Company: Helio, Los Angeles, CA
Company Description: Helio is a different kind of mobile company focused on the people the big carriers forgot about. We have two brands: Helio, dedicated to giving young, passionate people the type of wireless experience they’ve been waiting for; and, Helio powered by SK Telecom, the only mobile service in the U.S. custom-built for Korean speakers with Korean language devices, services and support.
Nomination Category: Company, Office & Product Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best New Company
Nomination Title: Helio: Don't Call Us a Phone Company.
1. Tell the story about what this nominated company achieved in the past year (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:
Helio is a different kind of mobile company focused on the people the big
carriers forgot about. We have two brands. Helio is a premium mobile service
dedicated to giving young, passionate people the type of wireless experience
they’ve been waiting for. Helio powered by SK Telecom is the only mobile
service in the U.S. custom-built for Korean speakers with Korean language
devices, services and support. Rather than off-the-shelf “phones” you can get
from any carrier and me-too services, Helio is all about high-end, exclusive
devices that blur the line between fashion and technology, and inspired first-
to-market services like MySpace Mobile and GPS-enabled Google Maps that keep
people connected in unique ways, all running over a nationwide high-speed 3G
network…that means lightning fast downloads, streaming video, full track over
the air music, Internet access and much more. Helio is a joint venture
between SK Telecom, one of the world's most innovative wireless carriers, and
EarthLink. Helio has a relentless focus on bringing a stream of
differentiated mobile devices and services to the U.S. first, all specifically
engineered for our members.
Helio launched in May 2006 and in less than one year has rocked the wireless
industry, rolling out four premium exclusive devices and numerous U.S. firsts:
• First MySpace Mobile social networking service, untethering the
MySpace world and making it about what you’re doing right now rather than what
you did last night
• First idle-mode content application (Helio On Top) across all devices,
offering customizable live content feeds sent directly to a device for click-
free access to updates from CNN, Fox Sports, MTV News, MySpace, Surfline and
• First "Gifting & Begging" across all downloadable content, allowing
members to virally share favorite songs, videos and ringtones
• First All-In pricing standardized across all plans, just pick the
number of minutes to talk and all data like texting, Internet access and
streaming video is included
• First to target Korean American consumers with custom devices &
• First Buddy Beacon friend finder by a carrier, using GPS to let
members broadcast their locations to each other
• First GPS-enabled Google Maps application including real-time traffic
updates, localized search, turn-by-turn directions and crisp movable maps for
In 2006 our staff grew more than 250%. Helio employees (Helions) are
connected people who are passionate about mobile and staying in touch with
their friends, just like Helio members. Given the increasingly competitive
labor market and the fact that wireless is not a traditionally large industry
in L.A., this growth was not easy. Our employment tagline, “Don’t call it a
job,” capture’s Helio’s employment mission of offering an experience that re-
defines work through fun, exciting and never-been-done activities focused on a
connected way of life and ever present community. That mission has enabled us
to successfully meet our staffing goals.
Helio Stores are currently open in Santa Monica, Denver, San Diego and Palo
Alto, offering an entirely new wireless retail experience. If you want to
wait in line, go to one of the other guys’ stores, or better yet, the DMV. If
you want to hang in the Helio Store lounge, check your MySpace page, see all
the latest content and check out new devices, Helio Stores are the place.
Unlike traditional transactional wireless shops, Helio Stores put the guest at
the center of the experience. Conceived with influences from the hottest
nightclubs and boutiques, and focused on personalized service, Helio Stores
feature intimate pods that replace the rows of drone phone displays found at
traditional stores. Pods are an integrated environment where visitors sample
live devices and services, learn about Helio memberships, accessorize and sign
up without ever having to wait in line at a cash register.
2. List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, [http://www.youraddress.com]:
3. Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader of this nominated company:
Sky Dayton, Helio’s CEO, founded EarthLink in 1994 at the age of 23, helping
usher in the Internet revolution. He founded Boingo Wireless in 2001, and in
1999, with former Disney Internet chief Jake Winebaum, started eCompanies, an
Internet incubator and venture fund that launched several successful recent
ventures, including JAMDAT Mobile, LowerMyBills and Business.com.
Sky graduated from the Delphian School in Oregon in 1988 and chose to forgo
college to pursue his interests in business and technology, founding a
computer graphics boutique and a popular coffeehouse in West Hollywood prior
to founding EarthLink.
Sky was named one of BusinessWeek's top entrepreneurs and chosen as the
University of Southern California's entrepreneur of the year. He has been
featured in Fortune, Forbes, WIRED, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, CNN and many
Sky serves on the boards of HELIO, EarthLink, Business.com and on the advisory
board of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of
Government at Harvard University.
An avid surfer, he resides in Santa Monica, Calif., with his wife, novelist
Arwen Elys Dayton and their three children.