We know Insert Coin contestants shed blood, sweat and tears to complete their masterpieces, so we make sure they get scrutinized by people who know what they're talking about. For this year's event, we gathered a group of judges from different backgrounds to look at, poke and analyze every entry. They're in charge of making sure that the best entries get the coveted prize money and that the winners embody what Insert Coin's all about.
- Cyril Ebersweiler is the founder of HAXLR8R, an accelerator program for hardware startups based in San Francisco and Shenzhen, China. He also juggles several projects in both countries, including mentoring a number of startups and serving as a board member to Leap Motion.
- Rahul Sood is just as tireless as Ebersweiler and currently serves as the global head of Microsoft Ventures. Some might remember him as the creator of Voodoo PC, which was eventually snapped up by HP.
- Ben Einstein describes himself as a "lover of hardware" and is the Managing Director of Bolt, a start-up incubator that focuses on (you guessed it) companies that work on hardware.
- Devindra Hardawar's probably a familiar name if you tend to visit a certain online publication other than Engadget -- he's a Senior Editor and the lead mobile writer at VentureBeat.
These four will join the very special roster of past Insert Coin judges, where they're definitely in good company. Just look at this list of previous judges for the competition, and you'll understand what we mean:
- Ryan Block - AOL's VP of Product, whom you might know better as one of Engadget's former editors-in-chief.
- Gerard Furbershaw - Co-founded and COO of San Francisco design firm LUNAR, whose past clients include Apple, HP, Microsoft, Philips and Sony.
- Jim Newton - Chairman and founder of TechShop, a chain of workshops equipped with industrial equipment that members can use to build whatever they want.
- Danae Ringelmann - Founder and Chief Development Officer of a crowdfunding website we're sure you all know by now: Indiegogo.
- Ben Heck - Tinkerer, console modder and host of element 14's The Ben Heck Show.
- Hilary Mason - Ex-chief scientist at URL shortener Bitly and current Data Scientist in Residence of VC firm Accel Partners.
- Peter Rojas - AOL Brand Group's VP of Strategy and co-founder of both Engadget and Gizmodo.