We have put together a group of companies that represent the absolute best in their respective fields. If you win an Otto, you get their services for free. For everyone else, a guaranteed win is simply to work with these companies. Your business will thank you for working with them.
In the context of startups, storytelling is a broad term. It might be as pithy as how you describe your company to a friend in the bar. It might be as complex as a carefully choreographed PR campaign. The goal, however, remains the same: to share information about the company to the outside world that will spark interest, engagement, and ultimately, success. What successful startup stories have in common, regardless of format, is their ability to frame the mission of a startup in a way that makes it bigger, more surprising, more important, more shocking, more interesting, and more unavoidable. Storytelling inspires. Storytelling wins.
Blue Egg creates stand-out strategic marketing & branding for companies. We build compelling brands for our clients in consumer products, technology, and entertainment, by understanding their marketing challenges and the corresponding zeitgeist of their audience. At Blue Egg, we believe that great ideas lie at the intersection of strategy, creativity, and emotion, and that this approach creates memorable, durable brands.Visit Their Site Get a Personal Introduction
We help startups tell their story better. We create strong and clear foundational messaging for startups. We help founding teams find their most powerful frame, story, and voice for maximum impact with the company's most important constituencies. Talk to us about how to talk to the world. Services can be provided to individual companies as well as entire cohorts at incubators, accelerators, or VC portfolios.Visit Their Site Get a Personal Introduction
We are a leading (INC 5000 fastest growing companies in US) analytics & growth agency, focusing on DTC e-commerce brands to better understand their lifecycle and funnel data as well as launch empirically-backed experimentation to grow conversion rate, average order value, repeat rates, channel index rates and the viral coefficient. With 49 staff across 6 offices completing over 7000 experiments to date on DTC E-commerce sites, we have a unique portfolio of experimentation protocol to scale any brand.Visit Their Site Get a Personal Introduction
The industry-leading HubSpot CRM platform makes it easy for your entire company to work together — from marketing, to sales, to customer service. Each hub is powerful alone, but they're even better together. We believe businesses can grow with a conscience, and succeed with a soul — and that they can do it with inbound. That's why we've created an ecosystem uniting software, education, and community to help businesses grow better every day.Visit Their Site Get a Personal Introduction
SPRCHRGR (pronounced "supercharger") is a consultancy providing highly skilled team members across a variety of complementary disciplines. Our services include expert-level accounting and finance strategy, reporting, data visualization and analysis, business process streamlining, customized technology solutions, and more. Accelerate growth with enterprise- level accounting & finance solutions. Lap the competition with insightful management reporting. Attract capital with forecast models that demonstrate value. Relieve operational strain with custom workflow automation.Visit Their Site Get a Personal Introduction
Gunderson Dettmer has more than 400 lawyers singularly focused on the global venture capital and emerging companies ecosystem, across ten offices in key markets throughout the world. The firm represents more than 2,500 venture-backed companies and over 450 of the world's top venture capital and growth equity firms, including thousands of their underlying funds. The firm provides guidance at every stage of startup companies, from launch through IPO and beyond.Visit Their Site Get a Personal Introduction
An end-to-end equity management solution for private companies. From cap table management to seamless primaries and secondaries, Figure Equity Solutions is built to scale as your company grows. Manage your cap table with the industry-best standard features that are easy to use and keep your cap table accurate. Raise capital in days on the platform while your cap table stays automatically in sync. Reduce manual processes, time, and cost. Unlock liquidity using Figure's Alternative Trading System. Figure Equity Solutions is part of Figure Technologies, which is transforming the trillion-dollar financial services industry.Visit Their Site Get a Personal Introduction
We live in a noisy world. Brands can no longer interrupt your entertainment, they need to be your entertainment. Enter Shareability. Shareability is a Social Entertainment Studio based in LA, combining Hollywood Storytelling with social media marketing, influence and distribution. They help brands break through the noise to deliver engagement, loyalty and growth. Watch: Ronaldo in Disguise, Dua Lipa: New Rules, Photo Restoration, Photoshop Battles Live, I Just Sued the School SystemVisit Their Site Get a Personal Introduction
Part communications consultancy, part boutique agency, Headstand is home to startups and established brands alike that want more than a cookie cutter marketing and communications approach. Born with a fierce entrepreneurial spirit, the founding team has worked with the likes of YouTube, Waze, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Samsung, Dropbox, SAP and many more. We've helped countless start-ups grow from their infancy into household names in their industries - through PR programs that not only result in coverage, but tell a story centered on key brand messages and company values. We craft stories, we build narratives, we develop strategies and implement tactics that drive actual business results.Visit Their Site Get a Personal Introduction
InboundAV is committed to helping your business grow, overcoming obstacles, and finding continued success. Through a holistic approach to business solutions and custom tailoring your path to achieving your goals, we help you unlock tangible, enduring results. Get more leads that convert to sales, generate more first contact, and spend more efficiently with tangible results. We understand the importance of identifying your business' niche and maintaining a competitive advantage over others within your industry.Visit Their Site Get a Personal Introduction
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Thought Leadership Articles
Free to apply. Winners each receive over $100k in prizes.
Got what it takes?Apply for free
Why should I apply?
Our goal is to help you be a successful entrepreneur. That is why it costs absolutely nothing to apply, and you win prizes that are designed to help you succeed faster. And we help spread the word about your startup so that more people hear about your business, faster. This is not an award for industry insiders to congratulate each other. This is a streamlined system designed to help you win.
What prizes can I win?
You win over $100k in prizes from some of the industry's most prestigious companies. Check out the full prize list.
I'm a small company. How can I compete against better-funded startups?
Each category has 2 winners: an early-stage company and a later-stage company. In the context of the Otto Awards, an early-stage company is one that has raised anywhere from zero to a few million dollars (in some industries, a few million dollars is a lot; in others, it's barely enough to do the basic research). A later-stage company is from a few million dollars to $20m. For all of our prizes, we consider the impact of your storytelling relative to the resources your company has and the resources you applied to creating and telling your story. If you have more money, we'll expect a bigger impact. Some of the most powerful stories are told by very early-stage founders.
Is it really free to apply?
Yes! Unlike virtually all other awards out there, there is absolutely no cost to apply for the Otto Awards. We are 100% sponsor-funded. Those sponsors, by the way, are amazing. Research them. Contact them. Hire them. Back to costs: yes, everything is free.
Does the quality of the company matter, or just the communications?
It's hard to separate the quality of the substance of a company story from just the quality of the story. Some companies are simply more compelling than others. But we will absolutely look at the quality of the communications, and judge accordingly.
What should I submit?
Any communication form is eligible, including videos, social media posts, speeches, presentations, events, websites, or pitch decks. You are encouraged to submit multiple types of communications if they are related as part of a larger communications plan.
What's the narrative I'm asked to submit?
We want to hear about the what, the how, the why, and the impact. What was the communications challenge you were presented, how did you come up with the communications plan, why did you select that over other options, and what impact did it have? Impact will be measured relative to the cost or effort used to produce the communications. In other words, if you hired an expensive agency to produce a slick video that you then promoted with a lot of advertising dollars, the impact would need to be much bigger than if you produced something by yourself and used guerilla growth-hack techniques to promote it.
What if the communications were produced by an outside agency?
We are biased towards founders who produce their own stories and use creative ways to get them heard. That said, nothing is produced in a vacuum, and in particularly larger companies will likely have paid internal or external help. That is fine—just be honest about who produced what using how much money. The impact of your initiative should be outsized relative to whatever cost it took to produce & distribute it.
Got more Questions?
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What startups are eligible?
anywhere from zero to $20m (combination debt & equity)
primary target market is the United States or Canada are eligible. That includes companies headquartered in other countries that sell into North America, but excludes companies headquartered in North America selling exclusively elsewhere. For companies with international operations, the marketing & messaging campaigns that will be considered are those that target North America
For now, only English-language communications will be considered. We will expand to other cultural and geographic contexts in coming years.
What if there is confidential information in my pitch deck?
We understand issues facing startups, so we take great care to keep every submission confidential. If you prefer, you can redact or blur out any information you would like to keep private. If your pitch deck (or for that matter any document with confidential information) wins, we will work with you to create a version that can be shown to the public.
I don't have great storytelling—yet. What should I do?
Join the club! Telling the story of your startup well to external audiences is one of the most powerful tools you have available. Read the stories on this website, sign up for our newsletter, and research the sponsors. We are experts in communication and are here to inspire—and turn you into tomorrow's winner!
Got a great story? Apply for free
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