BIOSCIENCE AWARD
For developing a rapid cure for hepatitis C
 
Michael J. Sofia, chief scientific officer, Arbutus Biopharma
 
THE STORY
Michael Sofia and his team spent three years experimenting with nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA and RNA. The result was the first in a new class of medications that interferes with the RNA polymerase that the hepatitis C virus uses to replicate its RNA. US regulators approved the hepatitis C drug, called Sovaldi, for sale in December 2013.
 
THE IMPACT
Traditional treatments for hepatitis C cure only about 50% of cases after as much as a year of therapy, but Sovaldi can cure 90% of patients in only 12-24 weeks. In addition, Sovaldi has relatively mild side effects compared with existing drugs.

COMPUTING AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS AWARD
For pioneering cloud data-storage
 
Aaron Levie, chairman and chief executive officer
Dylan Smith, chief financial officer
Box
 
Drew Houston, chief executive officer
Arash Ferdowski, chief financial officer
Dropbox
 
THE STORY
Almost simultaneously at two separate universities, Aaron Levie and Drew Houston identified a need for an easyto-use online storage system. They recruited close friends and built Box and Dropbox, two companies that enable customers to create desktop folders that are uploaded into the cloud for storage and can be accessed from any other computer or mobile device.
 
THE IMPACT
Box and Dropbox pioneered a new way for businesses and consumers to store, share and use files. It has made information sharing and collaboration easier from any location by providing cloud-based file storage and
synchronisation.

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SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC INNOVATON AWARD
For bringing world-class education to low-income African children
 
Jay Kimmelman, chief executive officer         
Shannon May, chief strategy and development officer                                    
Bridge International Academies 
 
THE STORY
Anthropologist Shannon May and her husband, Jay Kimmelman created a vertically integrated educational system to bring world-class teaching to underserved communities through carefully devised teacher guidelines delivered via tablet technology. Its lesson plans include step-by-step instructions explaining what teachers should do
and say throughout the class, mixing teacher speaking time with small group instruction, peer tutoring, and classwork.
 
THE IMPACT
Bridge International Academies’ standardized, data-driven model reduces the overhead costs of running an academy, while providing improved learning outcomes for children. It has 414 academies teaching more than 100,000 pre-primary and primary school students in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria. Serving communities where most people live on less than US$2 a day, Bridge charges an average of US$6 per month.

 

CORPORATE AWARD

THE STORY

Alibaba provides the technological infrastructure and marketing reach that allows businesses to establish an online presence and transact with hundreds of millions of consumers and firms. Instead of a single innovation, Alibaba’s major advances have come from understanding its home market in China and anticipating emerging needs. It is the largest online and mobile commerce company in the world.

THE IMPACT

Alibaba dominates online shopping in China, accounting for more than 80% of the market and annually serving more than 350m buyers and 10m sellers. Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace is China’s largest online-shopping destination; Tmall is China’s largest third-party platform for brands and retailers; and Juhuasuan is China’s most popular groupbuying marketplace.

CONSUMER PRODUCTS AWARD
For popularising internet music streaming

Daniel Ek, chief executive officer, Spotify

THE STORY
Passionate about music and technology, Daniel Ek wanted to make it easier for people to download and share music legally. He started a company, gathered a team and struck a deal to pay record companies to stream their artists’
music over the internet. Spotify launched its service in October 2008.
 
THE IMPACT
Spotify users can stream any song in its catalogue of millions of tracks to their computer or smartphone. Its ‚Äúcelestial jukebox‚ÄĚ service is now available in 58 countries, and the average user listens to 148 minutes of music a day. Spotify has mor e than 75m users, of whom 20m are paying subscribers.

ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT AWARD
For creating high-performance electric cars
 
Elon Musk, chief executive officer    
JB Straubel, chief technical officer                                        
Tesla Motors
 
THE STORY
Under their direction, the Tesla team designed a power train for a battery-powered sports car, the Tesla Roadster, which set a new standard for electric mobility. It was followed by the Model S sedan and Model X SUV. Essentially computers on wheels, the software in Tesla’s vehicles can be updated remotely to provide new features and improve performance.
 
THE IMPACT
Tesla owners charge their cars at home rather than filling them with hydrocarbon fuel. For long-distance journeys, Tesla’s Supercharger network across several countries provides free access to high-speed charging. Its products have ransformed the perception and performance of electric cars.

PROCESS AND SERVICE INNOVATION AWARD
For app-based ride-hailing
 
Travis Kalanick, chief executive officer, Uber
Garrett Camp, chief executive officer, Expa
 
THE STORY
Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick had trouble getting a cab so they started a company to provide reliable transportation on demand at the push of a button. Riders use a mobile app to summon a ride. Uber’s software dispatches the nearest driver, guides them to the destination, calculates the fare and charges it to the customer’s stored credit card.
 
THE IMPACT
Launched in 2010, today Uber operates in more than 330 cities and 61 countries and its millionth driver recently took their first passenger on a trip. Uber riders range from college students to older adults and business travellers. Uber claims its service costs passengers less than a taxi on average.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO BOUNDARIES AWARD
For a digital currency for peer-to-peer transactions
 
Satoshi Nakamoto, founder, Bitcoin
 
THE STORY
Satoshi Nakamoto developed a peer-to-peer electronic payment system called Bitcoin, which uses cryptography to control transactions and money supply. Unlike most currencies, which are issued by a central authority, Bitcoins are issued collectively by the members of its network. All confirmed transactions are included in an encrypted computerized ledger dating back to the first ever made, giving it strong security.
 
THE IMPACT
More than 2,000 merchants worldwide, including Microsoft, Subway, Victoria’s Secret, and Zappos accept the currency. Bitcoin could radically alter the international finance system if it achieves universal acceptance. It would eliminate the need for trusted third parties like central banks to handle flows of money, could lower credit card and other transaction fees, and appeal to privacy advocates.

                                    

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