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Start with one person. Give them some light. Show them the way. That's what Barefoot Power is doing in developing communities in Africa and elsewhere. By replacing kerosene-fed lamps with its highly innovative and practical solar-powered LEDs, it provides the poor with access to electricity and one very necessary tool for economic development… light. For their tireless efforts toward raising up their fellow humans (while cleaning up the environment), Barefoot Power is king of the hill, top of the heap — the Coolest Company in Anthill’s 2010 Cool Company Awards!
Melbourne-based Optalert markets a product designed to detect the early onset of a long-haul driver's drowsiness by measuring his or her level of alertness, quantifying to both driver and company the "Fatigue Risk Profile." Optalert is this year’s Innovation Award winner in the Anthill Cool Company Awards.
There's something inherently cool about the idea of world-class scientists battling it out for the honor of creating the most elegant solution to a sticky, real-world problem. Four men in a Melbourne office created the arena for these clashes. Kaggle is this year's X-Factor winner in the Anthill Cool Company Awards.
Australians love pies. We consume more than 300 million a year, yet, by 2003, the category had become... stale. Pie Face was launched to change all that, adopting a cheeky and fun attitude to the sale of a traditional market, coupled with the franchise model. Each flavor comes with a signature face baked into the crust. No humble pie, these. Pie Face is this year’s Big Kahuna Award winner in the Anthill Cool Company Awards.
Freelancer.com has a long, long reach. Headquartered in Sydney, the web-based company connects business and individuals who need a task done with those who have the talent do it. Freelancer.com has more than 2 million users. The company describes itself as a marketplace of talent -- an eBay of people, if you will. The company so impressed our august panel of Anthill Cool Company Awards judges that it took top honors in two categories: Global Growth and Online Business.
Law school graduate Ben Lipschitz was out for a night on the town in Sydney when he noticed many women were walking barefoot. Obviously, they were taking a break from their high heels. But the sight struck the young man as wrong -- these young ladies should have backup protection for their soles. Hmmm. A set of portable, fold-up shoes would do the trick, he thought. Cue light bulb. Flipsters is this year’s Micro Business Award winner in the Anthill Cool Company Awards.
Chieftain Communications named Commercial Creativity Award winner at Anthill’s 2010 Cool Company Awards
When his employer closed down the Australian operations of its advertising agency, Chieftain founder Steve Fontanot was given the hard task of breaking the news to clients. The dilemma quickly turned into an opportunity leading to Fontanot’s first client. In a world where advertising has traditionally been omni-directional, Chieftain specialises in creating brand experiences and communication strategies that target the Australian youth market. Chieftain is this year’s Commercial Creativity Award winner in the Anthill Cool Company Awards.
Energy Matters is one of Australia's leading sellers and installers of sun-borne energy. The company has embraced its role as an online trailblazer, serving as a vocal advocate for renewable-energy legislation and being available when the media needs an expert sound bite. Energy Matters describes itself as "the Fonzie of solar. It doesn’t get much cooler than a company that is helping to cool the globe!" Eyyy!
Meet Forward Thinking Design, Anthill 2010 Cool Company Award Finalist [Commercial Creativity Category]
Forward Thinking's target clients are sharp business owners who have control over the physical premises (preferably multiple sites). The company's website showcases some of its best design work, enticing businesses to come aboard. Among its jewels is Sergio's Cake Shop (pictured below) in Western Sydney and Blue Plate Bar and Grill on Neutral Bay's main eat street, scoring the young entrepreneur a spot on Anthill's Cool Company Award finalists list.
Socialista Media is a social network for fashion lovers. The online company gives fashion brands the opportunity to tap into and engage with their target market of woman aged 18 to 35. The main platform is 2threads.com, Socialista's fashion hub. The site is packed with the latest fashion news, trends, photos, videos and shopping advice. The goal is to do what fashion magazines did in the print era and transport it to the online area of social media.
A website that compares financial services doesn't need to be fusty by nature. That's the directive for the people at Mozo, which is trying, in its own little way, to shake up the banking sector. Mozo lets people compare offers on home and personal loans, savings accounts and credit cards, offering a "top 5" list in each category and then allowing the user to find options that best match his or her requirements.
Three Australians visited Silicon Valley two years ago with the goal of getting a jump on the electric-vehicle era. Today, they say they're poised to give battery-powered cars a jolt. An EV driver will now be able to find a charging station on an iPhone app and, once plugged in, track the charge while he grabs a cuppa.
Pollenizer provides all the services a business needs to create an online presence. Well and good. Australia is stuffed with companies that do that. Where Pollenizer sets itself apart is that it serves as a web-business' co-founder. In their own words, "we will be there from idea inception to launch and forward, with our team helping every step of the way." The organisation has 18 portfolio companies, 125 employees worldwide, $10 million raised and $50 million in valuation. And we did it in less than three years with only $1,000.
Soup was Australia's first marketing agency to build a service proposition on word of mouth. The agency recruits people to become influencers, or Soupers. They receive products before they launch, samples to share with friends, and behind-the-scenes access to a client company. Soupers are matched by their backgrounds and interests to companies and products.
Gretha Oost is an innovator with a passion for environmental protection and a knack for marketing her own ideas. Her latest creation is 321 Water, a portable, on-the-go water filter. The name refers to the three litres of water required to normally make one litre of bottled water.
iiNet likes to call itself a challenger brand. First and foremost, that means taking on communications behemoths like Telstra and Optus (sometimes in court). But it also means challenging itself with breakthrough products, such as Naked DSL in 2007, phone-modem combo BoB in 2009 and internet TV in 2010.
Change2 provides an online educations program for large Australian companies that want to make deep, lasting changes in environmental sustainability. Teaching companies how to introduce sustainable practices, by helping organisations reduce their carbon commissions, Change2 is also helping the world become a cooler place... quite literally.
Meet Living Fundraisers, Anthill 2010 Cool Company Award Finalist [Social Capitalist Award Category]
Living Fundraisers offers a range of herb- and vegetable-growing kits that offer an alternative for chocolate bars and cookie dough for school money drives. The company also offers seed-embedded Christmas cards. "These products allow schools and community groups to promote healthy, educational activities instead of flogging chocolate bars," co-founder Rachel Taylor said.
Giving merchants a method with which to process customer payment online is eWAY's bread and butter. But one of the things that puts eWAY squarely in the realm of coolness is that, as part of the signup process, merchants are given, or directed to, the tools need to set up an online presence. eWAY tries to make it easier for a nascent businesses to cuddle up with the Interwebs.
In 1998, Australian entrepreneur Rob Cecconi heard some friends were having a tough time getting tickets to the Daytona 500 NASCAR race in the U.S. Cecconi poked around and learned Australia had few travel agencies that booked trips to sports events. Game, set, match. Sportsnet Holidays was born.
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