The Red Herring Award Nomination Process

Started in 1996, the Red Herring 100 Awards are widely recognized as one of the industry’s most prestigious awards, with up to 1,400 candidates from each continent competing each year.

The success of the Red Herring 100 Awards is seen in the large number of finalists who have sent us their unsolicited comments, thanks and praise.

Red Herring has more than 20 criteria that have been in use since 1996 to analyze startups. Some criteria are scale-based and some are in absolute numbers.

Criteria for the selection include, but are not limited to:
•       Level of specialty
•       IP in the solution created through internal R&D
•       Social contribution
•       Disruptiveness of the solution in its respective markets
•       Venture investment
•       Market maturity
•       International footprint (including international employees)
•       Revenues and the company’s overall globalization
•       Startup growth stage
•       Growth rate
•       Industry awards and recognitions
•       Market size
•       Execution index
•       Technological advantage
•       Number of customers and users
•       Regional considerations
•       Branding
•       CEO experience and track record
•       Team quality and experience
All companies that have attended past Red Herring events have gone through this process. The event presentations are useful to verify the quality and the business model as much as the vision of the start up. Choosing the winners is not just an internal process. Red Herring interacts with individual companies about their business at least three times with over an hour of interview time before granting them an award. As well, all companies have been examined by at least four judges before the conference, and by one to two judges during the event.

The quality and the number of Red Herring Award winners from the past is proof of the quality of the selection process. Red Herring maintains is the only organization that requires as much disclosure and requires three validations in order to win a Red Herring award.

For every awards event, the Red Herring team evaluates between 800 and 1,400 candidates per continent.

All companies submit a thorough, five-page report to help Red Herring judges come to their decisions.

Reports are read and verified before a senior Red Herring representative verbally validates them in a phone conversation with the CEO to determine if their business model deserves more attention. In many cases, the Red Herring team will advise the company to submit at a later date because the company may not have reached enough critical mass to give it a chance to become a Red Herring 100 winner.

Once companies are validated, a short-list is established representing the most qualified companies. Companies making the short-list are invited to the final phase of the award process, a live presentation at their respective regional Top 100 event. The invitation is formal, done both verbally and via official email notification.  Costs and logistics of attending the event are all disclosed during the conversation and after in an email.

The fee for attending the event, which is run autonomously from the publication, is fully disclosed and agreed upon by all companies.