The Otto Awards Launch to Recognize the Best in Startup Storytelling

Communication Awards for Startups Opens Call for Entries with $1M+ In Prizes

The Otto Awards, the world’s most valuable communications prize for startups, began accepting applications today for its flagship awards program. Startups will compete for a chance to win a curated selection of professional services that support the growth of their business. Ten awards will be given, each valued at over $100,000. There is no cost to apply.

A highly accredited panel of Otto Awards judges will select winners who have made exceptional use of narrative to promote their entrepreneurial vision. Applicants can submit pitch decks, websites, videos and/or articles to demonstrate their ability to communicate their company’s story.

“Startups succeed by inspiring external audiences, whether it’s customers, investors, or potential employees,” says Otto Pohl, founder of The Otto Awards. “We want to reward the founders with exceptional communications talent, and also use these awards to showcase these skills to other entrepreneurs.”

“Storytelling is what drives customer engagement in today’s world, and that directly translates to business success,” says Steve Clayton, Microsoft’s VP of Global Public Affairs and an Otto Awards judge. “It’s powerful for businesses of all sizes, and one of the most powerful tools available to early-stage entrepreneurs.”

Two winners will be selected in each of the five categories: B2B, B2C, Cleantech, Fintech and Healthcare. Within each category, there will be a winner for earlier-stage companies (zero or early-stage funding), and one for later-stage companies (up to $20m raised). Deadline to submit for the inaugural awards is November 13.

“Science has proven that while words tell, stories sell,” says Justin Sternberg, Storytelling Executive at Snap and Otto Awards judge. “From my perspective as a TV writer, MBA professor and storytelling executive in tech, there’s no better way to put your ideas into the world than by unlocking Hollywood’s secrets to deliver blockbuster results.”

In addition to Clayton and Sternberg, the judging panel will include Andy Kaplan, former president of Sony Pictures Worldwide; David Hornik, founding partner of Lobby Capital; Aditi Roy, Emmy award-winning journalist from CNBC, ABC; Rachel Konrad, the first head of communications at Tesla; and more. Winners will be announced December 6.

This year’s Otto Awards are sponsored by some of the best service providers available to startups, including:

  • Gunderson Dettmer, preeminent innovation economy law firm.
  • Headstand, the leading Silicon Valley startup PR agency.
  • Blue Egg, branding and design agency.
  • Shareability, interactive storytelling consultancy and studio.
  • InboundAV, business growth through smart marketing.
  • Core Communications, boutique communications service for startups
  • Figure, Figure Equity Solutions is a leading cap table and equity management platform.
  • Sprchrgr, finance, strategy, and accounting consulting firm.
  • Endrock, data-driven growth agency for DTC brands.
  • Hubspot, top CRM platform.

For more information, to nominate a startup, or to enter your company, please visit

About The Otto Awards

The Otto Awards are the world’s most valuable communications awards for startups. Ten awards are granted to companies with under $20m in total funding. There is no cost to apply, and each winner receives a curated professional services package valued at over $100,000 from some of the most prestigious companies serving the startup industry. Judges hail from companies including Microsoft, Tesla, Uber, Google, CNBC, Sony, and others. The awards were named after Otto Pohl, a leading entrepreneurial communications consultant and advocate for the importance of storytelling for startups. For more information, please visit

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