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GeekWire’s John Cook interviews a VC panel of Frank Artale, Greg Gottesman, Rudy Gadre and Geoff Entress at Startup Day.

It was hard to not feel totally inspired by the time Startup Day wrapped up this past Friday.

crowd1Whether it was the governor touting Washington as the most innovative place in the world, or Dave Cotter sharing his near-death experience that changed his perspective on life, it was an action-packed day at the Showbox SoDo filled with powerful entrepreneurial insight and advice from CEOs, founders and industry leaders.

In case you missed Startup Day — or the awesome Battle of the Geek Bands afterparty — we’ve got you covered here in the form of photos and tweets. We’ll also have videos of each talk coming on GeekWire later this week, so check back for that.

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Atom Orbit was one of 15 startup participating in our Startup Demo Zone. Our VC panel awarded the company first place at our live pitch competition.

Also wanted to thank the 15 startups who participated in our new Startup Demo Zone, where companies had a chance to receive in-person feedback and conduct one-on-one presentations with event attendees throughout the event. Three startups were selected to pitch on-stage to our VC panel, who picked Atom Orbit as the winner.

Another congrats to AMPTAB for winning People’s Choice Award, given to the startup that accumulated the most “9Mile Bucks.” Each Startup Day attendee gave their “9Mile Buck” to the company they liked the most. AMPTAB walked away with two free tickets to our GeekWire Gala on Dec. 4.

A big thanks to our sponsors for helping to make Startup Day and the Battle of the Geek Bands after party possible: Wave Business SolutionsMozKnollDouble Down Interactive, the Museum of History and IndustryAvalaraWilson Sonsini Goodrich & RosatiBudweiserAmazon Web ServicesHughes Media Law GroupPerkins CoieCar2GoCobalt9Mile LabsTicketmaster and TechStars (which held its Demo Day the day before).

Also wanted to give a shout-out to our friend Eugene Hsu for snapping some of these shots. And of course, thanks to everyone for coming out and joining us Friday.

9 A.M. — Opening remarks from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee helped get the day started by talking about the importance of the region’s entrepreneurial work. He called Washington “the center of innovation,” and said that the state leads the world in innovative output as a ratio of investment and resources.

insleegoodHe coined this vale as “Innovation Per Dollar,” or IPD.

“I believe we lead the world in IPD right here in the state of Washington,” Inslee said. “It’s throughout our geekdom — it’s in aerospace, in energy, in transportation, in software, in the gaming industry.”

9:25 A.M. — T.A. McCann on “Starting, Funding, Killing and Selling: The hard decisions that make a startup”

T.A. McCann, founder of successful startups such as RivalIQ and Gist.

Next up was T.A. McCann, founder of successful startups such as RivalIQ and Gist, offering up some great big picture startup advice.

9:50 A.M. — Vanessa Fox on “How To Avoid Being Eaten By a Bear: Vital Entrepreneurial Skills That You Can Learn Anywhere”

Vanessa Fox, Chief Product Officer at RKG and founder of Nine By Blue.

Fox, Chief Product Officer at RKG and founder of Nine By Blue, had the crowd chuckling after recounting the time she was followed by a bear. She tied that into the startup life and risk-taking, offering up insight from her own experiences.

10:15 A.M. — Dawn Lepore on “How to Pick Your Board of Directors and Advisors”

Dawn Lepore, former CEO and board member at AOL and RealNetworks.

Next up on stage was Dawn Lepore, former CEO and board member at AOL and RealNetworks who previously served on boards at eBay, Walmart and The New York Times. Lepore spoke about her experiences dealing with a Board of Directors, sharing her thoughts on what qualities make a good board member.

11:10 A.M. — Rand Fishkin “The Pitfalls of Team Building: Painful lessons learned from hiring, firing, and losing people”

Moz CEO Rand Fishkin.

After a quick break, Moz CEO Rand Fishkin talked about perhaps the most important quality of startups: culture. Fishkin explained why Moz’s referral program ended up backfiring and spoke about the secrets to building a great team.

11:35 A.M. — Dave Cotter on “Work-life Balance of a Startup Dad”

Dave Cotter, co-founder and CEO of SquareHub and former GM at

Cotter, co-founder and CEO of SquareHub and former GM at, changed up the pace by ditching his slides and notes, simply sitting on a barstool to share a very personal story. Cotter had built and sold a company, but at the same time, he felt alone and “out of whack.”

1 p.m. — Elevator pitch session and VC Panel 

Katherine Sears from Booktrope pitches to a VC panel at Startup Day.

After a quick lunch break, the afternoon session kicked off with an elevator pitch session featuring three up-and-coming startups. Our panel, made up local venture capitalists Frank Artale, Greg Gottesman, Rudy Gadre and Geoff Entress, decided that Atom Orbit was most impressive.

GeekWire’s John Cook then took the mic for a great Q&A with the VCs.

2:10 p.m. — Boris Wertz on “There’s Only Two Ways to Build a $100 Million Company”

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Version One Ventures founder Boris Wertz.

Up next was Version One Ventures founder Boris Wertz, telling us how to build a $100 million company.

2:35 p.m. — Brent Frei on “Resuscitating a Product on Life Support” 

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Brent Frei, co-founder of Smartsheet and Onyx Software.

Brent Frei, co-founder of Smartsheet and Onyx Software, followed up with some advice on building and sustaining a successful product.

3:30 p.m. — Marc Barros on “Dealing with failure: The ups and downs of a startup CEO” 

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Marc Barros, founder of camera-maker Contour.

Marc Barros, founder of camera-maker Contour, gave an energetic talk on the crazy roller coaster CEOs ride.

3:55 p.m. — Bryan Trussel on “Advice on Taking Advice: Why didn’t anyone tell me this before I took the startup plunge?” 

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Glympse CEO Bryan Trussel.

Taking the startup plunge is a huge decision and Glympse CEO Bryan Trussel shared some great advice for those thinking about the leap.

4:20 p.m. — Glenn Kelman on “The Poet and the Beast: How to manage yourself as startup CEO”

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman.

Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman always seems to have something interesting to say about the startup life, and Friday was no different. The Plumtree co-founder ended the day by sharing his own personal stories about how he ended up as a CEO and what it took to get there.

5:30 P.M. — Battle of the Geek Bands and Costume Party 

“The Tax Authorities” from Bainbridge Island, Wash.-based Avalara, with lead singer Juliet ‘Jules’ Deggendorfer, took home first place at the inaugural GeekWire Battle of the Geek Bands at the Showbox Sodo.

After a long but fulfilling day of entrepreneurial insight, we had lots of fun partying with everyone at our first-ever Battle of the Geek Bands.

“The Tax Authorities,” out of Bainbridge Island-based Avalara, wow’d the crowd with some good ol’ blues and our celebrity judge panel awarded the band with a first place prize of five suite tickets to the Anheuser Busch suite for the Seahawks game against Tampa Bay next month. Be sure to check out this video to hear from The Tax Authorities and the three other geeky bands that performed at the Showbox SoDo Friday evening.

We were also impressed by the creativity of our Costume Contest participants. Though Neo and Trinity from the Matrix looked awesome, it was Breaking Bad’s Walter White walking away with the first place prize.

Here are a few pictures from the party:

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Meanwhile, here’s a look at a short video that a film crew shot of ExtraHop’s performance.

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