DEMO: Emo Labs and Liaise win $1M media prize

demofall_0911Two companies have been selected at the DEMOfall 09 conference to receive $1 million in free advertising. The winner on the consumer side was Emo Labs, which developed a speaker that delivers great sound, despite the limited space in high-definition TVs. The enterprise winner was Liaise, which makes email more useful by looking at the contents of your inbox, figuring out which items require action, and turning them into a to-do list.

The companies were selected by a group of expert judges and will receive the free advertising over six months. Those ads will placed in publications owned by IDG, which owns the DEMO brand, and which partners with VentureBeat to produce the conference. IDG publications participating in the prize include CIO magazine, Computerworld, InfoWorld, Network World, PC World among others. VentureBeat will also participate.

Besides the big prize, seven companies also received DEMOgod awards. Five of them were launching presenters:

Emo Labs

Intelius, whose DateCheck application can tell you instantly with a quick background check whether you need to make an excuse and back out of a date as soon as you can.

Zorap, which delivers video chat rooms where friends can hang out, chat, and share video or audio.

LocalDirt, which connects buyers and sellers of locally-grown produce and meat and dairy products.

TwirlTV, which launched a new social TV web site for friends to share TV viewing experiences, even when they’re not together.

There were also two winners who participated in the Alpha Pitch program, where they gave 90-second pitches about products that are still in development:

Pinyadda, which helps people deal with news overload by highlighting articles recommending by their friends.

ShareGrove, which helps people start private conversations with friends on Facebook and other social networks.

In addition to celebrating new companies, the conference also gave out lifetime achievement awards to past demonstrators who have gone on to do big things. The lifetime winners were:

  • Shai Agassi, Founder & CEO, Better Place (DEMO Debut: TopTier, 1997)
  • Colin Angle, Chairman of the Board, CEO & Co-Founder, iRobot (DEMO Debut: iRobot, 2000)
  • Helen Grenier, CEO of Droid Works, Inc. (DEMO Debut: iRobot, 2000)
  • Ed Colligan, Former President and CEO, Palm, Inc. (DEMO Debut: Palm, Inc., 1996)
  • Donna Dubinsky, Founder, CEO & Board Chair, Numenta (DEMO Debut: Palm, Inc., 1996)
  • Jeff Hawkins, Founder, Numenta (DEMO Debut: Palm, Inc., 1996)
  • Marc Benioff, Founder & Chairman, Salesforce.com (DEMO Debut: Salesforce.com, 2000)
  • Mike Cassidy, Co-Founder & CEO, Ruba, Xfire, Direct Hit, and Stylus Innovation (DEMO Debut: Xfire, 2005)
  • Diane Greene, Entrepreneur, Founder and Former CEO, VMware (DEMO Debut: VMware, 1999)
  • Subrah Iyar, Founder & “former” CEO, WebEx (DEMO Debut: WebEx, 1999)
  • Keng Lim, Founder, Chairman & CEO, NextLabs (DEMO Debut: Kiva, 1997)
  • Kevin Lynch, CTO, Senior VP, Experience & Technology Organization, Adobe Systems (DEMO Debut: Adobe Systems (for Air/Flex), 2007)
  • Teresa Meng, Reid Weaver Dennis Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Stanford University (DEMO Debut: Atheros Communciations, 1999)
  • Andy Rubin, Vice President, Engineering, Google (DEMO Debut: Danger Research, 2001)
  • Ben Trott, Founder & CTO, Six Apart (DEMO Debut: Six Apart, 2004)
  • Mena Trott, Founder & President, Six Apart (DEMO Debut: Six Apart, 2004)

At the end of the ceremony, a surprise lifetime achievement award was given to Chris Shipley, DEMO’s executive producer, who is handing the role over to VentureBeat Editor Matt Marshall. (Okay, it wasn’t really a “surprise,” but it wasn’t announced ahead of time.)

For more DEMO coverage, check out our roundup of presenting companies.


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