knox, an opening and closing reception, and, of course, a few surprises. Grab your ticket today and bring your whole team—we're offering discounts on packs of five or more tickets.

Note: One vote per category per IP address per day is counted in the final vote. Silicon Prairie News reserves the right to discard any and all votes that it reasonably determines to be fraudulent.

Without futher ado, we present the 48 finalists of the second-annual Silicon Prairie Awards. (ln alphabetical order.)

Startup of the Year

The startup everyone was talking about. The one that made marked progress toward solidifying its success, having an all-around banner year.

  • Bulu Box
  • EyeVerify
  • Leap2
  • MindMixer

New Startup of the Year

The new kid on the block that quickly made a name for itself, and for good reason.

  • CandyCam
  • Higher Learning Technologies
  • myEDmatch
  • Travefy

Innovation of the Year

This product prototype, release, or advancement made people look twice because it broke a mold, introduced a new way to solve a problem, or challenged a status quo.

  • CandyCam, SkyHook video robotics
  • EyeVerify, eyeprint technology
  • Higher Learning Technologies, NCLEX Mastery
  • opendorse, athlete endorsement platform

Mobile App of the Year

This app featured a notable design and user interface, broke the mold for what we’d expect from a mobile app, or reached a high number of downloads.

  • Battle Bears by SkyVu Entertainment
  • Bodeefit
  • NCLEX Mastery by Higher Learning Technologies
  • Leap2 Search by Leap2

Executive of the Year

This C-level executive, president, or founder led a startup to the next stage, hit milestones, and overcame odds.

  • Ben Milne, Dwolla founder and CEO
  • Nick Bowden, MindMixer cofounder and chief engagement officer
  • Paul Jarrett, Bulu Box cofounder and CEO
  • Toby Rush, EyeVerify founder and CEO

Technologist of the Year

This team member, freelancer, or consultant made a significant contribution toward development of a startup’s product.

  • Kelly Kerns, ABPathfinder cofounder, COO and chief architect
  • Matt Secoske, Social Assurance cofounder
  • Reza Derakhshani, EyeVerify chief scientist
  • Riddhiman Das, Galleon Labs cofounder and EyeVerify software developer

Designer of the Year

This team member, freelancer or consultant made a mark on a startup's product by providing an amazing user experience or beautiful design.

  • Jake Stutzman, Elevate owner
  • Justin Kemerling, MindMixer chief design officer
  • Rick Knudtson, Flywheel cofounder and CCO
  • Stephanie Jarrett, Bulu Box cofounder and CMO

Student Entrepreneur of the Year

This student or group of students—college undergraduate or younger—built a notable business, launched a praise-worthy app, or created an impactful entrepreneurial initiative.

  • clusterFlunk (Joe Dallago and AJ Nelson)
  • John Ruiz (e-Beacons)
  • James Verhoeff (Pickit)
  • Sourabh Chakraborty (HIVE)

Investor of the Year

More than funding, this investor provided the all-around package, being a connector and champion of their portfolio startups.

  • Angel Capital Group
  • Dundee Venture Capital
  • Josh Cramer
  • Linseed Capital

Service Provider of the Year

This lawyer, accountant, marketer, or other service provider made things happen for startups, simple as that.

  • Bart Dillashaw, Koley Jessen
  • BlackOps Development
  • Chris Brown, Van Osdol & Magruder
  • Matt Westenburg, FUSE Coworking and SP Group

Silicon Prairie Champion

An individual, company, or organization that selflessly gave their time, resources, or expertise to advance the Silicon Prairie community.

  • Brian Ardinger, NMotion managing director
  • Cameron Cushman, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation senior advisor
  • Kevin McGinnis, Sprint vice president of product platforms
  • Amanda Styron and Andy Stoll, Seed Here

Silicon Prairie Ambassador

An individual from the region who has moved away but continues to advocate on behalf of the Silicon Prairie community.

  • Calvin Pappas, founder of SelectOut and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate now at AVG in San Francisco
  • Rahul Gupta, Big Wheel Brigade cofounder and former Omahan
  • Royce Haynes, hackstar at TechStars in Boulder and former Kansas Citian who contributed to Silicon Prairie News
  • Steven Chau, Startup Weekend web developer in Seattle and former events chair for the Social Media Club of Kansas City
  • Rules

    The Silicon Prairie Awards celebrate internet startups, investors, service providers, and other startup community participants in the Silicon Prairie.

    To be eligible for the awards, companies or individuals must be headquartered or reside in the Silicon Prairie, a region that is defined by its three flagship cities of Omaha, Des Moines, and Kansas City but includes the surrounding area: as far north as Sioux Falls, S.Dak., and Cedar Falls, Iowa; as far east as Iowa City, Iowa, and Columbia, Mo.; as far south as the southernmost reaches of the Kansas City metro area; and as far west as Manhattan, Kan., and Lincoln, Neb.

    The awards are given in recognition of business achievements and community contributions between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013. Selection of the finalists and winners is the result of community voting (via Silicon Prairie News’ website) and a selection committee representing a cross section of the region’s startup ecosystem. The committee selects four finalists per award category. Each finalist is invited to attend the award ceremony.

    Companies and individuals may be nominated for more than one award and may be finalists or winners for more than one, as well. Sponsors of Silicon Prairie News are eligible for the awards but will not be given special consideration. Everyone, regardless of geographic location, is invited to nominate companies and vote for the winner. There is no cost to submit an award nomination or to cast a vote. Silicon Prairie News reserves the right to discard any and all votes that it reasonably determines to be fraudulent.

    The award winners will be selected from a popular vote on Silicon Prairie News' website (one vote per category per IP address per day) and the selection committee. The winners will be announced at the Silicon Prairie Awards on August 29 in Des Moines.

Return to top of page