San Francisco-based AirHelp was announced as the winner of the 2014 Spark powered by Rackspace award at the inaugural Collision event, which took place in the heart of the Downtown Project in Las Vegas. In its first year, the competition saw over 30 technology startups, which were selected from 500 applicants, battle it out to win a cash prize of $10,000 plus a fund of services.
AirHelp is an easy way to get the money people are owed by airlines when flights are disrupted. It allows users to submit their claim though the website and app and takes care of the hassle for the claimant. AirHelp only receives 25% of the compensation if the claim is successful.
“The 30 startups were extremely high-quality and congratulations to the winners AirHelp. It was great to be a judge at the first Collision Conference,” said Spark judge Michael Birch, founder of Bebo and Monkey Inferno.
“We’re super excited about this – it is a huge honor,” said Henrik Zillmer, CEO and Founder of AirHelp. “We’ve respected everything the organizers of The Summit have done since day one and now they’re launching in the US and we’re proud to be the first winners of Collision’s Spark Award. It’s another stamp of approval that this is a valid business model and that we have entered into an industry that has been notoriously hard to get into due to high customer acquisition costs and we’re doing something that helps a lot of people.”
“We were delighted with the quality of startups at our first Collision conference,” said Collision event Founder Paddy Cosgrave. “We decided to do this conference in Las Vegas in the Downtown Project because we believe that this area is on the cusp of becoming an innovative hub for the global tech community.  It’s therefore appropriate that some of the startups at Spark are also on cusp of something hugely significant and we hope that the experience at Spark will help them in that journey.”
The Spark powered by Rackspace award focuses on high potential technology start-ups and was open to any start-up which has received under €1 million in funding to date.  Entrants were judged on the uniqueness of their idea, their level of development thus far, and their potential for future growth. Judges included Kevin Colleran of General Catalyst, Rob Coneybeer of Shasta Ventures, serial entrepreneur Michael Birch and Abhas Gupta of Mohr Davidow Ventures.
About Collision: The first Collision Conference was held in The Western Hotel in the heart of the Downtown Project in Las Vegas. It was attended by 1,500 attendees, 150 startups and 60 speakers including Tony Hawk, Phil Libin, Sean Altman and Tony Hsieh. The organizers of The Summit organized the event. The Summit is Europe’s largest tech event also known as “Davos for geeks.” Founded in 2010 the event will host 20,000 attendees Dublin this year. with over 75percent of those attendees coming from overseas.