The Gigabit Challenge Announces Winners of People’s Choice Award, Born Global Award and Grand Prize at Finale Event

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The Gigabit Challenge, a global business plan competition, announced three winners at last night's Finale in Kansas City, Missouri.

Last night, the global business plan competition known as The Gigabit Challenge came to a close when it announced three winning business ideas in the Finale event at the Kansas City Public Library (Plaza Branch). Organized by Think Big Partners, The Gigabit Challenge Finale brought together entrepreneurs, investors and developers for an all-day pitch fest and awards ceremony.

Seventeen finalists, 17 judges and over 300 attendees joined Think Big Partners at The Gigabit Challenge Finale at the Kansas City Public Library on January 18, 2012. At the event, audience members had the chance to watch 17 pitches from Finalists and vote for their favorite via live webcast (which tabulated the People’s Choice Award). The $250,000 “Born Global” Award was administered by Michael Gale of Gramercy Private Equity and the winner of the $100,000 Grand Prize was determined by a panel of 17 esteemed judges including Chris Bernard of Microsoft, Thad Langford of OPENAIR Equity and Dennis Grunt of Silicon Valley Bank.

Paruzia Technologies (Kansas City, MO) was declared the winner of the People’s Choice Award after receiving a majority of the public vote on the live webcast. Paruzia Technologies works with small and medium businesses that are in need of additional IT support. Paruzia employs advanced technology solutions and works with business leaders who value making money, saving money and ensuring a position in the marketplace. As a winner of the People’s Choice Award, Paruzia will receive services from Microsoft BizSpark as well as from Grasshopper Virtual Phone System. In addition, the People’s Choice Award winner will gain exposure and be recognized as a top Gigabit Challenge Finalist which could potentially lead to interest from investors and partners.

Kauzu (Chicago, IL) was announced the winner of the $250,000 “Born Global” Award. Kauzu is a startup that seeks to innovate the US employment industry, a $170 billion industry, mainly generated from staffing agencies, online job boards and other smaller related services. Kauzu believes in empowering the industry by providing a dynamic, digital online environment with unique tools to create timely connections. The $250,000 “Born Global” Award was given by Michael Gale of Gramercy Private Equity in the form of a convertible promissory note (CPN) investment to Kauzu. Gramercy Private Equity chose Kauzu because it was found to be the business idea that had the best prospects of being rapidly implemented across the globe.

“We are in shock,” said Jeff Segal of Kauzu. “We knew we had a great idea, but having Michael Gale of Gramercy Private Equity validate our idea was unbelievable.”

SEIN Analytics and Asset Management (Brooklyn, NY and Berlin, Germany) was announced as the winner of the Grand Prize valued at $100,000 during The Gigabit Challenge Finale. SEIN develops a cash-flow analytics application built on Adobe Flash Builder 4 in combination with a cloud database server. The goal of SEIN Analytics and Asset Management is to address the major concerns of investors in the space. It will be the first fully-functioning cloud computing ABS software that is both mobile and tablet friendly. The $100,000 startup prize consists of both cash as well as services courtesy of Think Big Partners and other Gigabit Challenge partners.

“Samuel Belu-John has been working on this business plan full-time for two and a half years. We have spent so much time on this and it’s finally all happening,” said Anne Clark of SEIN Analytics and Asset Management. “This is so unexpected. It looks like Kansas City is our new vacation spot!”

In addition to announcing The Gigabit Challenge winners, Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) spoke on the positive impact of Google Fiber and the importance of initiatives such as his Startup Act. Senator Moran announced his efforts to stop SOPA, an act that is currently taking a toll on modern entrepreneurs, innovators and startup companies.

"In our opinion, the damage that SOPA could cause is so great for entrepreneurs," said Senator Moran. "They will not be able to innovate like they do now. There has to be a better way to solve this online problem."

About The Gigabit Challenge:
The Gigabit Challenge is a global business plan competition to find disruptive ideas that will turn the tech industry upside-down and change the world. The Gigabit Challenge is focused on unique applications that are enabled by Google’s first-in-the-nation 1 Gigabit Fiber network. The Gigabit Challenge is looking for the brightest, hungriest and most passionate entrepreneur superstars who are looking to think big... with a gig. In early October 2011, individuals, teams and early-stage businesses were invited to enter for the chance to win the Grand Prize valued at $100,000, the $250,000 “Born Global Prize”, and be the first to work on the Google Fiber Network. For more information, please visit http://www.gigabitchallenge.com.

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Allison Way