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Skyrocket’s Brand Prize: Five Startups in the Running

The Brand Prize

Last year we announced our first ever Brand Prize, aimed at startups based in North America. We’re always on the lookout for innovative, new companies who are drawing outside the lines. Presented with a solid business idea, Skyrocket is here to connect the dots… so, we announced that the winning applicant would receive a Visual Identity and Branding System worth $40,000. With the Brand Prize, our objective is to discover new startups—to engage with exciting new ventures and find the one with a bold mission that also aligns with our own values. We want innovators, creators, challengers and game changers. The plan is to elevate one startup’s identity, effectively strengthening connections between the organization and its community and set a passionate team up for growth. Why is branding so important for startups? For a quick reminder, we’ve already spelled it out here.

The Process

In the fall, we wrapped up submissions. Since then, we’ve taken a good amount of time, sifting through applications and choosing the strongest contenders. Now, we’ve picked out five startups who we believe are going to do damn good things for our world. Below, are the companies which made our shortlist. Drumroll please...

The Problem

Akimbo wants to solve the issue of global unemployment by connecting marginalized populations with forward-thinking employers and workforce development programs by way of their digital platform. By creating a scalable channel for companies, public programs, and employment centres to connect with new talent and providing those who face significant boundaries to employment with a way to showcase their intangible skills, they want to open the door for a more inclusive workforce.

The USP

For individuals facing significant boundaries to unemployment to truly promote their best self, they must leverage all of the latest and most innovative tools at their disposal. By utilizing Akimbo’s platform, users can truly showcase their character, personality, and intangible talents by way of the software’s rich media capabilities. This is essential for the focus groups, given the fact that they often face seemingly insurmountable boundaries between their dreams and the companies that need their specialized talent. Hiring managers also face a wall in terms of finding the new talent demanded by the economy. These companies are trying to gain a sense of an individual’s personality and intangible qualities, beyond what can be learned from a paper resume or application.

AkimboConnect.com

@AkimboConnect

The Problem

Hello Tractor is a technology startup that rents tractors to marginalized farm communities, beginning in Nigeria. Similar to shared economy platforms ZipCar and FLOOW2, Hello Tractor uses a collaborative consumption model to make relevant tractor equipment affordable to (predominantly) women smallholders who currently rely on expensive and often unavailable manual labor. The platform is facilitated through an innovative virtual cloud tractor fleet management system, customized GPS and telematics hardware units retrofitted to the tractor fleet (for equipment tracking and monitoring) and SMS mobile money payment processing for cashless and convenient payment options.

The USP

he target market includes the 35 million farmers in Nigeria dependent on manual labor for agricultural production. These farmers, because of rapid urbanization and aging farm populations, lack access to affordable and timely labor during their planting season. This results in late planting, under cultivation and income lost. Hello Tractor addresses these labor constraints by offering tractor services at a third of the cost of manual labor ($100 vs. $300+) and 40x’s faster. Utilizing Hello Tractor will save farm households money and allow farmers to plant on time, thereby increasing yields and income. Hello Tractor believes that their service will also allow Nigeria to better utilize it’s inventory of uncultivated farm land (currently the largest supply on earth) by improving the productivity of its diminishing farm labor force.

HelloTractor.com

@HelloTractor

The Problem

Planning group activities and gathering funds – shouldn’t be a hassle. So, Myhub stepped in and has created a fast, simple and fun tool designed for everyone. Use it to coordinate an upcoming trip, group dinner, fundraiser and everything in between. Setting up an event takes seconds, then everyone can pitch in cash, collaborate within a group chat, and stay up to date with notifications.

The USP

A tech startup based out of Denver, Myhub is building the fastest, easiest way to plan social events, pool cash, and collaborate with friends within a single environment. Social planning is a phrase the company uses to describe Myhub because not only does it encapsulate the nature of their web and mobile service, but it highlights the human desire for social experiences and connection. Discover modern social planning.

MyhubApp.com

@myhubapp

The Problem

Frustrated by the prevalence of political apathy and record low voter turnout in Canada, a few passionate individuals created a new, more accessible platform for Canadians to engage in political discourse. They are The True North Times, a premier Canadian political satire publication. TNT takes the real news and makes it fun.

The USP

The True North is a startup company operating in Montreal, built by a small group of born-and-bred Canadian entrepreneurs who saw a need for entertaining political coverage.Politicians, NGOs and political citizens are all looking for new ways to reach apathetic demographics, and they’ve found it. The True North Times get Canadians reading and laughing about all things politics.

TrueNorthTimes.ca

@TheTrueNorth

The Problem

Valor Water Analytics provides ‘business intelligence’ for water utilities as they struggle to cope with the financial impacts of declining water demand. Valor employs each water utilities’ data to segment customers for targeted programming and develop custom Water Revenue Profiles to strengthen water utilities’ financial performance and increase operational efficiency.

The USP

Valor Water Analytics allows utilities to harness the power of their own data to understand their customer base in new ways and develop targeted and high-impact business and program solutions. Valor Water has 25 proprietary analytics that provide timely, interactive, and sophisticated information to support utility management decision making.

ValorWater.com

@ValorWater

What’s Next?

We’re on a roll! The ultimate decision will be made this week and we’ll be confirming the winner of the Brand Prize. Keep an eye out—the champ will be announced very soon.

Have an opinion on which company should win? Hit us up @skyrkt, we really want to hear it.

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