Ashton Kutcher, Diddy Fete WeWork Creator Awards Winners
Startup entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to judges Ashton Kutcher, Diddy Combs, venture capitalist Kirsten Green and VaynerX's Gary Vaynerchuk at the second annual awards.
Creators, innovators and entrepreneurs were celebrated at the 2nd Annual WeWork Creator Awards Global Finals, which were held at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday night. Five finalists were selected from a pool of thousands of contestants to compete for a million dollar grand prize to help grow their startup.
The theater was packed with WeWork employees and before the competition started CEO Adam Neumann spoke to a vision for his company that was larger than just making a profit.
“The world was made for all of us to be all that we can be. And when we started this company with a simple concept, it was called WeWork and we wanted to create a world where people could make a life and not just a living ... because making a life means to enjoy the struggle," he said.
The contestants competed in a shark-tank style “pitch-off” in front of a panel of four judges, which included longtime tech investor Ashton Kutcher, rapper and business mogul Diddy, Gary Vaynerchuk, the CEO of VaynerX, and venture capitalist Kirsten Green.
In addition to looking for businesses that could be profitable, the judges were also searching for companies that could have a positive social impact on the world.
While a unicorn in the business world generally refers to a company that has a billion-dollar valuation, Kutcher told the audience that he had a different meaning for the word based on a conversation he had with his 4-year-old daughter.
“I like the notion that a unicorn company is a company that gives to its consumers, that gives to its clients, that gives to its citizens, something that unlocks the potential that is inside of you," he said. "I want a friend that’s a unicorn to help me unlock my potential."
After hearing five different pitches for innovative companies, the judges ultimately selected CEO Chloe Alpert and her company Medinas Health, a broker that helps hospitals sell surplus medical equipment rather than throwing it out.
In a separate category that was voted on by the audience, Wang Feng from China was selected as a winner for her charitable foundation Angel House Cerebral Palsy, which is dedicated to making sure that children with cerebral palsy are able to receive a quality education.
After the confetti cannons exploded there was a surprise performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who played an hourlong set that included classic hits such as "Californication," "Can’t Stop" and "Scar Tissue."