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2021 GeekWire Awards revealed: Big winners, surprise guests, and the best in Pacific NW tech

Among the winners on the 2021 GeekWire Awards throughout their digital acceptance speeches on Thursday. (GeekWire video display grabs)

It’s been a troublesome 12 months for folks all over the place. However Thursday proved to be an inspiring day, because the 2021 GeekWire Awards returned to honor a few of the main innovators and entrepreneurs who make up the Pacific Northwest tech group.

In one other digital occasion — which everybody hopes would be the final of the pandemic — GeekWire acknowledged greater than 60 finalists and honorees throughout 14 classes, from Startup of the Yr to CEO of the Yr and plenty in between.

The occasion featured numerous superstar cameos and entertaining moments all through the present, with video greetings from Sue Fowl of the Seattle Storm, Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks, and “The Workplace” actor Rainn Wilson. Singing sensation “The Drunken Tenor” additionally returned for a dizzying run-though of all of the nominees whereas he hustled round Seattle and again to our livestream residence base at Pacific Science Middle.

Of our 16 winners and honorees, eight are ladies, together with our three STEM Educators of the Yr — a brand new award. And 5 are folks of shade and/or immigrant entrepreneurs.

Preserve studying for all of the winners, honorees and acceptance speeches from the 2021 GeekWire Awards, offered by Wave Business:

Startup of the Yr, offered by West River Group

Winner: SeekOut

Anoop Gupta, co-founder and CEO of SeekOut, accepts the primary award of the night time on Thursday through video hyperlink.

Seattle-area startup SeekOut raised $65 million in March to gasoline progress of its recruiting software program that’s like LinkedIn on steroids. It pulls data on potential hires from websites reminiscent of LinkedIn and GitHub; from analysis papers and patents; and different public domains. The platform has built-in range filters to assist cut back unconscious bias; an automatic messaging instrument; and a search engine that understands previous hiring patterns and wishes primarily based on job descriptions. The Collection B spherical valued the corporate at near $500 million. SeekOut is worthwhile and noticed annual recurring income spike 10X over the previous 21 months.

Acceptance speech: “Thanks a lot, we’re so delighted. It’s nice,” co-founder and CEO Anoop Gupta stated. “We’re in expertise acquisition. The place we’re headed is, individuals are an important asset any firm has. How we might help firms do one of the best with inner and exterior expertise — to develop, to rent, to retain, to redeploy. We’re the folks firm.”

See this submit for extra background on this class. Different finalists: Widespread Room; Ozette; Shelf Engine; and Strike Graph.

Younger Entrepreneur of the Yr, offered by First Tech

Winner: Stephanie Strong, founder and CEO of Boulder Care

Stephanie Robust, founder and CEO of Boulder Care.

Stephanie Strong is the founder and CEO of Boulder Care, an app-based dependancy therapy program for these affected by opioid use dysfunction. A substitute for brick-and-mortar clinics, Boulder goals to offer sufferers help when and the place they want it. The Portland-based startup is constructing out each a digital platform and a medical care crew. Robust beforehand was an affiliate specializing in healthcare providers and expertise at a New York enterprise capital agency. She was a Forbes 30 underneath 30 honoree in healthcare in 2019 and graduated from Duke College’s Sanford College of Public Coverage.

Acceptance speech: “Our mission is to assist folks via some actually difficult occasions, via dependancy and psychological well being,” Robust stated. “All of us have been examined a lot on this final 12 months, bringing a whole lot of empathy and consciousness to our trigger, however maybe not more than our crew who’ve labored so exhausting via all the things that has come from COVID-19.”

Robust informed GeekWire co-founder and Awards host John Cook dinner how she got here up with the concept for Boulder.

“Seeing lots firsthand in my work in healthcare providers investing, what number of obstacles there are to getting therapy when we’ve unbelievable medical fashions and psychosocial help that assist folks get properly … the super energy of expertise to assist make these providers extra accessible so that individuals can stay superb lives in restoration.

See this submit for extra background on this class. Different finalists: Aran Khanna; Avi Schiffmann; Kwame Boler and Claudius Mbemba; and Michael Petrochuk.

Deal of the Yr – IPOs & Acquisitions, offered by Wilson Sonsini

Winner: Auth0

Eugenio Tempo, Auth0 founder and CEO.

Auth0, the billion-dollar Seattle-area startup that could be a chief in id authentication software program, is being acquired by Okta, one other chief within the house, the businesses introduced earlier this 12 months. The all-stock deal valued at roughly $6.5 billion is likely one of the largest acquisitions of a Seattle tech firm. Auth0 was co-founded in 2013 by Eugenio Pace, who previously ran the patterns and practices group at Microsoft, and Matias Woloski, a software program engineer who stays the corporate’s CTO. The startup raised a $120 million spherical in July at a $1.9 billion valuation, making it a uncommon Seattle unicorn.

Acceptance speech: “Thanks very a lot for the popularity, that is definitely an enormous milestone for us, however a milestone will not be the vacation spot it’s only a milestone in a protracted, lengthy journey that we see in entrance of us,” Tempo stated. “We’re actually happy with calling the Pacific Northwest residence, and actually trying ahead to what’s subsequent for us.”

See this submit for extra background on this class. Different finalists: Accolade; Athira Pharma; Rover; and Sana Biotechnology.

Deal of the Yr – Funding, offered by Wilson Sonsini

Winner: Rad Power Bikes

Rad Energy Bikes CFO Mark Klebanoff.

After a pandemic 12 months that spurred large demand for its e-bikes, Seattle’s Rad Energy Bikes raised $150 million to gasoline progress. It’s the most important funding in an e-bike model and displays investor confidence in a world electrical bike market expected to nearly double in size to $70 billion by 2027. From its humble bootstrapped roots, Rad now payments itself as the most important e-bike model in North America.

The recent money might be used to assist develop its international footprint, which incorporates three showrooms and 11 service stations. The corporate, headquartered in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, additionally plans to double its 325-person headcount this 12 months.

Acceptance speech: “At Rad Energy Bikes, we’re all about getting folks out of automobiles and onto bikes and that’s what this fundraising is all about,” stated Rad CFO Mark Klebanoff. “It’s good to speed up our enterprise, to get our collective mobility carbon footprint down.”

See this submit for extra background on this class. Different finalists: 98point6; DefinedCrowd; Qumulo; and Rec Room.

Innovation of the Yr, offered by Wave Business

Winner: Vikram Iyer, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering

Vikram Iyer of the College of Washington.

A PhD scholar on the College of Washington within the Paul G. Allen College of Pc Science & Engineering’s Networks and Cellular Methods Lab, Vikram Iyer is utilizing tiny tech to unravel huge issues. Iyer has beforehand connected a small wi-fi digital camera to the again of a beetle and developed tiny sensors that may be dropped from moths. His efforts round monitoring expertise helped inform the seek for an invasive “homicide hornet” nest in Northwest Washington state final fall.

Acceptance speech: “A part of what I labored on right here was this platform that permits you to observe every kind of small animals,” Iyer stated. “It may very well be actually helpful for learning issues like birds and lots of different species that individuals haven’t been capable of do a lot analysis on up to now. I additionally suppose that there’s a whole lot of functions going ahead with this similar kind of expertise for actually small robots as properly. I’m enthusiastic about prospects sooner or later for each of these.”

See this submit for extra background on this class. Different finalists: Group14 Applied sciences; Institute for Protein Design on the College of Washington; LevelTen Vitality; CoreStack

Well being Innovation of the Yr, offered by Premera Blue Cross

Winner: Adaptive Biotechnologies

Lance Baldo, chief medical officer at Adaptive Biotechnologies.

Adaptive Biotechnologies developed a first-of-its variety diagnostic instrument referred to as T-Detect COVID. The expertise surveys an individual’s T-cells to find out in the event that they’ve had COVID-19, which is a extra correct solution to get a solution than utilizing antibodies for detecting previous infections.

Acceptance speech: “Thanks for acknowledging Adaptive and all the good work that we’ve executed right here and all the opposite finalists for all the good improvements being introduced ahead within the midst of a pandemic,” stated Lance Baldo, chief medical officer at Adaptive. “To our associate Microsoft for happening this journey with us, we knew that it was potential that T cells may inform us one thing about COVID, however we weren’t certain, and by chance that speculation was appropriate.

“The pandemic put expertise and innovation underneath a lot strain that the innovation that we’ve developed right here goes to simply play ahead to the long run after we take into consideration how we’re going to determine the right way to higher diagnose and deal with illness. As dangerous because the pandemic been, it’s absolute an absolute accelerant for innovation. We’re simply excited to see the place this goes.”

See this submit for extra background on this class. Different finalists: Impel NeuroPharma; Optimize.well being; Proprio; and TwinStrand Biosciences.

UX Design of the Yr, offered by Blink UX

Winner: Joon

A Pioneer Sq. Labs spinout, Joon supplies teletherapy for teenagers and younger adults through a cell app. Along with remedy classes, the startup provides interactive psychological healthcare instruments for customers and sources for folks and guardians. Awards judges referred to as the product UX “easy, trust-building and affirming for pandemic-weary teenage customers” and stated Joon “offers them each day instruments to make use of together with one-on-one remedy classes.

Acceptance speech: (Design director Joon Shin was not within the Awards Zoom on account of a GeekWire technical error, however despatched alongside this be aware.) “Thanks a lot! I’d first prefer to say, I like that GeekWire has a devoted award for design. It’s such a vital a part of an organization’s success and I’m glad that it’s getting the popularity it deserves.

“Secondly, I do know folks at Joon are tuned in proper now so shout out to everybody at Joon Care. Most of our design is a collaborative effort, and I feel it says one thing in regards to the folks at Joon every time we do get acknowledged for it.

“And lastly, I’ve seen Joon Care evolve from the very starting – at PSL and now as a part of the core crew. I’m excited to see how our society is changing into extra conscious of adolescent psychological well being, and the way individuals are recognizing the necessity for a singular method to help the growing minds. And I’m simply so pleased to be a part of this effort. Most significantly, seeing that our work actually helps our shoppers via information is such an important feeling. We’re nonetheless very younger and there’s a lot extra to come back. So keep tuned for extra superior work from Joon Care. And thanks once more a lot!”

See this submit for extra background on this class. Different finalists: Boundless; Qumulo: Qumulo Core; Tagboard: Tagboard Producer; and Voodle.

STEM Educator of the Yr, offered by DreamBox Learning

Honorees: Lauren Bricker, Cathi Rodgveller, and Kim Williams.

GeekWire has highlighted and infinite variety of tireless educators over time who’re nurturing the subsequent technology of geeks. This 12 months, we have been excited to announce a brand new award to acknowledge a choose group of the Pacific Northwest’s prime academics. The inaugural cohort is a powerful assortment of educators who’re inspiring younger minds to realize extra within the areas of science, expertise, engineering and math. They arrive from universities, public faculties and nonprofits, and are working with children from elementary college into school and supporting fellow academics as properly. The honorees are:

  • Lauren Bricker, Paul G. Allen College of Pc Science & Engineering, College of Washington.
  • Cathi Rodgveller, CEO and founding father of IGNITE Worldwide.
  • Kim Williams, science division head, science membership college advisor at Cougar Mountain Center College.

See this submit for and this podcast extra background on this class.

Geeks Give Again Award, offered by BECU

Winner: Female Founders Alliance

Feminine Founders Alliance founder Leslie Feinzaig.

Seattle’s Feminine Founders Alliance is a company based by Leslie Feinzaig in 2017 that helps ladies and non-binary entrepreneurs. Its Prepared, Set, Increase accelerator attracts startups from across the nation, and every year FFA hosts its annual Champions Awards to have a good time ladies leaders. The alliance has its personal “curated” networking group particularly for founders and a personal FFA Buyers Circle for enterprise capital funds and angel buyers supporting the group.

Acceptance speech: “Thanks to my crew, our advisors, buyers, all the superb ladies which can be part of our group. I wish to say that although that is the Geeks Give Again award, and usually it goes to a nonprofit, that ladies founders usually are not a charitable trigger, we’re an investable alternative,” Feinzaig stated. “We get 2% of all enterprise capital. We return 63% increased ROI and twice as a lot income for each greenback you spend money on us.

“Eight years in the past, Jane Park gained CEO of the Yr and he or she obtained on stage and he or she stated that she was searching for product managers and he or she stated her e-mail, and I emailed her and I obtained a job. That was my first startup job. So I’m going to say that we’re hiring and so is each firm in our group, [email protected] Attain out to me, I wish to hear from you.”

See this submit for extra background on this class. Different finalists: Ada Builders Academy; Recreation to Develop; Geeking Out Children of Coloration (GOKiC); and iUrban Teen.

Hardware/Gadget of the Yr, offered by ALLTech

Winner: Deako

Derek Richardson, founder and CEO of Deako.

Seattle-based Deako’s “plug and play” mild switches enable homebuilders and householders to simply swap in high-tech, remotely managed lighting. Its expertise works off a house’s present wiring and lets homebuilders market their tasks as good houses, with out a whole lot of upfront value. “Our core worth proposition is we make it tremendous easy for householders to personalize their residence lighting in actually cool and highly effective methods,” stated COO Wes Nicol.

Acceptance speech: “We’re honored to be acknowledged with this award,” Deako founder and CEO Derek Richardson stated. “We’re nonetheless simply rising and increasing. We simply did our Collection B funding. So we’re simply actually scaling the corporate now in a big method, hiring and increasing our product strains.”

See this submit for extra background on this class. Different finalists: Aerovel; Echodyne; MagniX; and Picnic.

Subsequent Tech Titan, offered by BCRA

Winner: Zenoti

Sudheer Koneru, Zenoti CEO.

Zenoti reeled in a $160 million Collection D spherical to hitch the Seattle startup ecosystem’s record of elusive unicorns and supercharge its enterprise software program product, which is utilized by greater than 12,000 spas, salons, and different wellness companies throughout the globe. The Bellevue, Wash-based firm joins an elite group startups valued at greater than $1 billion, together with six — Convoy, Auth0, Outreach, Qumulo, Remitly, Icertis — that reached “unicorn” standing over the previous two years.

Acceptance speech: “Thanks lots for the popularity and the award,” stated Zenoti CEO Sudheer Koneru. “We’re within the enterprise of serving to the wonder trade and the wellness trade. We expect it is a lovely trade as a result of it helps folks really feel good, it’s not nearly trying good. We love the house and trade and we predict it serves an enormous function in folks’s lives.”

See this submit for extra background on this class. Different finalists:; Highspot; Icertis; and Remitly.

Office of the Yr, offered by JLL

Winner: Remitly

Remitly CEO Matt Oppenheimer.

After a 12 months during which the definition of “office” turned particularly fluid, our understanding of what makes for an important place to work shifted as radically because the bodily areas we’ve inhabited in the course of the pandemic. Remitly added further holidays to the calendar to present workers one lengthy weekend monthly till its anticipated return-to-office date, to advertise self-care and wellness. To help with the transition to working from residence, all of Remitly’s company workers acquired a $500 stipend to assist with prices related to getting their residence workplace arrange, childcare prices, homeschooling, and extra.

Acceptance speech: “I simply wish to say an enormous thanks on behalf of crew Remitly for this recognition. This award particularly simply places an enormous, large smile on my face,” CEO Matt Oppenheimer stated. “Everybody at this occasion as we speak has clearly been impacted by the continued pandemic and it has actually reworked the way in which we work, the way in which we be taught, and even household dynamics for thus many people. So it’s no small process for employers to navigate the precise method to supporting workers throughout this extremely necessary time with a lot change and uncertainty. … I really feel tremendous fortunate to work on this group the place folks matter, the place workers are stepping up and simply fully inspiring methods.

“I simply wish to say an enormous due to the Remitly crew for being actually simply open and direct about your experiences during the last 12 months, and letting us know actually how we are able to help you, so thanks particularly to our HR crew for all the empathetic partnership throughout your complete firm during the last 12 months.”

See this submit for extra background on this class. Different finalists: Lions + Tigers; Omnidian; Hiya; and Blink UX.

Startup CEO of the Yr

Winner: Alessya Visnjic, co-founder & CEO of WhyLabs

Alessya Visnjic, co-founder and CEO of WhyLabs.

WhyLabs spun out Seattle’s Allen Institute for Synthetic Intelligence final fall and raised $four million for its AI information monitoring platform. The startup is led by CEO Alessya Visnjic, a College of Washington grad who spent eight years at Amazon serving to the tech large develop its machine studying infrastructure. She stated she left the tech large in 2017 “with a imaginative and prescient to allow each enterprise to function AI reliably.”

Acceptance speech: “I’m so delighted and honored to be thought-about and nominated. And I’m completely in disbelief to be profitable,” Visnjic stated. “WhyLabs wouldn’t be potential with out the superb WhyLabs crew, my unbelievable household and we’re excited at WhyLabs to proceed constructing instruments that make AI extra sturdy and accountable.”