The prestigious Red Herring Europe Hundred Awards seem to be having some controversy around it. This is regarding the issue raised about the fact that startups are told the amount to be paid only on accepting the invitation to be a part of it. The amount is $3000 which is a fairly high one for startups that however agree to it so that they do not miss the opportunity. However, these charges have been denied by the company.
Having begun as a print and online magazine for technology business, the company was in its heights of getting flourished in the days of the dot com boom. However this was only for a short time. It was in 2003 that the publication had ceased and though launched again a year later, it ceased again in 2007. The online only magazine remained till 2011. Today all that is left is an editorial product that publishes like three times a week.
What the company now focuses on are its awards that take place in Europe, Asia and North America. The company has recently been facing complaints by a number of startups regarding the large amount that they are made to pay. A study has found that the claim that the company receives over 500 applicants each year is not really true. It is only a small number of Venture Capitalists and CEOs that show their interest in it.
The award hence no longer enjoys its previous reputation and it’s merely seen as an exercise in raising its own revenue.
However the publisher and chairman Alex Vieux defends his company saying “Over the past two decades, the process has been improved and continues to be improved at all levels: sourcing and identification of start-ups; selection process and criterion; communication to the start-ups, etc.”, as reported by Techcrunch.
“Scouts over 800 companies on each continent, and many of these are rejected when we feel they do not meet the criteria. Last year, there were more than 500 completed submissions. Like many other high-end conferences, with high-end meals and parties for 2-3 days, and with extensive networking opportunities a top-tier audience of VCs, corporate VCs, investors and other CEOs, there is an entrance fee. This is fully disclosed.” he further says.
The fee was mainly in order to “to avoid sponsorships from corporate and VCs… because we wanted to distance ourselves from conflicts of interests. We believe it is difficult to impartially judge companies when some of them might already be in your portfolio – or compete with a company in the portfolio.”
“The fact that many companies or entrepreneurs who received – or even competed for – a Red Herring 100 award come back again and again with their new companies also speaks greatly to the value of this conference and award competition.” he says, “dozens of conference participants every year, winners or not, have sent us letters and emails to let us know that they received significant value from the presence at the show.”