Sad Red Herring email is sad but if you want to buy entry to an Awards programme, here is the information you need

A long time ago (before the last bubble burst), Red Herring was an interesting magazine about technology. That was a long time ago.

Red Herring and Industry Standard competed to put on amazing conference/parties and I will never forget going to Barcelona, the week before NASDAQ peaked  for a Red Herring or Industry Standard Conference (was definitely one or the other but can’t remember which). A little while before, there was a conference by the other one held in Disneyland Paris. The whole theme park was opened to the guests in the evening. Great fun. We were chauffeured around Barcelona from Gaudi Museum to private party to sponsored reception for a few days. I think I remember seeing the CEO of LetsBuyIt, just a week or so out from his much anticipated IPO, holding court in a room, surrounded by acolytes and entrepreneurs listening to an anecdote or two, huge cigar in one hand, a couple of girls poised strategically one, on his knee, the other on the arm of his chair.

It didn’t feel like a comfortable sort of place to be for me.

Less than a week later the crash started. The bubble burst and lots of those companies and people went away.


It is nice to be reminded of the past and Red Herring still hangs on, I am not sure why.

Every year, it runs a money making event to supposedly celebrate the ‘best’ of European and North American technology companies. It is widely regarded as being bullshit and there are very good reasons for that.

In a nutshell, the awards are given a veneer of objectivity by claiming to be judged on an opaque combination of important sounding criteria – ‘number of customers and users’, ‘execution index’, ‘growth rate’, ‘regional contribution’. Companies are shortlisted for the Top 100 and then have to pay “2,900” – presumably $, £ or €, they don’t care as long as it’s money – to, in the words of Red Herring, “Avoid conflicts of interest”

Today, I was invited to apply(!). Just to be clear, we run the best events for technology businesses in the world, not the best technology business.

“Dear Colleague,

(Please forward to the appropriate department: Press/Marketing/CEO)

Since this is possibly the first time for me to make contact with
Business of Software, I wanted to first give you some brief info on what
this is all about. If you have forgotten our name then have a quick [Sad Panda! “If you have forgotten our name”? :-(]
look at the Red Herring website. Previous winners included the some of
the most prominent companies in the world like Google and Salesforce
as well as thousands of other companies that have exited through an
M&A or an IPO.

The Red Herring is initiating the roll-out for our annual 2015 Top 100
Europe forum in Amsterdam to be held on April 2015. This year, we are
once again seeking out the most exciting companies from Europe. Thus
we are reaching out to Business of Software to see if you have interest in
competing for the 2015 Red Herring 100 Europe award.

Criteria are as follows: private company, technology or innovative
business, not a previous winner, HQ based in Europe or Israel/Russia
(according to our records Business of Software’s HQ is located in Serris
which would qualify), and finally the first step for the online submission must
be completed. [I am definitely not HQed in Serris Business of Software is definitely not HQed is Serris].

Further details can be found here:

Submissions are accepted at the below link with preferred deadline
of Dec 19, 2014. Submission Code (JB2014) should be used at the
beginning of the application. All information is treated confidentially;
however, if you do not want to provide your financial numbers then
replace with the word ‘Confidential’.

Submission link:

If you have any questions we can also have a brief call to discuss or
just send me an email and we can go forward from there. Either way
please let me know if you will prefer to wait until next year or
better go forward this year for your nomination.

Kind regards,
Joseph G Baxter
Managing Director, Asia & Europe

Red Herring/Herring International
San Diego, CA, USA
Office: +1 (619) 400 4985
Mobile: +1 (858) 866 9321

This is the information page for submitting entries…

“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 Top 100 award highlight the most 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.

The quality of Red Herring Award winners is proof of the thoroughness of the selection process. [Logical fallacies a go go!]

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 hundreds of candidates from each continent competing for a Top 100. [Simply not true]

Red Herring uses more than 20 criteria to analyze the companies. Some criteria are scale-based and some are absolute numbers. [This is just mumbo jumbo pseudo scientific nonsense – is ‘social contribution’ scale based or an absolute number?!?!]

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/Team experience and track record
  • Team quality and experience

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  validates the data in a phone conversation with the CEO and determines if their business model deserves further attention. In some cases, the Red Herring team will advise the company to submit at a later date because the company may not have reached the critical mass required to give it chance of becoming a Red Herring 100 winner. [I am guessing this occurs if the company cannot afford the entry fee]

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 wishing to attend the regional Top 100 Forums are required to purchase a membership to the event. The fee to attend an event (normally 2,900), which is run independently 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.”

If your PR company suggest you enter, it probably means you need to take a look at your PR agency and what they are doing.


Good luck!

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