Did Spotify really win the Startups 100? TechCrunch says not

A blogger (and judge) has accused the Telegraph of vetoing the real winner of its Startups 100 awards, Wonga...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 26 May 2011
There’s trouble a-brewing between two of the UK’s most influential tech media outlets: the controversy centres around the Startup100 awards, which on its Telegraph website describes itself as ‘an attempt to create the most authoritative and trustworthy ranking of promising technology start-ups in Europe’. However, one of the competition’s judges has accused it of – gasp – fixing the result…

The Startups 100 award ceremony took place on April 12th in London, where music streaming service Spotify was crowned the winner. The award was presented by tech blog TechCrunch Europe editor (and one-time Apprentice star) Mike Butcher, who was one of the judges and thus, apparently, aware of the result before it was revealed. But yesterday, Butcher wrote a confess-all blog, accusing the organisers of the awards of misleading the public. ‘Spotify didn’t win the Startup 100 awards’, he wrote, pausing dramatically. ‘[Short-term money-lending website] Wonga did.’ So there you have it. Allegedly.

If the allegations are true, what could possibly have caused such wickedness? Butcher accuses the Telegraph, the awards’ media sponsor, of putting pressure on the organisers to avoid listing Wonga as the winner. ‘I’ve learned from sources that it was a conversation inside the newspaper that allegedly vetoed Wonga’s win, based on its high profile as a short term money lender,’ he says.

Wonga has attracted controversy for, amongst other things, its high APR rates (at the moment, it’s 4,214% - although these figures are a bit misleading since they’re very specifically not meant to be long-term loans). But would the Telegraph really engage in such dastardly behaviour? It appeared to say not in a response to Butcher’s blog, suggesting the decision was all down to the event’s organisers.

Judging by some of the comments on the story, though, some people wouldn’t have been particularly impressed by either result. ‘Neither of these two businesses is a real start-up,’ pointed out one. That’s probably an argument for another day…

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Leadership lessons from Jürgen Klopp

The Liverpool manager exemplifies ‘the long win’, based not on results but on clarity of...

How to get a grip on stress

Once a zebra escapes the lion's jaws, it goes back to grazing peacefully. There's a...

A leadership thought: Treat your colleagues like customers

One minute briefing: Create a platform where others can see their success, says AVEVA CEO...

The ignominious death of Gordon Gekko

Profit at all costs is a defunct philosophy, and purpose a corporate superpower, argues this...

Gender bias is kept alive by those who think it is dead

Research: Greater representation of women does not automatically lead to equal treatment.

How to be a resilient leader

Louai Al Roumani was CFO of Syria's largest private retail bank when the conflict broke...