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Today’s featured category in the Seattle 2.0 Startup Awards is a big one, getting to the heart of what this competition is all about. Startup of the Year recognizes the up-and-comers in the Seattle tech scene, those who are growing fast but haven’t yet entered the world domination phase. From mobile gaming to e-commerce to Web tools that make our lives easier, this category has a little bit of everything.

This is one of more than a dozen categories in this year’s Awards program, presented by GeekWire. We’ll be featuring one category a day leading up to the big awards bash May 3 at the Experience Music Project. Public voting began this week after finalists were chosen by our judges from hundreds of nominations received from the community.

We’ve got a great group of finalists in this category, which is sponsored by Washington Partners. If you haven’t yet registered your vote, here’s your chance. If you need help deciding, see more background on each finalist below the poll.

Clipboard: Barely a year old, Gary Flake’s Clipboard is redefining how people save pieces and parts of Web pages. The former Microsoft and Yahoo researcher unveiled the service — which often draws comparisons to Pinterest — last fall. Hear Flake talk about Clipboard on a recent episode of the GeekWire podcast and radio show. After the success of Farecast — sold to Microsoft for $115 million three years ago — Oren Etzioni’s latest project for helping people decide when to purchase consumer electronics and home appliances is picking up steam. The Seattle company scored $6 million in funding from Maveron, Madrona and others last April, just prior to its official launch. Hear CEO Mike Fridgen talk about on last week’s GeekWire podcast and radio show.

Simply Measured: For a company that started under the name Untitled Startup, this group of geeks is certainly making its mark. Led by Adam Schoenfeld, Aviel Ginzburg and Damon Cortesi, the 18-person Seattle upstart is nailing new contracts with big brands that need help making sense of chatter on social media channels. The company got an added boost last summer when it picked up $750,000 in capital from Founder’s Co-op and MHS Capital.

Z2Live: The profitable Seattle mobile game maker saw all three of its titles, Metalstorm, BattleNations and TradeNations, become top grossing apps in the iTunes store in 2011. This year, it’s already outgrown one Seattle office, and it is getting even bigger with February’s purchase of Vancouver, B.C.’s Big Sandwich Games. Led by mobile veteran David Bluhm, Z2Live raised $2.5 million from Madrona Venture Group and Draper Fisher Jurvetson last year.

Zipline Games: Todd Hooper’s latest project is looking to streamline mobile game development, making it simple to roll out new titles across major platforms such as Android, iOS and Windows Phone.  The well-known Seattle entrepreneur — also nominated in the Schmoozer category — snagged $400,000 in startup capital last summer from Benaroya Capital, Founder’s Co-op, Groundspeak and others.

Watch for more featured categories in the days ahead. To cast your entire ballot now, see all of the Seattle 2.0 Startup Awards categories here.

Don’t forget that early-bird pricing concludes this Friday, so make sure to pick up your tickets today for this exciting night in local tech.

Thanks to our event sponsors FilterProtingentSalad LabsSilicon Valley Bank,  SplunkWashington Partners, Heinz MarketingBader MartinSEOmozChristensen O’Connor Johnson KindnessKnoll, and Creativello for their support. Email for available sponsorship opportunities, and learn more here

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