We’re back for another round of voting in the GeekWire Awards, and today’s category is a big one: Startup CEO of the Year, presented by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
We kicked off voting for the GeekWire Awards last week, and we’ll continue tabulating the votes in each of the 14 categories in the coming days.
The winners will be revealed at the GeekWire Awards bash on May 9th at the Experience Music Project in Seattle.
Ready to vote? Here are five finalists:
Sam Blackman, Elemental Technologies: 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.
Christian Chabot, Tableau: Chabot is building a powerhouse with the Seattle-based maker of visual analysis software, and he had some inspirational comments to make at the GeekWire Meetup in February. (See: Patience, perseverance and passion: Video highlights from our talk with Tableau CEO Christian Chabot). He’s also positioning the company for the region’s first IPO since Zillow’s public offering in July 2011.
Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz: Transparency is a hallmark of Fishkin’s SEOmoz, and the Seattle company is growing fast with multiple acquisitions in recent months. Last May, SEOmoz raised $18 million in funding, and named Brad Feld to the board. The company is now on the fast track, and Fishkin has big plans ahead. “There’s a strong desire to build a big, public company in Seattle, and we think the field of professional inbound marketers is a tremendous, long-term market that could support several public companies,” he said in a recent interview.
Liz Pearce, LiquidPlanner: Pearce took over the CEO reins at the Bellevue online project management software company last year, with co-founder Charles Seybold noting at the time that he “could not think of anyone better to be steering the ship.” Pearce previously worked at Amazon.com and Google, and now she’s making waves in her new role at LiquidPlanner.
Kabir Shahani, Appature: At the ripe age of 30, Shahani sold Appature to health data giant IMS, marking a very nice return for the company’s backers. “It is amazing how much people discount how the hardest thing to do is also the simplest thing to do, which is just keep going. You just got to keep going,” says Shahani of his advice to other entrepreneurs. (Previously: Startup wisdom from Kabir Shahani, the 30-year-old tech whiz who just sold Appature)
The GeekWire Awards — originally started by Seattle entrepreneur Marcelo Calbucci — are in their 5th year now. Past winners have included Tableau Software, PopCap Games, angel investor Andy Sack, Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh, Zillow Chairman Rich Barton and many others.
Thanks again to our “Startup CEO of the Year” category sponsor: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Make sure to get your tickets today for this one-of-a-kind event today.