RootsTech has announced that it is offering $25,000 in cash prizes to encourage development of cool new family history apps and technology. “The contest will culminate with a hybrid Shark Tank, America’s Got Talent-like live event where judges and thousands of viewers will decide the winners,” said Paul Nauta, FamilySearch spokesperson. The event will occur 13 February 2015. “A panel of five genealogy, technology, and business gurus will judge four finalists from around the world in a showdown at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah,” said Nauta.
The first prize award is $10,000, second prize is $7,000, and third prize is $3,000. The People’s Choice award, determined by audience voting, will be $5,000.
A marketing research firm studied potential product ideas by conferring with 11 senior executives of family history organizations. Three were from Ancestry.com, one from MyHeritage, one from BrightSolid, two from FindMyPast, two from FamilySearch, one is from the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and one was the managing director (i.e., president) of FamilySearch. The study showed that the older, niche target of record-oriented genealogists and historians represent just 1% of the potential market. As the current market is worth $4 billion, the potential market is $400 billion.
The potential market consists of people who are “generally younger, digital, tech savy, socially connected, mobile and experience driven,” according to the study. They are unwilling to invest the time and effort in traditional research like searching for names and dates, but still want to experience what traditional researchers want: “content that fosters joyful, shared and satisfying family history experiences that bond generations.”