Since 1996, technology industry executives, investors, and strategists have valued the Red Herring 100 lists as an instrument for discovering and advocating the most promising private ventures from around the world.
The Red Herring 100 award highlight the exciting startups from Asia, Europe and the Americas. Hundreds of companies from each region are reviewed in a rigorous 3-step process that looks at all aspects of the company.
Applicants must be:
- A technology/life science company
- Headquartered in the specific region of the corresponding Red Herring 100 award program
- Privately held and not listed on any exchanges anywhere in the world
- Not a previous winner of a Red Herring 100 regional award
Red Herring 100 Awards are widely recognized as one of the industry’s more prestigious recognitions, with up to 1,000 candidates from each continent competing each year.
Red Herring has more than 20 criteria that have been in use since 1999 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
- 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 help to verify the quality and the business model as much as the vision of the entrepreneur. Choosing the winners is not just an internal process. Red Herring interacts with individual companies at several times prior to granting them an award. Also, all companies are examined by at least four judges before the conference, and by one or 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 Top 100 event, the Red Herring team evaluates between 800 and 1,400 candidates per continent.
All companies submit a thorough report to help Red Herring judges reach a decisions.
Reports are read and vetted before a senior Red Herring representative verbally validates the information in a phone conversation with the CEO to determine if their business model deserves further 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 and graded, a short-list is established representing the most qualified companies. Companies making the short-list are asked to be part of 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.
*Red Herring does not accept sponsorship for its events to avoid conflict of interest. As a result, all participants are required to purchase a membership to Red Herring’s forums. The fee to attend an event (normally 2,900), which is run autonomously from the publication, is fully disclosed and agreed upon by all companies. The Red Herring Top 100 membership fee is applicable to all participants and covers conference membership and materials, lunches, evening cocktail receptions, and the award dinner.