Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Winning Innovators for 2017 Are

Last year a big portion of the $100,000 in cash and in-kind support from the Innovation Showdown at RootsTech 2016 went to TapGenes which has continued to develop its product and outreach for those seeking to organize and share family health information. 

This year 40 contestants from the US, Europe and Canada entered the competition. Ten semifinalists were invited to compete this week in Salt Lake City during  the world’s largest family history technology conference. In case you want to look back at those semifinalists now, you can look at my earlier post where the ten are listed with links to where you can find more information.

Judging focused on both the promise of the product as well as the soundness of the business model. Each contestant had two minutes to present the product. Then the panel of five judges had a combined two minutes to ask questions or make comments. If you are familiar with the television show Shark Tank on ABC, you should be able to visualize this format. 

Although the originally announced prize pool of $100,000 in cash and in-kind support was impressive, three new sponsors emerged and enabled the awards to swell to almost twice that amount. The new sponsors were Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kickstarter Seed Fund and Sorenson Legacy FoundationFriday the five finalists competed before a live audience and those watching via streaming around the world. Both those in Salt Lake City and those streaming were able to text their choices. Interestingly, the people's choice and the judges choices were different.

2017 RootsTech Showdown Winners

  • First Place Judges’ Choice ($90,000 cash, AWS credits, and an investment from Kickstart Seed Fund), Bill Nelson of OldNews USA.

  • Second Place Judges’ Choice ($44,000 cash and AWS credits), The Qroma tag mobile app for embedding stories into pictures, tagging them by voice commands, and making the data accessible on various platforms.
  • Third Place Judges’ Choice Award ($26,000 cash and AWS credits), Louis Kessler, Double Match Triangulator, an app to help sort autosomal DNA matches into groups of relatives.
  • People’s Choice ($25,000 cash and AWS credits), Kindex, an app designed to help users create searchable, shareable archives of family letters and other documents using tags to help users easily locate information.

  • The distinguished panel of judges were: 

    Kenyatta Berry, Co-host of The Genealogy Roadshow
    Al Doan, Co-founder and CEO of Missouri Star Quilt Company;
    Thomas MacEntee, Founder of High Definition Genealogy;
    John Richards, Founder and CEO of Startup Ignition; and
    Dalton Wright, Partner in Kickstart Seed Fund.

    More information about the awards competition can be found in the press release.

    Keep in mind that the overall winner may not be the new product that will be the one most useful to you in your research. 

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