The Stevie Awards Blog

Revolutionizing Private Jet Ownership

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jan 03, 2018 @ 04:09 PM

Providing access to information by centralizing, standardizing and comparing aircraft cost data worldwide is no easy task. My Sky (formerly My Jet) is a company in Switzerland that offers financial controlling and benchmarking tools for jet owners and their representatives to optimize ownership costs. They do this by collecting, digitizing, analyzing and storing all relevant financial information online for a 24/7, user-friendly service for its customers. This work has led them to win the Gold Stevie® Award for “Startup of the Year - Business Services Industries” and a Silver Stevie Award for “Tech Startup of the Year" in The 2017 International Business Awards.

A Beacon of Trust
The concept of My Sky was first developed in 2014 by two entrepreneurs active in private banking and private aviation. Since its public launch in August 2015, My Sky has garnered business from an exponential number of business aircraft owners in Europe and beyond. Oksana Smirnova is the Head of PR & Marketing at My Sky and is excited about how quickly the company became a beacon of innovation and trust.

My Sky.png

“Today, My Sky is a dynamic company evolving in the sectors of business aviation and financial management with headquarters in Switzerland. It currently employs over 80 experts, including in-house auditors, analysts and IT specialists.”

All their data is proof tested against the largest companies in the industry cost database. My Sky services 50 private jets and employs 80 experts in Switzerland and Russia.

Taking Off
My Sky’s mission is to revolutionize private jet ownership through technology and expertise. This has helped the company earn three international awards in just 12 months. In August 2016, they won a Bronze Stevie Award, then a Sapphire Pegasus Business Aviation Award for Innovation in April 2017, and now it has won Gold and Silver Stevie Awards.

“Winning gold one year after bronze shows that our product and our company have evolved in a very positive way and is a very important milestone in My Sky’s development,” says Smirnova.

“We also have ambitious plans on geographical expansion, and this international recognition will obviously be an added value to our unique proposition.”

Their innovative and disruptive approach provides an opportunity to augment traditional cost management practices in the business aviation industry through a smart blend of technology, data analytics and best practices.

Finding the Missing Link
My Sky considers themselves to be the missing link between industry players and the owners that remove any inefficiencies to empower jet owners by giving them more control and absolute transparency. Smirnova highlights what makes them distinct from similar companies.

“We believe the key to our success is the fact that there are no direct competitors today adopting a client-oriented SaaS approach. Accounting digitization, dynamic reporting and cost benchmarking offered by My Sky are absolutely unique on the market.”

Their unique features have allowed jet owners and their representatives to be in full control of their assets to optimize future costs while correcting past discrepancies, making sure aircrafts fly at the best hourly rate.

Tags: company awards, Startup of the Year, startup awards

The Great Disruptor: Female Entrepreneur Shakes Up the Specialty Finance Sector

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 @ 10:49 AM

“Complacency” is not a word in Renee Tocco’s vocabulary.

Whether it is using her skills to encourage people to live healthier or supporting any number of philanthropic causes ‒ from helping low-income children to protecting rainforests ‒  the energetic Aussie is keen to make a difference wherever she can.

It is no surprise when it comes to her main career as a business executive, Tocco does not settle for the status quo. A former sales and business accounts manager for Telstra, Australia’s largest telecom company, she started her own commercial finance brokerage, Loanezi, in 2014. In the process, she is bringing a fresh approach to an industry that is not necessarily known for innovation.

In three years, her company has become one of the fastest-growing players in the country’s asset finance industry. “Loanezi is my greatest achievement so far,” the entrepreneur says, proud of the success her venture has earned.

Loenzi.jpgFor as long as she can remember, dreaming big has been one of her character traits. “I always believed that I will one day build up an empire or disrupt an industry with a revolutionary invention,” concedes Tocco, who lives on The Gold Coast, a metropolitan area on Australia’s eastern shore.

Loanezi is the marriage of that enterprising spirit with the industry knowledge she acquired at Telstra. It was there Tocco realized the impact information and communication technology could have on businesses ‒ particularly smaller ones. For clients, new equipment was often the difference between growing or falling behind the competition.

Tocco vividly remembers her first client, a woman who was starting her own real estate practice. “Without a new phone system and printer, this new little real estate business literally would not have been able to successfully function,” Tocco told her hometown newspaper, The Gold Coast Bulletin.

Three years later, the company’s trajectory has been nothing short of remarkable. In early 2016, Loanezi was already generating enough revenue to pay back all borrowed capital, becoming 100% self-funded. During the 2016-2017 financial year, Loanezi generated 450 commercial loans, outpacing its own ambitious sales goals.

What makes Loanezi different from the competition? Tocco says it is, in part, the novel use of technology, something that is transforming what had long been a “staid” finance broking sector.

The company also offers a large panel of vendors, enabling it to serve customers with a wide range of needs, including new businesses that sometimes have trouble getting financial support.

Despite the success the firm is enjoying, Tocco makes it clear the company is not pulling off the accelerator pedal. “My goal is to become the largest commercial asset finance broker in Australia within the next three years, a humongous goal that I am focused on achieving.”

In August, Tocco and her team found out they won the Silver Stevie® Award in the “Startup of the Year – Business Services Industries” category of The 14th Annual International Business Awards.

“These awards have a great impact when building a brand and trying to stand out from the crowd,” says Tocco. “The day we added the Silver Stevie seal to the website was such a fun moment, as we appreciate the impact this has in building my profile and that of Loanezi.”

Thinking Big

For Tocco, one of the biggest benefits to the company’s success is the opportunity to give back. The business has partnered with the business giving initiative known as Buy1Give1 (B1G1), providing donations for every corporate loan it settles.

Among the results of its B1G1 gifts so far: 175 days of shelter and 225 days of education for children in need, as well as the protection of 45 square meters of rainforest and 2,000 meals for orphaned children.

“My desire is to change as many lives as possible, directly or indirectly,” she says. “The bigger Loanezi grows, the more impact we can have.”

Tocco is also using her experiences to help other female entrepreneurs achieve a similar level of success. “Through my blogs in the finance industry, I am already mentoring several females and believe that will foster into perpetuity the gift of shared knowledge.”

In that same spirit, she is hoping to offer traineeships to help students achieve their business goals and tackle important challenges around the world.

“I believe young people, offered the novelty of mentorship, will thrive in whatever industry they choose as their end goal,” says Tocco. “I hope my company will be the launching pad of future leaders with a global conscious mindset.”

Tags: entrepreneur, company of the year, Startup of the Year, startup awards

Gamers Rejoyce! AI Tool Matches Players with Mobile Games

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 @ 02:35 PM

With more than 1.2 million titles available on Apple and Android devices, the problem video gamers face today isn’t the lack of choice ‒ it’s having more than they can handle.

Enter ANDi. The one-and-a-half-year-old UK firm that recently launched a “personal mobile gaming assistant” Gameway that helps users find new games based on their preferences and provides a single, convenient platform from which to launch them.

The London-based company says it takes the typical player anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to find a new game. And after all that effort, 72% of the games get deleted after two uses. 

gameway.jpegBy leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, ANDi is hoping that its Gameway app will lead to better matches, in a fraction of the time it usually takes to find a game.

“Data is collected from the games our users swipe, install and play,” says Benjamin Woolf, ANDi’s co-founder and CEO. “Machine learning algorithms process the data and display the right games to the right people at the appropriate times.” The company calls the feature “Tinder-For-Games,” a nod to the popular dating app.

Woolf, a graduate of Leeds Business University, says the the software can recommend games in under a minute, and with greater success. When using ANDi, people keep games for 25% longer, on average, than competitors.

An untapped market

The direction the company took was, its founders admit, somewhat accidental.

When Woolf and friend Sam Koch, who has a computer science background, volunteered together at a 2015 TechCrunch convention, they talked about the idea of creating a new mobile game together.

But when they visited the Google Play store to see what was already on the market, they found themselves swimming in a sea of choices. With that amount of selection, zeroing in on a particular type of game was virtually impossible. What people needed, they believed, was a more efficient way to find what they were looking for.

In a matter of just a few months, the pair was able to cultivate a team and put out the first prototype. Woolf says the community user base has grown by more than 15% month-over-month since being released.

Fostering collaboration 

The company’s speed-to-market is the result of a “work hard, play hard” approach. Product development centers on intense two-week “sprints,” in which the team discusses a new feature, designs it and then carries out a test so it can analyze results afterward.

The founders also carve out time for team-building. Employees regularly get together for team lunches where they can air out their concerns. Once a month, staff members will huddle around a video game console and hold friendly competitions.

“All this builds collaboration and fearless positivity, which allows all members individually to want to give their all,” suggests Woolf.

Already, ANDi’s gaming assistant is shaking up the industry, he says. “The larger game studios, publishers and other media sites are concerned how this could equalize the market for the small niche game developers and medium-sized companies who are not able to gain the same face-time due to financial restrictions,” he explains.

Thanks to its innovative solution, the company has recently earned multiple high-level honors. Among them: “Most Innovative Mobile Gaming Application 2017” by Softech and “Best Free Gaming App” at the TMT Global Excellence Awards 2017.

ANDi adds to its trophy case with the Bronze Stevie® Award received for “Startup of the Year - Consumer Products Industries” at this year’s International Business Awards.

“Winning an award as prestigious as the Stevies was a huge inspiration to our team,” says Woolf. “To be recognized by others in the global business community for our hard work is something we very much appreciate.”

Tags: company awards, tech awards, startup awards

Former Tank Factory in Germany Becomes an Event Space Unlike Any Other

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 @ 03:34 PM

Picture a group of young entrepreneurs with a creative vision and combine that with a huge, empty former tank factory. That’s right: a factory hall of 5.000 square meters, with a ceiling height of up to forty feet– a gigantic hangar that used to house the production lines for war machines until it closed down a good two decades ago.

A big, empty hall, located conveniently close to the city center of Mainz, Germany, which, in turn, is just around the corner from Frankfurt. Local entrepreneurs Ralph Heinrich and Dr. Hanns Christian von Stockhausen were intrigued, while also saddened, by the city’s decision in early 2015 to end the place’s 17-year tenure as a makeshift theatre venue. The local government had used the hall for cultural events since the shutdown of the tank factory in the mid-1990’s.

The vision

Halle 45.jpgThat was when the idea was born to revive the venue, formerly dubbed ‘Phoenix-Halle’, and transform it into ‘Halle 45’: a one-of-a-kind event hall and meeting place at the intersection of art, culture and entertainment.

The goal was to create a venue unlike any other, innovative and modern, versatile in size and functionality. Ralph Heinrich and Dr. Hanns Christian von Stockhausen founded Halle 45 GmbH in May 2015 and turned their vision into reality.

“The worst crime is faking it”

The story of Halle 45 GmbH, the ambitious, hard-working start-up from Mainz, Germany, is a unique one, and so is its motto: “The worst crime is faking it”, coined by grunge pioneer Kurt Cobain. Since its inception in 2015, the event management company, now a team of twelve full-time employees, has successfully hosted a huge variety of events at the venue, from concerts and art exhibitions, over indoor cinema, food and craft beer festivals, to industrial fairs and corporate events.

From the very start, the company also committed itself to opening the venue’s doors to non-profits and artists free of charge. Thus, the former tank factory has also hosted events like a “welcome celebration” for refugees and charity concerts.

The road to success

Charitable projects aside, the founding of Halle 45 GmbH depended on investors and needed to see profits. In the business of acquiring corporate clients, the start-up had to come up with a solid sales strategy.

The starting conditions were phenomenal: Halle 45 is the second biggest venue of its kind in the metropolitan Rhine-Main region, comprising the cities of Mainz, Frankfurt and Wiesbaden and a combined total of nearly 6 million inhabitants – an economically thriving area. The city of Frankfurt is known for its trade fairs and its growing financial district, while Frankfurt Airport is a major international air traffic hub – one of Europe’s biggest.

Another big plus: Halle 45’s innovative, versatile concept features the option to partition the space into several, individually sized venues. Add state-of-the-art technical equipment, the site’s superior amenities and professional event management – an unbeatable recipe for success.

However, in order to garner your target audience’s attention, you need traction and media attention. That’s where the Stevie® Award really helped Halle 45 GmbH to turn a page in its young history.

Ever since winning the Bronze Stevie Award at the 2017 German Stevie Awards in Hamburg, the start-up’s social network contact rate has hit untold highs. Since winning the Stevie Award, Halle 45 GmbH has also picked up other awards, among them the Mainz Business Prize. Within a period of merely two years, Halle 45 GmbH has established itself as a major venue in the Rhine-Main region – not only for cultural, but for corporate events as well.

halle 45 2.jpg

Tags: PR awards, german business awards, Startup of the Year, startup awards

14th Annual International Business Awards Announce Stevie Award Winners From Across the Globe

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 @ 09:34 AM

Business Awards Program to Celebrate Excellence Worldwide at Barcelona Event

High-achieving organizations and executives around the world have been recognized as Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie® Award winners in The 14th Annual International Business Awards, the world's only international, all-encompassing business awards program.

Nicknamed the Stevies from the Greek word "crowned," the awards will be presented at a gala event on Saturday, 21 October at the W Hotel in Barcelona, Spain. Tickets for the event are on sale now at www.StevieAwards.com/IBA.

See the full list of Stevie Award winners here.

TROPHY2.jpgGold, Silver and Bronze Stevie winners were selected from more than 3,900 nominations received from organizations and individuals in 60 nations. All organizations worldwide are eligible to compete in The International Business Awards, and can submit entries in a wide range of categories, including management awards, company of the year awards, marketing awards, public relations awards, customer service awards, human resources awards, new product awards, IT awards, web site awards and more. 

More than 200 executives worldwide participated on 12 juries this year to determine the Stevie winners.

Among the top winners of Gold Stevie Awards are MSLGROUP, worldwide, with 13; Cisco Systems, worldwide (10); Weber Shandwick, worldwide (nine); CallidusCloud, Dublin, California USA (eight); Telkom Indonesia (eight); LLORENTE & CUENCA, Madrid, Spain (seven); and Deutsche Post DHL, worldwide, with six.  Winners of five Gold Stevies include PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies, Makati City, Philippines; Property Exchange Australia Ltd, Melbourne, Australia; PT Petrokimia Gresik, Gresik, Indonesia; Thai Life Insurance, Bangkok, Thailand; and Yapi Kredi Bank, Istanbul, Turkey.

Other organizations with 10 or more Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie wins include, among others, ASDA'A Burson Marsteller, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; FIS, St. Petersburg, Florida USA; Jeunesse Global, Lake Mary, Florida USA; Marico Ltd, Mumbai, India; Odea Bank A.S., Istanbul, Turkey; Ooredoo Group, worldwide; and PRIZM, Hong Kong. 

“We received a record number of nominations in the IBAs this year, and the judges were astounded by the inspiring stories of workplace success from all over the world,” said Stevie Awards founder and president Michael Gallagher.  “We look forward to honoring the Stevie winners who join us in Barcelona on 21 October, and to sharing their stories with the world throughout the coming year on the Stevie Awards social media channels."

During the week of 21 August the winners of the Best of the IBA Awards, five best-of-competition prizes, will be announced.  Winners will be determined by a tally of the total number of Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevies won by organizations, and will be presented with Grand Stevie Award trophies in Barcelona.

For high-resolution photos of the Stevie Award trophy or International Business Awards logo, visit http://stevieawards.com/iba/photos-and-logos. Other information and resources for press are available at http://stevieawards.com/iba/media-inquiries-news-service-list

Tags: marketing awards, PR awards, tech awards, International Awards, international business, startup awards

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