The Tech World’s Sixth Annual Crunchies Awards

They don’t call San Francisco the Tech Capital of the World for nothing. The 6th Annual Crunchies Awards—the Tech World’s version of the Academy Awards for product and service innovations—were held at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall on Jan. 31. The popular event, put on by TechCrunch, GigaOM and VentureBeat and sponsored by Yahoo!, was hosted by comedian and Emmy Award-winner John Oliver, a correspondent at The Daily Show. Oliver kept the audience laughing with his jokes about Silicon Valley’s “tech nerds” and his love for (and misuse of) Snapchat – an app that some view as a tool for ‘sexting’ since it lets users send mobile pictures that auto delete. He noted that the Crunchies are like the Academy Awards—except instead of giving out awards based on how well people can pretend to be, or act like, other people, award recipients are honored based on the quality of the products they build and the value they add across industries.

The formal attire was a shock for those of us accustomed to the laid back dress code of flip flops and hoodies with logos at tech startups.  The industry’s best and brightest showed up to the event and after-party dressed to the nines—many of the women donned ball gowns, while some of the men sported bow ties.

Notable speakers, performers and attendees included: Marissa Mayer (Yahoo! CEO), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO and founder), Tim Armstrong (AOL CEO), Ron Conway (angel investor), Michael Arrington (Founder of TechCrunch and angel investor), Babak Ferdowsi (the Systems Engineer at NASA”s Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Aaron Levie (CEO of Box), Ben Silbermann (Co-founder and CEO of Pinterest); Peter Thiel (angel investor), Kevin Systrom (Co-founder and CEO of Instagram), Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco and Wu Tang Clan’s GZA, who performed throughout the event. Some of the Bateman Group”s favorite tech reporters and editors also were in attendance from TechCrunch, VentureBeat and GigaOM.

The award categories, winners and nominees were:

Best Technology Achievement:
Winner: Mars Curiosity
Nominees: Google Glass, Baumgartner Jump, SpaceX docks with International Space Station, Tesla Supercharger Network

Best Collaborative Consumption Service:
Winner: Airbnb
Nominees: Uber, Get It Now/Postmates, Lyft, TaskRabbit

Best eCommerce Application:
Winner: Fab
Nominees: Karma/Facebook Gifts, Hotel Tonight, Warby Parker, Zulily

Best Mobile Application:
Winner: Google Maps
Nominees: Evernote, Grindr, Instagram, Square

Fastest Rising Startup:
Winner: Snapchat
Nominees: Stripe, Exec, Lyft, Pinterest

Best Content Discovery Application:
Winner: Pinterest
Nominees: Flipboard, Instapaper, Prismatic, Tumblr

Best Design:
Winner: Paper by FiftyThree
Nominees: Square, Facebook Timeline, Medium, Svbtle

Best Bootstrapped Startup:
Winner: Techmeme
Nominees: FreshBooks, Instapaper, Nimbus, Upverter

Sexiest Enterprise Startup:
Winner: Box
Nominees: Cloudera, Asana, Plexxi, Zendesk

Best International Startup:
Winner: SoundCloud
Nominees: Spotify, Hailo, Rovio, Xiaomi

Best Education Startup:
Winner: Codecademy
Nominees: Coursera, Edmodo, Khan Academy, Udacity

Best Hardware Startup:
Winner: Makerbot
Nominees: Raspberry Pi, Lit Motors, Lockitron, Nest

Best Time Sink:
Winner: Buzzfeed
Nominees: Letterpress, Angry Birds Star Wars, Pinterest, WhatsApp

Biggest Social Impact:
Winner: Reddit
Nominees: Indiegogo, Donors Choose, Kickstarter, Kiva

Angel of the Year:
Winner: Chris Dixon
Nominees: Paul Graham, Michael Arrington, David Lee, Chris Sacca

VC of the Year:
Winner: Peter Thiel
Nominees: Jim Goetz, Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, Matt Cohler, Michael Moritz

Founder of the Year:
Winner: Kevin Systrom (Instagram)
Nominees: Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla), Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia (Airbnb), Julia Hartz, Kevin Hartz and Renaud Visage (Eventbrite), Nir Zuk (Palo Alto Networks)

CEO of the Year:
Winner: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
Nominees: Larry Page (Google), Dick Costolo (Twitter), Phil Libin (Evernote), Marissa Mayer (Yahoo!)

Best New Startup of 2012:
Winner: Coursera
Nominees: Lyft, Crowdtilt, Snapchat, Waze

Best Overall Startup of 2012:
Winner: Github
Nominees: Palantir, Fab, Instagram, Square

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