New L.A. company Yammer wins TechCrunch50
After three days and presentations from 52 companies, Yammer, a Los Angeles start-up that spun out of genealogy company Geni, won the top prize at TechCrunch50 tonight.
Yammer is Twitter for business, a service that aims to make companies more productive by making it easier for employees to communicate with one another. Geni created Yammer for its own employees. Now anyone with a corporate e-mail can sign up and create a Twitter-like site for their company. David Sacks, a former PayPal executive known for his business acumen and for producing the movie "Thank You for Smoking," accepted the award, which comes with $50,000 in cash and loads of attention.
The winner of last year's competition (the smaller TechCrunch40), Aaron Patzer, was on hand to tell Sacks what was in store for him. Patzer's company, Mint.com, went on to raise $17 million in venture funding, got coverage in major newspapers and now claims to be the world's largest personal finance website.
"Launching at TechCrunch40 was the most important seven minutes of my professional life," he said.
In "American Idol" style, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington and co-host Mahalo.com's Jason Calacanis brought on stage the six finalists who received jury selection prizes: gaming platform Atmosphir that anyone can use to create their own; ratings site GoodGuide.com, which helps consumers find better information about the products they buy; interactive learning tool Grockit, health gadget FitBit that tracks your activity levels, how many calories you burn and how well you sleep; and touch-screen technology company Swype.
"The judges loved you across the board," Arrington said.
More on the final day of TechCrunch50 tomorrow.
-- Jessica Guynn
Photo: Yammer receives the grand prize at TechCrunch50. Credit: Steve Maller