Powerful Answers Award announces 12 winners vying for three $1,000,000 prizes

Three 2015 Powerful Answers Award $1 million winners to be revealed on December 9 at award event in San Francisco

Nov 04, 2015, 12:19 ET from Verizon

NEW YORK, Nov. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- This past April, over 1,400 entrepreneurs set out on a journey with hopes of taking a big step towards making their world-changing ideas a reality by entering the 2015 Powerful Answers Award contest. Today, twelve winning entrepreneurs have been announced and have received invitations to attend the awards presentation for the 2015 Powerful Answers Award hosted by The Talking Dead's Chris Hardwick on December 9 in San Francisco, CA.  Three $1 million winners will be announced at the event. A live stream of the awards presentation will be available on AOL.com and The Huffington Post.

"It's always exciting to meet these founders and entrepreneurs and share in their enthusiasm for problem solving," said senior vice president of corporate development and Verizon Ventures, John Doherty.  "These winners have not only developed potential world-changing technologies, but they are leading promising companies in a time when the space is incredibly competitive."

This year's Powerful Answers Award contest consists of three categories, with a top prize of $1 million up for grabs in each category. One first runner-up and two second runners-up in each category will receive $500,000 and $250,000 prizes, respectively, for a total of $6 million awarded by Verizon.

Powerful Answers Female Founders Shine Bright

Three female-led companies are represented among this year's Powerful Answers Award winners. Of the over 1,400 2015 Powerful Answers Award entries, nearly a quarter were female-led startups. Verizon Executive Vice President and President of Product Innovation and New Businesses, Marni Walden and Huffington Post co-founder and editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington will join these female tech leaders on stage during the awards presentation to discuss global trends in entrepreneurship and technology leadership.

The 12 winners organized by category:

Emergency Response

A Lifeguard Drone (Plano, TX - http://www.safeatlas.com/
Lifeguard drone combines an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), communication modules and a collapsible floatation device to save swimmers in distress. A wearable emergency device worn by the swimmer sends out 'SOS' signals along with its GPS location wirelessly to the lifeguard drone to activate the rescue operation. Additionally, lifeguard drones could patrol over water to detect drowning people by sending video to a monitoring network. Once a swimmer in distress is identified, the lifeguard drone flies directly above the swimmer and releases the collapsible floatation device.

The lifeguard drone is a magnitude faster than other traditional means such as human lifeguards, and the rescuing speed is crucial in saving drowning people. Furthermore, its reliable detection, low cost, multi-purpose payload, small footprint and autonomous nature make the lifeguard drone a must-have at beaches, cruise ships and ferry ships, flooding disasters and swimming pools. For the first time, swimmers will have a much-improved technology to feel more secure in the water. Our solution costs a fraction of the traditional methods, which will encourage wide adoption worldwide.

Drowning is the third leading cause of non-intentional injury deaths, claiming 400,000 lives each year worldwide. Our revolutionary lifeguard drone aims at cutting this number in half, and saving millions of lives in the next decade.

Bounce Imaging (Boston, MA - www.bounceimaging.com
Every day we ask police, firefighters, search & rescue workers, and other first-responders to enter hazardous, unseen spaces in the performance of their duty. Bounce Imaging provides these public servants with cutting-edge technologies that allow them to see what lies ahead in those dangerous environments so they can make decisions that are safer for them and for the civilians they seek to serve and protect. A user can toss our low-cost, throwable omnidirectional cameras into a room, tunnel, attic, or other potentially-hazardous area and get back real-time 360-degree-in-all-directions video and sensor data about what is going on inside. The softball-sized device sends this data to a free and easy-to-use Android or iOS app, allowing the first-responder to use the smartphone already in their pocket. With 4G access, the user can also share this omnidirectional video in real-time via the cloud with commanders or team members hundreds of miles away who can view it on their own mobile devices or even via a virtual reality headset.

Bounce Imaging's technology has been named an Invention of the Year by TIME Magazine, Popular Science, and CNN, among others. Bounce Imaging is a MassChallenge Gold Winner with headquarters at the Harvard Innovation Lab in Boston, Massachusetts. Our global team of engineers brings combined decades of experience in image processing, advanced electronics, and mechanical design to a product built in the USA at Lightspeed Manufacturing, based in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

Disaster Mesh (San Francisco, CA - www.disastermesh.com
Disaster Mesh provides an air-deployable, Wi-Fi mesh network to disaster zones. The Disaster Mesh EPN (Ephemeral Physical Network) uses small devices, or "Seeds," that serve as the network's nodes, spread over the disaster area. These nodes are in the shape of the maple seed, allowing them to float down softly. The devices will be produced in mass numbers and air dropped into the disaster location by plane, helicopter, or drone. The aerodynamic "Seeds," or access points, are optimized for extreme weather conditions. Once the survivors connect to the network, they are directed to a landing page consisting of six options survivors can easily select: (1) "I'm trapped," (2) "I need medical help," (3) "I need shelter," (4) "I need water," (5) "I need food," (6) "I'm okay, continue to network." The collected information, GPS coordinates and names of the survivors are then organized and distributed to relief organizations. 

The result?

Instant connectivity created in a disaster, enabling survivors to contact each other and providing relief organizations with a simple and effective tool in allocating their resources to the areas in need.

EmergenSee (Malvern, PA - www.emergensee.com
EmergenSee®'s revolutionary technology turns your smartphone into a personal security system that instantly streams live video, audio, GPS location and movements to pre-selected contacts or EmergenSee's Professional Responders when threatening and potentially dangerous situations are encountered. With just one tap, responders can immediately see, hear, communicate and follow an incident as it unfolds, allowing responders to effectively react to the situation at hand and get you the immediate help needed. Professional Responders at EmergenSee's Command Centers have jurisdictional lookup capabilities that allow them to contact the nearest police, fire and/or EMS and provide them with all the information of your incident, so they can respond with complete situational awareness. If the user's phone is destroyed during an incident, all the data transmitted is stored and archived in EmergenSee's secured servers, which are watermarked, and of evidentiary quality. EmergenSee's patented technology provides millions of people the safety they deserve every day. EmergenSee's technology is currently providing Businesses, Municipalities, universities, government agencies and individuals and families with an advanced state-of-the-art security platform across the country and around the world.

Internet of Things

CityTaps (Ile-de-France - www.citytaps.org
Our vision is running water in every urban home.  We provide a smart water metering service that enables the urban poor to micro-pay for water to their local utility, at any time with any mobile phone - no smartphones or apps needed.

Owlet (Provo, UT - https://www.owletcare.com
Owlet Baby Care was founded by a team of passionate parents who wanted to bring themselves — and other parents around the globe — peace of mind and assurance. The Owlet Baby Monitor is the only monitor that uses hospital technology — pulse oximetry — to truly alert parents if their baby stops breathing. The baby product market currently has video and audio monitors that only work when you are hunched over them. Old-fashioned movement monitors are notorious for false alarms. The Owlet Monitor is a game changer. Owlet has already had documented cases where the Owlet Monitor alerted when a baby stopped breathing. Owlet conducted accuracy testing at Seattle Children's Hospital and will be filing for FDA clearance to create a medical version of the Owlet Monitor. Owlet's big vision is to create the largest infant health data set the world has ever seen and connect the hospital to the home via smart hardware.

Smart Barn (Kettering, OH - www.smart-barn.net
Smart Barn has developed a product line that revolutionizes the way farmers are monitoring and managing their livestock farms. Inefficiency is widespread among farms today, with many farmers still tracking their production using pen and paper. The Smart Barn app and wireless sensors have completely changed this process, by allowing farmers to obtain, store, and track data seamlessly. 

Smart Barn's network uses a variety of wireless sensors and Verizon's cellular gateway to transmit their data. The most common sensors monitor temperature, air quality, power supply, feed use, water quality and usage, and security. Additionally, Smart Barn's service allows farmers to create and receive custom notifications if an intolerant condition occurs. Farmers can view the real-time farm conditions using an iOS or Android app. Data is stored in Smart Barn's cloud based server. Information is collected and can be compiled into reports giving farmers a permanent record of care.

Zizmos Technology (Palo Alto, CA - www.zizmos.com
Zizmos provides earthquake-early warning and high-resolution earthquake hazard maps for urban areas.  We are building a novel sensor network with mobile technology and cloud computing. Zizmos disseminates critical information when it's needed most.


iHelmet (Kadawatha, Sri Lanka - http://www.ganindu100.wix.com/ihelmet)
When it comes to the main transportation methods (i.e. public transportation, automobiles and motorcycles), both public transportation and automobiles got a lot safer and more convenient overtime. But unfortunately motorcycles haven't evolved much since their inception in terms of safety and convenience. Considering the headcount, there are over 455 million motorcycles (7+ out of every 100 people) in use and 80% of that population belongs to Asia. As a result, this massive number of motorcyclists on the road daily faces a lot of inconveniences and remains incredibly vulnerable for accidents.

'iHelmet' is an intelligent motorcycle helmet that is capable of providing safety, convenience & situational-awareness features found in high-end automobiles, to an ordinary motorcyclist. It uses an array of sensors built into a special device which has to be attached to the motorcycle helmet. This device communicates with the user's smartphone via Bluetooth wireless technology and the app constantly monitors sensor readings to provide warnings and other functionalities appropriately.

As a result of a lot of testing and customer reviews, features found in the iHelmet are carefully designed to suit the practical needs of motorcyclists. The entire product is designed in a cost effective and modularized way, so it can be provided to the customers at an affordable price with many choices. Having a low price point is also very important to cater the targeted Asian motorcyclists' market as they usually represent mid to low-monthly-income families.

i4drive (Tel Aviv, Israel - www.i4drive.com
i4drive enhances driver safety & driving experience by turning the smartphone from a distraction into a powerful driver assistant. i4drive's advanced software technology provides drivers real-time warnings, assistance, telemetry tools and driver-to-driver communication in emergency events.

Pogo (Seattle, WA - www.pogorides.com
Pogo is a new way to secure trusted rides for your kids. We help you discover new carpool connections across all of your trusted groups, such as schools, teams, and neighborhood groups. If a carpool ride isn't available, our thoroughly screened and trained paid drivers are there as a backstop.

Swiftmile (San Mateo, CA - www.swiftmile.com
Swiftmile built the worlds first Light Electric Vehicle (LEV) sharing system where users can check out/in e-bikes or e-scooters using our SwiftmApp at any one of our Swiftmile charging stations. These smart, solar-powered charging stations can be quickly deployed on corporate campuses, universities, resorts, near bus stops, train stations, etc. making for a highly scalable true first and last mile solution for urban commuters. Go the last mile "Swiftly."

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Video - http://youtu.be/vZWqWCB_GzU

SOURCE Verizon