We had a blast at last night’s big GeekWire Awards celebration, partying with more than 750 folks from the tech community as we handed out awards in 14 categories. It was an epic night for us, and thank you so much to everyone who came out.
You can check out some of the scene in our photo gallery, but for those who wanted to see what the winners had to say after taking home the “Golden Joystick” trophy, check out the acceptance speeches below.
Startup Deal of the Year, presented by UK Trade & Investment
Winner: Zulily (Award accepted by CEO Darrell Cavens)
The fast-growing daily deal site for kid’s apparel, toys and more raised $85 million from Andreessen Horowitz and others last fall at a whopping $1 billion valuation. Zulily already has more than 10 million members using the service, and it’s expanding its operations in Seattle with plans to take over portions of the RealNetworks building.
App of the Year, presented by Fresh Consulting
Winner: Haiku Deck (Award accepted by CEO Adam Tratt)
This app makes it easy to create and share presentations using Apple’s iPad.
Haiku Deck, from a group of Seattle startup mainstays, demonstrates the growing power and unique capabilities of tablets for everyday productivity. Released last fall to strong reviews, the app was spotlighted by Apple and quickly rose up the charts of top-selling iPad apps. Not resting on their laurels, the Haiku Deck team released a significant update in March, including the ability to add charts, graphs and bulleted or numbered lists of up to five items, plus image editing.
Perk of the Year, presented by Kibble & Prentice
Winner: SEOmoz (Award accepted by CEO Rand Fishkin)
The SEO titan gives employees a $3,000 stipend that can only be spent on vacation, and that was perky enough to win this new GeekWire Awards category.
Do-Gooder of the Year, presented by Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Winner: Edward Jiang, StudentRND
Edward Jiang hasn’t yet made it through the University of Washington, but he’s still stirring up the entrepreneurial community in a big way. The 21-year-old Jiang is the co-founder of StudentRND, a non-profit organization which hosts weekend hackathons and tech incubator programs for entrepreneurial high school and college kids.
Startup CEO of the Year, presented by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Winner: Sam Blackman, Elemental Technologies (Award accepted on his behalf is Jesse Rosenzweig, Elemental CTO)
Sam Blackman’s Elemental Technologies has already drawn comparisons to Isilon, the Seattle-based storage company that sold to EMC for $2.25 billion. In fact, Isilon co-founder Sujal Patel joined the board of the Portland startup last year, shortly after Blackman reeled in $13 million in venture capital (even though he didn’t need the money). Blackman previously worked at Pixelworks, Silicon Graphics and Intel. Elemental’s services are now powering offerings such as HBO GO and Comcast Xfinity.
Game of the Year, presented by Filter
Winner: Halo 4 (Award accepted by Chris Lee, the director of production for Halo 4)
Microsoft proved that Halo has a life beyond Bungie last fall with the release of Halo 4. It was the first game in the blockbuster franchise to be developed by Microsoft’s own 343 Industries, which took over from the original Halo developer after Bungie spun off from the Redmond company. And the new Halo for Xbox 360 debuted to a big audience, setting a record of $220 million in sales on its first day alone.
Bootstrapper of the Year, presented by HasOffers
Winner: Matthew Matsudaira, Adorii
The developer of the daily deal site for weddings isn’t married to the idea of bootstrapping long-term, but CEO Matthew Matsudaira said it did help the startup get off the ground. “It allowed us to be agile and move quickly to deliver an (minimum viable product) to the marketplace,” he says. Adorii is trying to make weddings more affordable, offering discounts of as much as 80 percent on selected goods and services.
Innovation of the Year, presented by Intellectual Ventures
Winner: Puzzazz TouchWrite (Award accepted by Puzzazz founder Roy Leban)
Handwriting recognition on iOS? Yep, Redmond-based startup Puzzazz released its TouchWrite technology for iPhone and iPad as part of its digital puzzle bookstore for the Apple platform last fall. TouchWrite lets users draw a character across the top of the screen, then recognizes the letter and places a digital version in the active cell of the puzzle. It can work with a variety of handwriting styles and doesn’t require users to learn any special style of writing. The feature turns on automatically when the on-screen keyboard is turned off. It’s a unique feature of the Puzzazz puzzle books, and for now, founder Roy Leban says Puzzazz doesn’t have plans to license it to others.
Geekiest Office Space, presented by Knoll
Winner: Killer Infographics (Accepted by co-founder Amy Balliett)
Hire of the Year, presented by Summit Group Solutions
Winner: Charlie Kindel, Amazon
We’re still not sure what secretive project that Charlie Kindel was hired to work on at Amazon.com. But the former Microsoft Windows Phone general manager will certainly be one to watch at the online retailer. Kindel left Microsoft in 2011 to create his own startup, BizLogr. And then on April 1st of this year he announced his new gig at Amazon in a blog post. “Amazon presented an opportunity to build something new that has ginormous potential. I simply couldn’t pass the opportunity up,” he wrote.
Next Tech Titan, presented by Wave Business Solutions
Winner: Zulily (Award accepted by CEO Darrell Cavens)
While daily deal sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial have faltered, Zulily has continued to grow its e-commerce business with a laser focus on providing unique products to busy moms. With more than 600 employees, Zulily raised $85 million at a $1 billion valuation last year from Silicon Valley power broker Andreessen Horowitz. At the time of funding, it had more than 10 million members. It’s now eyeing an expansion in Seattle, looking to take over a large chunk of the RealNetworks buildingon Elliott Avenue. Founded by former Blue Nile execs Mark Vadon and Darrell Cavens, the office move would mark its fifth in four years.
Geek of the Year, presented by Barokas PR
Winner: Oren Etzioni (University of Washington) and Rebecca Gardner (Seattle Children’s Research Institute)
A GeekWire Awards first: A tie!
Two winners here and they are both equally excellent. Etzioni, a University of Washington computer scientist and serial entrepreneur, has a knack for building businesses based on complex algorithms that help people make decisions — from Farecast (now part of Microsoft Bing Travel) to Decide, the consumer price prediction and consumer review startup.
The director of the University of Washington’s Turing Center, Etzioni has remained at the forefront of research shaping the future of search. See his past Geek of the Week profile.
Gardner, a cancer researcher, and her colleagues at Seattle Children’s Research Institute are altering the body’s infection-fighting blood cells to attack cancer in the same way those cells fight viruses. Gardner is the researcher leading a new clinical trial for young adults with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, who are considered to have less than 20 percent chance of survival. See her past Geek of the Week profile.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year, presented by Appature
Winner: Dan Price, Gravity Payments
Price started Gravity Payments at the age of 19 during his freshman year at Seattle Pacific University. Now, at 28, he’s a well-established old-timer in entrepreneurial circles, but still young enough to qualify for this award. Gravity Payments employs nearly 100 people, and it was bootstrapped from the early days. The company provides payment processing services to small businesses, like restaurants, retailers and coffee shops.
Startup of the Year, presented by Flinn Ferguson Corporate Real Estate
Winner: Simply Measured (Award accepted by Simply Measured CEO Adam Schoenfeld)
There’s no shortage of online tools to help manage social media activities. But Simply Measured is gaining traction with some big names. Customers using its analytics tools include American Express, AOL, Billboard, Edelman, Microsoft, Samsung and UFC, with customers paying between $1,500 and $2,500 per month to analyze social media traffic and determine social medial influencers. The Seattle company, led by Aviel Ginzburg, Damon Cortesi and Adam Schoenfeld, received a big boost in January when it raised $8 million from Bessemer Venture Partners and MHS Capital.
Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to the hundreds of you who joined us at the EMP this evening.
Thanks also to additional event sponsors, DoubleDown Interactive, SEOmoz, Exsilio Solutions, and supporting sponsors Killer Infographics, Bootstrapper Studios, and Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business.