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2022 Otto Awards Winners Announced!

Celebrating Innovations and Narratives: Spotlighting the 2022 Otto Awards Winners Across Sectors and Stages

Otto Pohl

Dec 8, 2022

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After extensive judge deliberation of almost 1,000 applications, we’ve got winners! It’s an amazing group of companies. Details below. We will be producing profiles of each company and what caught our eye about them, but in the meantime we invite you to visit their websites and explore.

We announced the ten winners on December 8, 2022. There are two winners in each of the five categories: B2B, B2C, Cleantech, Fintech and Healthcare. Each category had a winner for earlier-stage companies (zero or early-stage funding), and one for later-stage companies (up to $20m raised).

This year’s Otto Awards were open to startups that serve the US and Canadian markets. There were 993 applicant companies, of which 74% were early-stage companies and 36% were later-stage. B2B was the most competitive category, with 27% of the applications. Here is the applicant breakdown by category:

B2B: 27%
B2C: 23%
Climate: 21%
Health: 18%
Fintech: 11%

Here are the details of each winner:

Kadeya

https://kadeya.com/

Category: B2B, Early Stage

Kadeya is launching a vending machine that can serve beverages that can inspect, wash, sanitize, and refill bottles for the next user. The prize was awarded for the seed round pitch deck presented by Kadeya founder and CEO, Manuela Zoninsein. 

Zenbase

https://myzenbase.com/

Category: B2B, Later Stage

Calgary-based Zenbase is a service that offers renters the ability to pay rent on a more flexible basis. The company was founded to help reduce the financial stress accompanying rent payments. The prize was awarded for the clarity of the company’s service and mission as described on the Zenbase website.

URevolution

https://www.urevolution.com/

Category: B2C, Early Stage

Founded by husband and wife team Brendan McDonald and Corinne Gray as a lifestyle magazine for people living with chronic illness and disability, the community sparked the idea of a lifestyle brand of clothing with body positivity messaging. The prize was awarded for the community- and brand-building power of the stories told by URevolution members that mainstream culture often chooses to ignore, including Why Depression Is Like Quicksand by Justin Carroll. 

RocaNews

https://www.rocanews.com/

Category: B2C, Later Stage

RocaNews is building a news service for the Instagram age. The company has built an audience of over 1M Instagram followers and almost 250k newsletter readers. The prize was awarded for the founding story that the company has used to build its audience.

 Deviant Events

https://www.deviant.live/

Category: Health, Early Stage

Deviant Events hosts community-focused events for the BIPOC LGBTQ+ community that promote mental health, body positivity, and drug safety. The company worked with Heather Lawver of communications agency Perfectly Pitched to optimize their messaging. The prize was awarded for website content and the powerful origin story of co-founder Micah Roseboro.

Sana Health

https://www.sana.io/

Category: Health, Later Stage

Sana Health has developed an audio-visual modulation headset that causes relaxation on demand. It is expected to treat depression, anxiety, and PTSD when it comes on market next year. The company was founded by Richard Hanbury, whose harrowing near-death experience in Yemen in 1992 and subsequent recovery led to the breakthrough medical device. The prize was awarded for the company origin story.

Community Energy Labs

https://communityenergylabs.com/

Category: Climate, Early Stage

Community Energy Labs is targeting energy reduction in community institutions such as schools and municipal buildings. The company has produced a simple device to help time- and cash-strapped building managers. The prize was awarded for the effectiveness in explaining their product to the target audience, particularly in videos and webinar outreach by founder and CEO Tanya Barham.

Juicy Marbles

https://www.juicymarbles.com/

Category: Climate, Later Stage

Juicy Marbles produces full cuts of plant-based meats such as filet mignon and tenderloin. The prize was awarded for both their sensuous ode to “The Poetry of Meat” as well as their unflinching descriptions of the depravations of the factory-meat industry, exemplified by their article The Slaughterhouse Blues.

Sphere

https://www.oursphere.org/

Category: Fintech, Early Stage

Founded by serial entrepreneur Alex Wright-Gladstein, Sphere runs a 401k plan that avoids investing in fossil fuels. The prize was awarded for how the company balances their messaging between appealing to employees interested in a climate-friendly investment plan and those with fiduciary responsibility to deliver the best investment returns possible. 

Open Envoy

https://openenvoy.com/

Category: Fintech, Later Stage

Open Envoy automates Accounts Payable, focusing on freight, manufacturing, and media companies. Their AI algorithms compare invoices to the original quote, purchase orders, and contracts to avoid overpayment and duplicate payments. The prize was awarded for Communications Manager Courtney James’ work in creating stories that bring the company’s story to life, including a study that showed the scale of the duplicate-invoice problem, as well as a series of articles about CFOs that attracts the company’s intended customers.

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Otto Pohl is a communications consultant who helps startups tell their story better. He works with deep tech, health tech, and climate tech leaders looking to create profound impact with customers, partners, and investors. He has taught entrepreneurial storytelling at USC Annenberg and at accelerators across the country.

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