Twitter, Other Startups Rich in Awards -- and Perks

Does coddling employees lead to innovation?

By Maya Pope-Chappell
|  Friday, Dec 4, 2009  |  Updated 12:45 PM PDT
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Twitter, Other Startups Rich in Awards -- and Perks

@Twitter on Flickr

Stuffed animals adorn the walls at Twitter's new San Francisco headquarters.

Bay Area startups swept the Technology Pioneer Awards winning nearly half of the 26 honors given for innovation and impact on the future of business and technology.

Among the 12 winners were microblogging site Twitter, mobile video pioneers Dilithium Networks, and digital health care innovator Corventis.
 
The World Economic Forum, which is a Switzerland-based nonprofit, has been selecting recipients of the award since 2000 in fields like energy, health, information technologies and new media.
 
"Entrepreneurship, innovation and technology have always played a key role in shaping and improving society,” said André Schneider, managing director and chief operating officer of the World Economic Forum.
 
“This proves to be even more the case during times of crisis, similar to the one the world faced this past year during the biggest recession in almost a century. New companies are already planting the seeds of recovery and the next wave of growth and progress."
 
Not only is the Bay Area a leader when it comes to innovation and technology, but it’s also a leader in employee perks—which raises the question of whether the two are related.
 
Tech companies here splash out on benefits like free food, Wi-Fi shuttle buses, and on-site laundry, getting a payoff in employees who spend more time at the office and are less distracted by mundane chores.
 
The Business insider recently showcased Valley companies with extra-luxurious perks. Twitter recently moved into a lavish new office space in downtown San Francisco full of fake animals and a foosball table to accommodate its growing work force. Search engine giant and past winner Google offers a laundry list of benefits including day care, massages, and haircuts. 
 
Though not a winner of this year's Technology Pioneer Award, Asana, the workplace productivity software startup based in Palo Alto, offers its employees $10,000 to set up their computers and workspace any way they want. The figure is comparable to what most companies spend anyway -- the difference is Asana doesn't dictate how it's spent.
 
Perhaps that freedom will result in a breakthrough that garners Asana future awards.

Local winners this year:

  • Amobee (Redwood City)
  • BioFuelBox (San Jose)
  • Bloom Energy (Sunnyvale)
  • CollabNet (Brisbane)
  • Corventis (San Jose)
  • Dilithium Networks (Petaluma)
  • Obopay (Redwood City)
  • Pacific BioSciences (Menlo Park)
  • Playfish (London, with S.F. offices)
  • RingCentral (San Mateo)
  • Serious Materials (Sunnyvale)
  • Twitter (San Francisco)

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