It's that time of year again when we celebrate the many businesses that have funded on the site by holding our own awards.
The categories range from "Pitch of the Year" and "Coolest Brand of the year" to "App of the year" and "Product of the year". Having had such a sterling year, completing 141 UK raises and raising £78,965,975, our team had an enormously tough job in choosing a winner. The public was invited to pitch in and vote for their own favourite with the "People's Choice Award" which they did with much enthusiasm.
So, with no further ado, the winners and runners-up are declared:
Entrepreneur of the year 2015
The entrepreneur of the year hailed from a list of fantastic companies.
James Watt of BrewDog, Alex Eskinazi of JustPark, Jane Ni Dhulchointigh of Sugru, Doug Monro of Adzuna, Laurence Kempball-Cook of Pavegen, Gem Misa of Cauli-Rice, Frankie Snobel of Tipplesworth and Alex Hoye of Faction Skis.
The winner for this category was Jane Ni Dhulchointigh of Sugru. The judges commented, "This entrepreneur has shown an adept skill at producing and delivering an innovative product whilst growing an international company."
Coolest brand of the year 2015
The coolest brand of the year came up with some hot competition. The shortlist consisted of FieldCandy, Grind, Wool and the Gang, Camden Town Brewery, BrewDog, Chilango and Sugru.
The winner for this category was BrewDog. The judges had this to say about the disruptive Scottish brewery, "Whatever they turn their hand to, is done with a stylistic flourish that we can only dream of. Their merchandising, the names of their beers right down to their job titles. This company is the epitome of cool."
Online Business of the year 2015
The online business of the year is always a hotly contested category, this year was no exception. Shoot, Adzuna, Wool and the Gang, The IdleMan, Crowdfunder and Enclothed were contesting the award.
The winner was those woolly knitters, Wool and the Gang. "Everything they produce is done stylishly and the site is a reflection of that. It's clean, easy to use and the products are very well produced. Wool and the Gang is a great example of an online business."
Best Start-up of the year 2015
Start-ups now, are the great companies of tomorrow. We've had a host of tremendous start-ups through the doors in this year, with quite a representation from the Food and Beverage industry. Tipplesworth, Nom Foods, The Pressery, Keuken, Hen Restaurants, Holly and Beau and Run an Empire were shortlisted for this category.
Winner of Start-up business of the year 2015
The winner was the strategy running game, Run an Empire. "This app really appealed to us. The notion of making running an activity that can be rather dull, into a strategic game is something that we loved and we can't wait to try it out."
Environmental Business of the year 2015
Making the world a better place is something we should all be striving for and our shortlisted companies have demonstrated their ability to do so with great results so far. Powervault, CoControl, Powered Now, PODPoint, Pavegen and Hybrid Air Vehicles.Pavegen, winner of Environmental business of the year 2015 Pavegen, the company creating electricity out of footsteps was dubbed the winner of this category. "What they're doing is amazing, this could really make an impact on the environment. Plus, the way they ran their campaign was exceptional. This company is a force to be reckoned with."
Best Video of the year
An essential part of any pitch is the video. These nominees produced videos that, in our opinion, were worthy of Oscar consideration. The nominations consisted of Grind, Chilango, Sugru, Tipplesworth, FieldCandy, BrewDog and Camden Town Brewery.
In the judge's opinion, the Crowdcube oscar (small c) goes to BrewDog for their rather different take on a pitch video. "Once again, BrewDog showed us that they're not disruptors for nothing by producing a video which showed the founders unafraid to make a mockery of themselves."
See the video here.
App of the year 2015
A new category this year, App of the Year has been included to celebrate the hoard of app-based businesses that we've funded during 2015. Droplet, Adzuna, Run an Empire, JustPark, Togethera, Synap and StaySafe were nominated.
The winner was the parking app, JustPark, who having raised £3.5 million, are the current record holders for the largest amount raised during the year. The judges said, "Another disruptor on the books, JustPark are growing at a great rate and providing a service that we absolutely love."
Service Business of the year 2015
Plucked from a variety of industries, the Service Business of the year celebrates those businesses that saw the potential to deliver something new or simply do things better. Enclothed, 1Rebel, Som Saa, A Suit That Fits, Filmore & Union, UBREW and Seadog Productions were shortlisted.1Rebel, winner of Service Provider of the year 2015The winner was 1Rebel, the no-contract chain of gyms. The judges had this to say "1Rebel absolutely smashed their second funding round with us, this is a great business offering something different within the fitness industry."
Tech business of the year 2015
We have many tech businesses on the site, so this category once again proved difficult to shortlist. However, we did it with Psonar, PoweredNow, Fourex, StaySafe, Chip.io, Pavegen and FaceWatch up for the category. Pavegen, winner of Tech business of the year 2015The winner was Pavegen, their technology that turns footsteps into electricity impressing once again. "Not only have Pavegen impressed with their environmental credentials but their technology is amazing too."
Exit of the year 2015
We celebrated our first ever company exit this year and therefore we introduced a new category to showcase this. *E-Car Club sold their company to Europcar in the summer giving their 62 investors a multiple return. "E-Car Club funded with us back in 2012 and we're thrilled that this has happened for them" before adding "may this be the first of many."
Pitch of the year 2015
Competition for the business which wholeheartedly embraced crowdfunding's ethos was fierce. Shortlisted was FieldCandy, JustPark, Som Saa, Fourex, eMoov, Camden Town Brewery and Pavegen. After much deliberation, Camden Town Brewery's pitch was declared the winner, with the judges saying: "Camden Town Brewery delivered us with the perfect pitch, they ran it with the precision and expertise you'd expect from the fourth largest brewery. We expect to see great things in 2016."
Product of the year 2015
A year of amazing, innovative products meant that this list wasn't short of nominations. Hybrid Air Vehicles, Sugru, Floodkit, Faction Skis, Lumo, Vulpine, Cornerstone and FieldCandy were shortlisted. The winner was the product that no DIY'er or crafter should be without, Sugru. The judges said, "We love Sugru, it's been used in the office non-stop since we first started speaking to them, the versatility of the product is just fantastic. You can mend literally anything with it."
People's Choice Award winner 2015
Lastly, the People's Choice Award. We opened up the voting to our members and they responded in droves. With a shortlist of Run an Empire, Camden Town Brewery, Sugru, 1Rebel, BrewDog, Pavegen and Wool and the Gang they decided upon their winner.Sugru winner of the people's choice award 2015With 52% share of the votes, the winner of the category was Sugru. The judges said, "This company really seemed to capture the imagination of the crowd and of course, was one of the largest fundraisers of the year, raising £3.4 million from 2375 investors. An out and out winner which is deserving of the title."
*At the time of voting, the announcement by Camden Town Brewery of their exit to AB InBev hadn't been announced.
Thanks so much to all of the companies who have raised with us during 2015. We've had a remarkable range of businesses to choose from, many of whom are not even represented in these awards, but to all the companies that have funded this year, we wish you the best in 2016!