Meet the 8 Innovation and Mobile App of the Year finalists

Each year we’re blown away by the big ideas Silicon Prairie companies think up and the dreams they’re able to turn into realities. The eight finalists for Innovation and Mobile App of the Year have their finger on the pulse of the “next big thing” and have all proved themselves worthy of recognition for the…

Kansas City-based Front Flip took home Mobile App of the Year at the inaugural Silicon Prairie Awards.  

Each year we’re blown away by the big ideas Silicon Prairie companies think up and the dreams they’re able to turn into realities. The eight finalists for Innovation and Mobile App of the Year have their finger on the pulse of the “next big thing” and have all proved themselves worthy of recognition for the past year. 

During the second annual Silicon Prairie Awards, held August 29, two of these eight individuals will be named as the Mobile App and Innovation of the Year. In anticipation of that celebration, we’ve put together overviews of the four contenders for each award category. The finalists—48 in all—are the result of public nominations submitted in July and input from our selection committee earlier this month.

A public vote will help determine the winners of the awards, so cast your ballot for the Mobile App of the Year and Innovation of the Year below, or visit the awards page to vote on all 12 categories. Voting ends at midnight tonight, so don’t wait!

Join us for the Silicon Prairie Awards: We have an exciting evening of community celebration planned for August 29 at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. Tickets are still available for the event, which includes an opening reception, keynote talk by The Brandery co-founder and Rockfish CMO Dave Knox, awards ceremony and closing party. Purchase your tickets today.

Meet the Mobile App of the Year finalists

This app featured a notable design and user interface, broke the mold for what we’d expect from a mobile app or reached a high number of downloads. (Descriptions, accomplishments and media appearances provided by each finalist)

Bodeefit’s app provides users with workouts you can do without any equipment. At home. On the road. In the gym. (Kansas City)

Bodeefit‘s app (free) launched from scratch on all platforms—iOS, Android, Windows 8 and Windows Phone—in six months. The app currently has 40,000 users across those four platforms and made the Featured Apps page on the Windows 8 home screen for a number of weeks. Bodeefit’s app also was chosen as a Preferred App for Windows, meaning the company puts both financial and departmental resources into helping grow and improve its future iterations. 

This year Bodeefit was named to Startup Plays’ “Top 35 Tech Startups that TechCrunch Missed Out On,” included on a list of “8 Emerging Companies You May Have Missed at SXSW” and featured on the Microsoft BizSpark blog. 

Read more: iOSAndroid, Windows and SPN.

Battle Bears Gold is an online, multiplayer third-person shooter game staring the Battle Bears characters. Players compete in teams of four across dozens of maps utilizing weapons that range from serious to insane. (Omaha)

Battle Bears (free), created by Sky Vu Entertainment, recently won four of Pocket Gamer‘s Best App Ever awards and was nominated for its Best App of the Year. In addition, the Sky Vu team was named one of Pocket Gamer’s “Top 50 Developers of the Year.” The game is regularly featured by Google and Microsoft in the Google Play and Windows stores.

With more than 24 million downloads, Battle Bears is one of the premier third-person shooting games in the app store today. The app also has more than 200,000 daily active users with more than 1.5 million enjoying the game each month. The app is the number one game in its genre in the U.S., United Kingdom and China.

Read more: iOS, Android, Windows and SPN.

NCLEX Mastery provides nursing students a more effective and convenient way to study for their licensure exam. Instead of students lugging around massive text books or taking expensive review classes, users can now study anytime and anywhere. (Coralville, Iowa)

NCLEX Mastery (free) is an education app built by Higher Learning Technologies. With more than 1,600 practice questions, detailed rationales, pictures and quizzes, NCLEX Mastery has more information than most textbooks all conveniently packaged into a smartphone or tablet. The app incorporates hundreds of savable mnemonics and memory tricks that provide students with an easier way to retain and recall complex materials.

In just three months NCLEX Mastery has more than 130,000 downloads with users in every state as well as more than 120 countries. It also is a top 10 grossing educational app in the Apple App Store and the number two grossing educational app in the Google Play store. Higher Learning Technologies was the recipient of $100,000 loan from the Iowa Demonstration Fund, and received media attention from the Des Moines Register and Cedar Rapids Gazette

Read more: iOS, Android and SPN

Focused on re-inventing search, Leap2 Search delivers relevant web, social, local, image and news results in one engaging, visual interface. (Kansas City)*

Leap2 Search (free) by Leap2 helps mobile users search the Internet quickly and more effectively. Over the past year, the Leap2 team has stayed focused on its core technology and development. The company closed a $1.6 million raise in April and launched new versions of the app for iOS and Android.

Covered by TechCrunch, featured in The New York Times and profiled on Tech Cocktail, word is getting out about Leap2’s mission to redefine web searching.

Read more: iOS, Android and SPN

*written by Silicon Prairie News


Meet the Innovation of the Year finalists

This product prototype, release or advancement made people look twice because it broke a mold, introduced a new way to solve a problem or challenged a status quo. (Descriptions, accomplishments and media appearances provided by each finalist)


EyeVerify is a software-only, eye vein-based biometric. This means it can enable a password-free mobile experience on hundreds of millions devices already deployed around the globe. (Kansas City)

EyeVerify‘s highly accurate eye print technology makes this software a contender for Innovation of the Year. The EyePrint could entirely replace passwords even in secure environments like banking, health care and government markets.

The company has received coverage from Time, The Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post, among others. (Read more on SPN)


opendorse allows brands to sign endorsement deals with professional athletes in a matter of minutes, not months. (Lincoln)

opendorse is the first full-service endorsement marketing software for the sports industry, providing a unique suite of products to brands, athletes and agents. opendorse is in negotiations with some of the largest player’s associations in sports, wherein a partnership would solidify the software as the industry-standard.

In June 2013, opendorse was named on Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual “100 Brilliant Companies” list. The company also closed a seed round of $300,000 in summer of 2013. CEO Blake Lawrence is a member of the PIPELINE Fellowship program. (Read more on SPN)


Higher Learning Technologies empowers students to learn in a more intuitive and ultimately more effective manner by harnessing the power of smartphones and tablets. (Coralville, Iowa)

Since officially launching this May Higher Learning Technologies has attracted users in all 50 states and more than 120 countries. The company’s software was the first to offer a comprehensive study tool for nursing or dental students to study anytime and anywhere on their smartphones and tablets. The adaptive software learns the individual user’s strengths and weaknesses and then caters to that individual’s specific needs, creating a customized learning tool for each student.

With more than 130,000 users worldwide, the company surpassed $100,000 in sales in just three months. Higher Learning Technologies’ nursing app—NCLEX Mastery—was the second-highest grossing educational app in the Google Play Store and seventh highest in the Apple App Store. The company also has been featured as The Des Moines Register‘s “Tech Spotlight” and covered by the Cedar Rapids Gazette. (Read more on SPN


CandyCam makes suspended robotic camera platforms capable of precise movement in 3D space for capturing dynamic aerial footage. (Kansas City)

Within a year of its conception, CandyCam has created 10 different development models. And for those hoping to get their hands on the new robotic technology, its public beta testing is slated to launch later this year. Additionally, the startup is a 1 Million Cups KC alum and won two Judge’s Choice ribbons in June at the Kansas City Maker Faire.

This newcomer has already received media coverage from the Kansas City Business Journal and MAKE Magazine. (Read more on SPN)


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Credits: Photo by Malone & Co.

This story is part of the AIM Archive

This story is part of the AIM Institute Archive on Silicon Prairie News. AIM gifted SPN to the Nebraska Journalism Trust in January 2023. Learn more about SPN’s origin »

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