After running nearly 200 contests for major clients like MTV, NASA, and Google, Los Angeles-based Skild is now opening up its platform to just about everyone.
Today, the company is launching OpenSkild, a software-as-a-service offering that small and large organizes can use to manage contests. Skild will also offer free training and design consultations for 25 companies using OpenSkild (something that will eventually be offered to all clients).
“We’re trying to democratize the power of online challenges,” said founder and chief executive Anil Rathi in an interview with VentureBeat.
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While you can always build a website to promote a contest, it’s more difficult to build something that accepts submissions, helps with judging, and handles all of the other headaches around managing a contest. OpenSkild is similar to Challengepost, a New York City startup also well known for managing large contests, but with that company now focusing on software competitions, there’s certainly room a company to help with more general competitions.
OpenSkild arose from all of the lessons the company learned directly managing contests for its big clients. Now, it’s streamlined its platform so that only a few administrators can get the ball rolling without too much hand-holding. The company’s team also has plenty of contest experience: Rathi started the annual Innovation Challenge out of his dorm room a decade ago; and director of marketing Michael Timmons came from the renowned X Prize Foundation.
Pricing for OpenSkild starts at $500 a month (with an annual contract), plus $1,500 per event. That’s probably too pricy for very small companies, but it’s cheaper than hiring a firm to manage contest logistics for you. With OpenSkild you’ll get up to three administration accounts, custom branding, training from Skild, and more.
Founded in 2009, Skild has been bootstrapped based from its earnings running contests.
As for what’s next? Rathi says: “I’m just really excited to see what people can do with it — in particular I’d like to see the platform [used] for showcasing talent. That could be the talent of individuals for recruiting. It also could be for the entertainment industry, or for startups that have very unique products.”
Star Search 2.0? Perhaps.