Written By: Raymond Castillo
The Crunchies is an annual awards show organized by TechCrunch, one of the most influential blog that covers startups in Silicon Valley. Often referred to as the Oscars of tech, the event recognizes winners from key categories that range from the year’s fastest-rising startup to the best overall startup.
This year’s event started off ominously with demonstrators welcoming guests to San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, the venue for this year’s event. Most were voicing their opposition against ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft whose growth have disrupted the long-standing taxi industry.
TJ Miller, star of HBO’s hit comedy series Silicon Valley that satirizes the industry, was chosen as this year’s host. He courted controversy with jokes against famous startups and, specifically, towards Gabi Holzwarth who happened to be Uber CEO’s, Travis Kalanick’s, girlfriend.
Looking beyond Miller’s controversial statements, the winners of this year’s Crunchies showcased the rich diversity that’s present in the industry. Winners and nominees came from completely different backgrounds such as Meadow which is basically an Uber for medical marijuana and Theranos, a healthcare startup that can diagnose patients by analyzing a small drop of their blood. Other winners like #Slack, a communication platform for businesses, and Occulus VR, a virtual reality startup recently bought by Facebook for $2 billion, highlighted how the startup scene today is no longer boxed into one specific category. Unlike in previous years when all tech companies appeared to have something in common such as social networking, online retailing or mobile integration, the startups that make up Silicon Valley now are far more diverse.
That said, the startup that clearly dominated the show was Uber. It brought home the best overall startup of the year aware and was mentioned repeatedly throughout the event. This reflected the company’s unprecedented growth in the past few years which is rare, even for Silicon Valley standards.
Other notable moments of the night included Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff winning as CEO of the year, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood winning in the Can’t Stop Won’t Stop category and the anonymous social media startup Yik Yak winning as 2014’s fastest growing startup.
Like the industry it represents, the Crunchies continued at a quick pace and ended with booths manned by new startups eager to demo their products to this year’s attendees. If the event is an indicator of where the industry is headed, then it’s safe to say that tech companies will continue on with it’s unrelating pace of growth and innovation in the years to come.
About the writer:
Raymond currently works at Uber after a doing a stint in marketing shampoo and batteries for P&G. He’s a frustrated writer who reads too many self-help books, considers bacon to be his favorite animal and one day dreams to have Anthony Bourdain’s job.