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Meet Big Kahuna Imagineering, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Finalist [X-Factor Category]

You would think that a company that models and fabricates giant shoes, soda bottles and coffee cups would be slam-dunk cool. But Big Kahuna Imagineering takes it further, vowing to give the client what they want, not what BKI can handle. "We're rarely in a comfort zone," he says.

Meet Reactive, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Finalist [Global Growth Category]

Reactive is one of Australia's largest and longest-running digital agencies. It was started in 1997 when its two founders, Tim Fouhy and Tim O'Neill were both 21 years old. Today, the agency has a multinational footprint, with full-service offices (not just sales staff) in Melbourne, Sydney, London, Auckland and New York.

Meet Service Seeking, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Finalist [Online Business Category]

Yellow Pages, you've been put on notice. The young men behind the job-bid website Service Seeking want to put you out of business. But, well, short of that, they want to continue the biggest site of its kind in Australia, giving consumers a place to compare quotes and prices from local businesses.

Meet Brightgreen, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Finalist [Innovation Category]

Brightgreen is a Melbourne-based company that specialises in energy-efficient LED lights. Founders/brothers David and Barry O'Driscoll say they've concocted lights that have the same brightness as a 50-watt halogen bulb, but with 15 times the lifespan.

Meet Oomph, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Finalist [Innovation Category]

Oomph, a company that offers a easy-to-use, highly customize publishing platform for tablets, hit the ground running when the iPad arrived in 2010. The principals behind Oomph, operating under another company name, already had about 50 iPhone apps under their belt.

Meet Destination Dreaming, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Finalist [Social Capitalist Category]

Inspirational businesses often are created from the synergy of founders from disparate backgrounds. Web designer and marketer. Retailer and foodie. Engineer and artist. And, of course, lifeguard and law student. That would be Clint Miller and Kate Miller, who created a business that links Australian youth to projects in developing communities overseas.

Meet LeadBolt, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Finalist [Online Business Category]

In less than two years' time, LeadBolt has become one of the world leaders in an industry boosts revenue for online publishers and advertisers via a method called content unlocking. In essence, site users encounter a screen that makes an enticing offer; the user must engage and react to the offer in order to continue seeing the site content.

Meet O3Office, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Finalist [Micro Business Category]

O3Office was birthed with the idea of giving road-warrior solopreneurs and SMEs a place to hold a meeting or temporarily set up shop. As the thinking went, a businessperson on the go can book a hotel, restaurant or flight, or rent a car. Why can't the same magic happen with office space?

Barefoot Power named Coolest Company of the Year at Anthill’s 2010 Cool Company Awards

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!

Optalert named Innovation Award winner at 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.

Kaggle named X-Factor Award winner at Anthill’s 2010 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.

Pie Face named Big Kahuna Award winner at Anthill’s 2010 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 named Online Business Award winner at Anthill’s 2010 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.

Flipsters named Micro Business Award winner at Anthill’s 2010 Cool Company Awards

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.

Meet Energy Matters, Anthill 2010 Cool Company Award Finalist [Big Kahuna Award Finalist]

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.

Meet Socialista Media, Anthill 2010 Cool Company Award Finalist [Online Business Category]

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.

Meet Mozo, 2010 Anthill Cool Company Award Finalist [Online Business Category]

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.

Meet ChargePoint Australia, Anthill 2010 Cool Company Award Finalist [X-Factor Award Category]

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.

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