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CTA’s Innovation Entrepreneur Awards Honor Excellence


Each year, i3 and the CTA Small Business Council honor inspiring startups and small businesses leading the consumer technology industry with the Innovation Entrepreneur Awards – or IEAs. This year’s winners exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit by making consumers’ lives better. They accepted their awards at CTA’s Innovate Celebrate conference in Boston. The IEAs recognize three companies with revenues under $30 million: one outstanding executive leader, a small business that demonstrates innovation and a startup with a unique business model.

Eugene Tsyrklevich: Entrepreneur of the Year

After struggling to find parking in San Fransisco, Eugene Tsyrklevich looked for a solution. Tsyrklevich founded, selffunded and runs Parkopedia, a mobile app that allows drivers to find and pay for parking spaces. The app is available in 8,000 cities across 75 countries. The company collaborates with the biggest automotive, mapping and navigation companies like BMW, Mazda and Garmin. Tsyrklevich didn’t get here alone, thanks to the help of his roughly 100-person staff. At Parkopedia, he has created a culture with open communication and doughnut-filled mentor meetings, while offering his staff paid time off to volunteer. Tsyrklevich said his leadership style is inspired by his childhood in Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe. “I’ve seen firsthand the impact of charity,” he said. “We try to give back whenever we can, however we can.” He added, “One of the biggest changes that we see coming is in autonomous cars where the vehicles will park themselves. We are developing the technology and functionality that goes into that so it’s  groundbreaking and very exciting.” 

Qardio: Small Business of the Year

Qardio set out with a lofty goal: eliminate heart disease. While ambitious, Qardio is on the right track, transforming health care with its unmatched hardware and apps providing medical-grade data for doctors. Qardio sells three products: a smart blood pressure monitor, a smart scale and body analyzer and a wireless electrocardiography monitor – the first of its kind. Each product gives doctors remote access to pre-analyzed information they can reliably use to make diagnoses and check-ups. Founded by Marco Peluso and Rosario Iannella, Qardio was created after Peluso’s father suffered a stroke. Without access to the right information, it took doctors months to determine its cause. “Qardio wants to bridge the gap between wellness products and true medical assistance,” said Alexis Zervoglos, Qardio’s chief business officer. “We’re taking wellness and turning it into health and we believe that is a massive trend.”

Benjilock: Startup of the Year

From an ambitious student from the Dominican Republic to a contestant on the show Shark Tank, Robbie Cabral – the founder, CEO and inventor of Benjilock – has seen his company skyrocket. His device, a rechargeable padlock with biometric fingerprint technology, quickly gained attention at CES and was named a CTA Innovation Awards honoree. Cabral then appeared on Shark Tank, where his company received a $200,000 investment from venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary. Benjilock has partnered with Hampton hotels and Ace Hardware, while also seeing strong success on the consumer market. But for Cabral, the best part has been the chance to pass his success on to his family and employees. “When I came to America, I knocked on a lot of doors and now I’m going to be able to give a yes to someone who wants a job,” he said. “That is a very rewarding experience.”


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