The winner was chosen by a jury from the 50-plus startups that demonstrated on-stage at Launch over the past three days. The conference included a bevy of categories, 12 awards in total, including “1.0,” for startups launching for the first time (that’s the category that Boxbee won), and “2.0,” for startups that were launching a major new product.
The San Francisco-based Boxbee took home the best overall new startup award this year based on its plans to breathe new life into the messy offline world of urban storage. Simply put, the service aims to simplify the storage process so that users can just box up what they want to store and let it take care of the rest.
For those who are moving, traveling, or are just looking for extra space at home, the startup’s “secure storage hive” allows you to order boxes, which it claims it can deliver to your doorstep within the hour.
Once you’ve packed your boxes, Boxbee helps you to schedule a pickup, taking the lifting, truck-packing and transporting out of your hands. On top of that, the startup claims to go the extra mile to adapt the whole storage process to its busy customers, by allowing you to schedule pickups and returns on the Web or via its mobile app and promises to complete pickup and returns in less than two hours. Well, two hours for “carloads” and next-day pickup and delivery for storage that requires a cargo van or truck.
The service then stores your possessions until you need them again, and provides complementary services to sweeten the deal, allowing you to ship your boxes elsewhere from its app or web dashboard or have them donated. To streamline the process of pickup and returns and offer more flexibility, Boxbee’s dashboard keeps an inventory of images for the contents of each box in your account, including tagged descriptions, which allow you to choose the particular box you need without requiring someone to open it and rifle through its contents. It will then return the box to you in two hours.
Since then, the company has shifted focus, and at Launch it announced a new product that it described as “Pandora for leads.” In other words, similar to the way that Pandora can recommend music based on you preferences and listening habits, Zillabyte claims that it can look at a company’s existing customer base and recommend sales leads who are similar. The company says that an early customer has already seen conversion rates improve 35 percent.
Jawfish Games took home the “Best Consumer 2.0″ award for its online multiplayer tournament platform, which enables companies or groups to host scalable, cross-platform tournaments in which players can compete in the same field of play across multiple devices. Founded in January 2012 by former Netsys exec and professional poker player Phil Gordon, and based in Seattle, the startup has raised around $3.4 million in venture funding from Founders Fund and angels.
Jawfish aims to take the hassle and complexities of hosting realtime tournaments out of your hands, handling messaging, servers, brackets and so on, so that you can focus on other things, including world domination.
Boxbee, Zillabyte, and Jawfish comprised the big three winners from Launch’s 12 total categories, which will see a total of $2 million in funding distributed between them. In the funding department, Yammer founder David Sacks also announced today that he’ll be investing $50,000 each in the five best companies (as chosen by conference organizer Jason Calacanis), and assuming that they’re still interested in funding, we can probably assume Boxbee, Jawfish and Zillabyte will be in that group.
By the way, last year’s best new startup winner, the peer-to-peer storage company, Space Monkey, also took the stage today to update the audience on its progress. Co-founder Clint Gordon-Carroll acknowledged that it’s been taking longer than expected to bring a product to market (“hardware is hard”), but he said the company currently plans to start shipping in May. The more you know.
You can find video of the awards presentation here.