Insights from 2013 Powerful Answers Sustainability Winners

In line with Verizon’s commitment to environmental responsibility, several of the 2013 Powerful Answers Award sustainability winners recently visited Verizon headquarters in Basking Ridge, N.J., to share information about their products and solutions.

David Mahfouda, CEO of Bandwagon, a ride-sharing app that’s paving the way for the future of social transportation, and Cindy Hallberlin, president and CEO of Good360, a nonprofit leader in product philanthropy, represented two of the winners. They also provided an update on progress they have made since being named Powerful Answers Award winners in January.  


Q:  What’s changed for you since winning the Powerful Answers Award in January?

David: With the money we received ($700,000 as a third place winner), we’ve been able to more than double our team, which allows us to focus on building the product and making it better. And, we’re in the early stages of a partnership deal, which we’ll be excited to announce in the near future.

Cindy: Since winning the Award ($850,000 as a second place winner), Good360 has enjoyed more credibility and influence as a company, which has enabled us to put together a strong disaster recovery board to help guide us as we grow.


Q: Where do you see the sustainability industry in 10 years?

Cindy: In 10 years, Good360 will have changed the way a disaster is handled and product philanthropy will be as common as everyday recycling.


Q:  How did you hear about the award?

David: We heard about the award through our incubator, ACRE, the accelerator for a clean and resilient economy in New York City. 

Cindy: Word of mouth, actually. A friend of mine happened to forward me an email with information about the contest, and the rest is history.


Q:  How did you feel about the award submission and presentation processes?

David: The process was pretty straightforward and actually really fun. I enjoyed going out to Palo Alto, Calif., and giving a presentation in front of a respected panel of expert judges. In fact, Gary Shapiro, the president and CEO of CES, was one of the judges and meeting him resulted in a big promotion at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, which was incredible visibility for us.


Q: Any advice for 2014 entrants?

David:  Apply! And make a strong business case for your idea. Think about the real-world implementation and clearly identify the impact it can have.

Cindy: Take it seriously! Take care to be accurate and complete in your first round submissions and dive into it with your heart and soul. I know we did and it certainly paid off.  

Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award aims to discover ideas that deliver the best new solutions in four core areas: education, healthcare, sustainability and transportation. First-round submissions will be accepted through June 30, 2014. They will be judged by panels of industry experts, and winners will be announced in early 2015.

Visit for details and to submit your idea. Follow the journey via Twitter using the hashtag #VZPAA.