Intelius founder Naveen Jain has never been one to celebrate venture capitalists, choosing some less than savory words to describe the money movers. But the Internet entrepreneur is taking a page out of the venture capital playbook in order to make sure that Intelius remains at the cutting-edge, with a program dubbed the iPrize.
Employees of Intelius, the online identity company that Jain founded in 2003, can win up to $100,000 in cash for new innovative ideas. This marks the second year for the iPrize, with the first place team receiving $50,000. The second place finisher gets $20,000, while third place earns $10,000. Teams are judged by an expert panel, with the Huffington Post reporting that past ideas have included mobile apps and customer relationship management software.
Jain was traveling and could not comment in great detail about the iPrize program, but the idea is that the innovations could lead to new products at Intelius or help the company become more efficient. Jain called it a way to celebrate “employees for their innovation and entrepreneurship.” The next round of awards will be handed out in Bellevue on June 28th.
Jain has some experience with the concept since he sits on the board of the X Prize Foundation, a non-profit group whose mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs in science and engineering. A controversial figure in the Seattle tech community, Jain explained the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation to VentureBeat in an interview last summer.
“I find that if I can use the innovation and entrepreneurship to make an impact on billion people’s life I will have done the best I could do in terms of giving back and pay my debts,” said Jain, adding that “there’s no problem that’s large enough that could not be solved through innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Previously on GeekWire: Intelius CEO Naveen Jain: IPO could be in the cards in 2012