Denver startup Blinker wins SXSW Interactive Innovation Award

AUSTIN — Denver startup Blinker took home the prestigious SXSW Interactive Innovation Award in the New Economy category Tuesday.

Blinker and Tokken, another Denver-based company, were among 65 finalists in 13 categories.

Both are in the ‘New Economy’ category, which highlights companies that embrace new ways of exchanging goods and services.

“We believe we have a really good chance of winning this,” Andrew Price, Blinker’s vice president of marketing, said ahead of the 6:30 ceremony. “We’re doing a really exciting thing with Blinker.”

Blinker aims to cut out the middle man in auto sales, allowing buyers and sellers to do everything on their smartphones.

A seller can take a photo and list their car and Blinker takes care of advertising it. Then, potential buyers can set up test drives and get approved for financing all through the app.

Price said he thinks the stiffest competition will come from the other Denver start-up also up for the award.

Tokken is a payment app targeted toward cash-based businesses like those that are a part of Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.

Because marijuana is still illegal according to federal law, traditional banks won’t do business with marijuana retailers.

Tokken gives such businesses an app-based banking system that also takes payments from customers.

“I do think we have an amazingly unique product to support a new, burgeoning industry,” Tokken’s CEO Lamine Zarrad, said. “It’s an incredible honor for such a young startup like Tokken to receive this level of recognition from SXSW. We’re competing against very well-funded, mature, and talented companies. We’re elated that we can hang with the big dogs.”

Both Blinker and Tokken launched last year.

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