It just wouldn’t be an award show without drama. The Crunchies Awards attracted the attention of anti-tech protestors this year, who staged a demonstration outside Davies Symphony Hall as the movers-and-shakers in the tech industry descended for the annual event.
“The tech industry is gathering for its big Oscars style gala, the Crunchies awards. Join us to protest the worst in tech with our own ceremony, the Crappies awards,” the protest Facebook page said.
This is the latest in a number of protests against the tech industry for gentrifying San Francisco, hiking up prices and driving out long-time residents.
Crunchies host John Oliver teased the crowd about how we have managed to gentrify a city that has already been gentrified three times over.
“You not only manage to piss people off with how you work, but how you get to work. I didn’t even think that was possible,” he said.
In light of this controversy, famed angel investor Ron Conway called on the tech community to get more involved in improving San Francisco. He announced that his non-profit SF City is creating a 1-1-1 program that encourages startups to volunteer their time and resources.
“Let’s focus on the need for us to get more involved by volunteering in the community,” Conway said. “We have faced challenges before, let’s prove we are all in this together.”
In the mean time, here are the winners of this year’s Crunchies Awards:
Best technology achievement: Bitcoin
Ah bitcoin, how you captivated us this year with your soaring highs and your plunging lows. We watched breathlessly as early bitcoin owners became millionaires and the authorities seized millions of dollars worth of bitcoins from the the Web’s notorious black market, the Silk Road. You certainly kept us on our toes.
Best collaborative consumption service: Airbnb
Airbnb wins this category for the second time in two years. Way to go Airbnb, without you we would never be able to experience what it’s really like to live in another place, snoop through stranger’s closets, or pay our exorbitant rent.
Best e-commerce application: Wanelo
Teenagers go hog wild for this social commerce app. That is all you need to know.
Best Mobile Application: Snapchat
We just can’t seem to get enough of this ephemeral photo app, which is allegedly valued at north of $3 billion. Snapchat managed to win this award despite losing 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers to hackers last month. But what does that matter when you can send someone a fleeting image of yourself making a kissie face?
Fastest Rising Startup: Upworthy
Without Upworthy, it would be infinitely harder to stay on top of the latest in feminist, marijuana, and “oh my God” news. This startup, known for making content go viral attracts more than 30 million unique visitors a month. And Crunchies.
Best Health Startup: One Medical
One Medical’s mission is to bring high-quality health care to all Americans. You can book a same-day appointment online and get seen by a doctor without a wait. Turn out going to the doctor doesn’t have a suck and One Medical is quickly opening up offices are the country, as well as becoming a hot startup perk.
Best Design: Pencil by FiftyThree
FiftyThree builds tools to unleash your creativity on mobile devices. Pencil is its latest product, a stylus that people can use to draw, design, erase, and blend. FiftyThree’s other well-known product Paper is an iPad creation app that won Apple’s iPad app of the year in 2012.
Oh, and they are hiring.
Best Bootstrapped Startup: Imgur
Community image-sharing website Imgur attracts over a whopping 100 million unique visitors a month. It is one of the top 30 most trafficked sites in the U.S.. People are creating more than 100,000 memes on Imgur per month. With traction like this, who needs VCs? More lolcats please.
Sexiest Enterprise Startup: Zendesk
Zendesk is rumored to IPO this year, what could be more sexy? The provider of cloud customer service now has more than 40,000 customers in 140 countries who use its technology to keep their customers happy.
Best International Startup: Waze
Israeli-startup Waze set off an acquisition bidding war and ultimately sold to Google for a rumored $1.3 billion. The social driving app helps people “outsmart traffic together,” so you never got stuck in a gridlock or caught by a cop with a radar again.
Best Education Startup: Duolingo
Duolingo, founded in 2011, is the brainchild of Carnegie Mellon PhD student Luis Von Ahn. Von Ahn is the creator of reCAPTCHA and ESP Game — both were acquired by Google. The initial idea for Duolingo was to convince millions of people to translate web content into different languages for free. The startup isn’t far from achieving its ambitious goal.
Best Hardware Startup: Oculus
The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that makes you feel like you’re inside a game world. It provides an immersive, stereoscopic 3D experience with a huge field of view—110 degrees diagonally. It aims to make virtual reality something any consumer can enjoy.
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop (time sink): Candy Crush
Candy Crush Saga has dominated the mobile charts and our finger touches during the past year as the world’s most popular mobile game. It is so addictive parents forget to pick up their kids from school. Candy Crush Saga now has more than 500 million downloads and the title has been played more than 150 billion times.
Biggest Social Impact: Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden was much more than a tech industry story this year. His revelations about the NSA surveillance had vast global repercussions and raised serious questions about the balance between privacy and security in this Internet age. Alas, Snowden was not present at the Crunchies to receive his award.
Angel of the Year: Chris Sacca
Chris Sacca is a former Google employee who became such an active angel investor, he created a holding company called Lowercase Capital to manage his portfolio. He was one of the first investors at Twitter and has one this Crunchie award before.
VC of the Year: Peter Fenton
Peter Fenton is a general partner at Benchmark who ranks fifth on the Forbes Midas List. Fenton serves on the board of Twitter and was an early investor in Yelp. He is also on the board of Docker, New Relic, Optimizely, Polyvore, Horton Works, and Zendesk.
Founder of the Year: Drew Houston & Arash Ferdowsi
Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi are the cofounders of Dropbox, a cloud storage company which is now valued at an astonishing $10 billion. The company is fueling rumors of a 2014 IPO. It has more than 200 million users and people save 1 billion files to Dropbox every day.
CEO of the Year: Dick Costolo
Ninety-six percent of Twitter employees are happy with CEO Dick Costolo, according jobs site Glassdoor. Costolo is a former comedian who has written and spoken extensively on leadership, and guided Twitter through an IPO this year.
Best New Startup: Tinder
Tinder hit the online dating world by storm by dispensing with all the “what is your greatest feature” and “what are your dreams” nonsense, and cutting straight to the chase — do you think this person is hot or not? The mobile, photo-centric app is beloved by hordes of millennials.
Best Overall Startup: Kickstarter
2013 was the year that many of Kickstarter’s most famous and adventurous projects became realities. Pebble, Oculus Rift, and Ouya all hit the mainstream. Kickstarter campaigns raised an average of $1.3 million a day in 2013, which translates to $913 every minute. 3 million people pledged $480 million to Kickstarter projects last year, with 19,911 projects successfully funded.
And the nominees were…
Who were the winners going up against? Here are the nominees in each category.
Best Technology Achievement
Apple A7 Processor (runner-up)
Planet Labs low-cost satellites
Best Collaborative Consumption Service
Best E-Commerce Application
Best Mobile Application
Fastest Rising Startup
Best Health Startup
Best Bootstrapped Startup
Sexiest Enterprise Startup
Best International Startup
Best Education Startup
Best Hardware Startup
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
Biggest Social Impact
Angel of the Year
VC of the Year
Founder of the Year
CEO of the Year
Best New Startup of 2013
Best Overall Startup of 2013
The audio problem: Learn how new cloud-based API solutions are solving imperfect, frustrating audio in video conferences. Access here