At our CloudBeat 2012 conference (Nov. 28-29), we’re holding an “Innovation Showdown” to showcase the coolest, most disruptive products leveraging the cloud.

The original deadline for nominations was today, but we’re extending it for a few days to accommodate last-minute entries. The new deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 31.

To be nominated, a company’s product or service will need to be leveraging the cloud in a disruptive way. The more revolutionary the idea, the more chance we’ll select them as a finalist. Nominations can include startups or established companies with brilliant new ideas. We’re giving special consideration to products that are new, or that haven’t been widely publicized yet.

We’re looking for products that will change how businesses serve customers, empower employees and deliver tangible value to investors.

The competition will be tough (we’ve already got more than 100 submissions), but the benefits of participating are considerable. The event will be attended by hundreds of leading cloud experts and executives, from legacy players to the leading disruptors (Dropbox, Box, Salesforce and so on).

The deal-making that happens in the hallways at this event is tremendous. Take, for example, the case of SFR, France’s second largest telecom carrier. The company arrived at CloudBeat last year without a clear strategy to unveil its own Amazon cloud competitor. It left with considerable contacts — all made at CloudBeat — including with HP and other vendors, and subsequently went on to launch its cloud offering just months later, after convincing the French state to back it — with $225 million in investing capital.)

Or consider last year’s Showdown winner, Zadara Storage. The company, founded last year, essentially used CloudBeat’s Showdown as its coming out party. Months later, it raised $7 million in a first round of funding, and they made good progress on their product, which gives companies more control over data while using the public cloud.

Here’s how it will work. The ten finalists will have four minutes to showcase their innovative cloud technologies Live at the event, our team of sages — made up of industry experts, venture capitalists, and actual enterprise customers — will provide feedback on the products/services presented. Our sages will recap the highlights of the competition and determine the winner.

The Showdown winner will be announced onstage at CloudBeat and receive a VentureBeat editorial profile, introductions to investors and/or relevant potential customers in our network, and other goodies yet to be announced. Additionally, the audience will get to choose its favorite new product/service.

The winner of the “People’s Choice” award will also be announced live onstage.

To submit your company/product for nomination, go here.

Here are the criteria that judges will use for the Showdown:

  • Freshness of idea
  • Potential to disrupt they industry
  • The success they can potentially drive for their customers

Thanks to Norwest Venture Partners for sponsoring this year’s Innovation Showdown. Finally, seats for CloudBeat 2012 are filling up fast, so make sure to grab your ticket today.

Special thanks to the industry leaders who are supporting CloudBeat 2012: Ping Identity as Gold Sponsor; New Relic, dotCloud, Huddle, and Oxygen Cloud as Silver Sponsors; and CollabNet, Aria, Apprenda, Nasdaq OMX, Scality, Egnyte, Norwest Venture Partners, Silicon Valley Bank, RingCentral, and Scale Venture Partners as Event Sponsors.