We’re kicking off public voting today for the GeekWire Awards.
Over the next two weeks, you’ll get the chance to vote in 14 different categories, including Startup CEO of the Year; Next Tech Titan; and Geekiest Office Space. The winners will be revealed at the big GeekWire Awards bash on May 9th at the Experience Music Project in Seattle.
Today’s category is a new one, but it’s also one of our favorites: “Young Entrepreneur of the Year, presented by Appature.“
Some of the greatest technology companies on the planet have been started by people under the age of 30, and this award is designed to recognize the young guns of tech — the up-and-comers — who could alter the industry as we know it.
Ready to vote? Here are the five finalists:
Lucas and Lee Brown, HasOffers: The 28-year-old twin brothers have built a powerful brand in the online affiliate marketing arena, doubling revenue to $7.2 million in 2012. And they’ve done it without any venture capital, winning last year’s “Bootstrapper of the Year” award.
Aviel Ginzburg, Simply Measured: One of the masterminds behind Simply Measured’s social media analytics tools, the 28-year-old Ginzburg helped drive the company to profitability in its early days. The Seattle startup is now supercharging efforts, raising an $8 million venture capital round from Bessemer Venture Partners and others in January.
Kyle Kesterson, Freak’n Genius: The 28-year-old Kesterson has been on the Seattle startup scene for years, ever since the designer and artist was randomly pulled into a Startup Weekend event. A graduate of TechStars and the Kinect Accelerator, Kesterson has already spurned one buyout offer for Freak’n Genius, a Seattle online animation startup that helps friends be funnier together by allowing them to bring new life to photos.
Denny Luan and Cindy Wu, Microryza: The former University of Washington researchers and recent graduates of tech incubator Y Combinator are building a new crowdfunding platform for scientific research at Microryza. Launched last year, the site has been described as a Kickstarter for hard-core science geeks. Luan is 23, and Wu is 24.
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.
The 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 “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” category sponsor: Appature.