Envision an hourglass with the sand pouring down. When all the sand rounds out, it’ll be too late to nominate your company (or your favorite startup) for the Clouded Leopards Den 2015 prize for outstanding cloud innovation. The deadline is midnight on Monday, Feb. 23. If you haven’t nominated your favorite startup, don’t delay. Click here to do so right now – it takes only a few moments.

The Clouded Leopards Den prize, sponsored by the CloudEthernet Forum, is looking for the greatest innovators in the cloud. Nominees are evaluated in several rounds, first with a panel of expert media judges, and then by a “clouded” group of venture capitalists, technologists and business angels whose names will be released later.

The judging kicks off right after the close of nominations on Monday, Feb. 23. There’s an excellent mix of nominees already in the competition — won’t you join them?

The Clouded Leopards Den 2015 prize was inspired, in part, by television shows like the BBC’s Dragon’s Den, and Shark Tank in the United States. However, unlike the TV shows, the winners of the Clouded Leopards Den will be named at a live event, the Global Cloud Innovation Summit, Apr. 23-24 near San Francisco.

The Clouded Leopards Den competition has two categories of entries (and thus, two winners). The first is for early-stage startups, seeking Series A funding. The second is for later-stage startups that are pre-IPO, and which are seeking Series B/C funding.

The prizes:

• Start-ups will receive immediate exposure to global press
• Start-ups will not have to spend excess amounts of money, it guarantees them free publicity
• Finalists will be mentored by a top VC and/or entrepreneur
• Finalists will gain global recognition from all the publicity received
• Winners will receive CEF membership for a year along with mentoring and privileged access to the CEF’s technical initiatives and developments such as the CloudE 1.0 reference architecture and OpenCloud Project lab facilities.
• Start-ups will have the opportunity to network with MEF and/or CEF at quarterly meetings
• Start-ups will be able to have their own input into technical committee meetings

We are proud to announce the outstanding group of media judges for the initial phases of the Clouded Leopards Den 2015 prize: Marcus Austin, Cloud Computing Intelligence; Keith Griffiths, SDX Central; Hector Pizarro, DiarioTi; Wayne Rash, eWEEK; Jeff Seal, Telecom Review; Jean-Baptiste Su, Forbes; Melina Vicario, TyN Magazine; and Alan Zeichick, Camden Associates.

Nominations are accepted for the Clouded Leopards Den 2015 through midnight on Monday, Feb. 23. Click here for the entry form.

The Clouded Leopards Den 2015 on Twitter @CloudLeopardDen, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cloudedleopardsden, on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/u/0/100250558688719993929/, and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/5069066.