From an app known for it’s photo and video messaging, to a disgraced American who blew the lid off of a massive surveillance initiative, to a controversial new form of currency, all three took center stage at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, Monday night.
The honors came at the 2013 Crunchies Awards. The seventh annual competition gives top honors to the year’s best technology and Internet innovations, and their impact on the world. Hosted by John Oliver, formerly of the Daily Show, the night is a joint effort by TechCrunch, Gigaom and VentureBeat to award the best in 20 different categories tied to technology. From the best venture capitalists, to the best startups, engineers, and founders, the night is one of the most important of the year for Silicon Valley.
Some of the biggest winners of the night included Bitcoin, for best technology achievement. Peter Vessenes, Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, accepted the honor. The cryptocurrency is currently gaining worldwide attention, both positive and negative. While some countries, like Russia, have recently banned its use, other countries and companies are beginning to explore how it can be used to their advantage.
Another big winner of the night is tied to one of the biggest news stories of 2013. The winner of Biggest Social Impact went to Edward Snowden and the leaked information regarding National Security Administration surveillance. The revelation was a massive breach for the NSA and the U.S. government, forced to defend its policy on privacy issues regarding American citizens, and the global environment.
The year’s Best Mobile Application went to the video and photo-messaging app, Snapchat. Started in 2011, Snapchat won fastest riser at last year’s Crunchies. This past November, the app was sending an estimated 400 million messages per day. You may recall founders turned down a deal from Facebook to buy the app for $3 billion dollars.
Here is a look at the other big winners of the night from the 2013 Crunchies Awards:
Best Technology Achievement: Bitcoin
Best Collaborative Consumption Service: Airbnb
Best E-Commerce Application: Wanelo
Best Mobile Application: Snapchat
Fastest Rising Startup: Upworthy
Best Health Startup: One Medical
Best Design: Pencil by FiftyThree
Best Bootstrapped Startup: Imgur
Sexiest Enterprise Startup: Zendesk
Best International Startup: Waze
Best Education Startup: Duolingo
Best Hardware Startup: Oculus VR
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Candy Crush
Biggest Social Impact: Edward Snowden’s NSA Revelations
Angel of the Year: Chris Sacca
VC of the Year: Peter Fenton (Benchmark)
Founder of the Year: Drew Houston & Arash Ferdowski (Dropbox)
CEO of the Year: Dick Costolo (Twitter)
Best New Startup of 2013: Tinder
Best Overall Startup of 2013: Kickstarter