Education. Big data. Health. Telecommunications. Clean tech.
Seattle is producing groundbreaking startups in a host of industries, generating a crop of impressive entrepreneurs who are truly attempting to change the world.
Getting to tell these startup stories at GeekWire is an honor and a privilege, and that’s one of the reasons why we are so excited to once again partner with the Museum of History & Industry to bring you The Seattle 10.
This list showcases 10 of the most promising startup companies in the region— highlighting the best and brightest.
But it doesn’t stop with simple recognition.
Nope, we’re putting our entrepreneurs to work, asking each of The Seattle 10 winners to re-produce their business ideas on giant six-foot by six-foot cocktail napkins that will be unveiled for the first time at the big GeekWire Gala on Dec. 3rd at MOHAI.
We had tons of fun watching these creations come together for last year’s Seattle 10 class, and we’re hopeful the competitive juices will flow once again this year as the artistic inspiration takes over. Make sure to grab your tickets this week for the GeekWire Gala, and come out to see these wonderful creations, applaud the Newsmakers of Year and simply participate in the geekiest holiday party on the planet.
We looked for a diverse set of companies that were younger than five years old and had revolutionary technologies that could one day translate into large businesses. Companies had to be based in the greater Seattle area, and summarize their world-changing business concept in 100-words or less. (After all, they do need to get their business idea crammed onto a cocktail napkin!)
Thanks to our judging panel of Matt McIlwain of Madrona; Chris DeVore of Founder’s Co-op; Connie Bourassa-Shaw, director of The University of Washington’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship; Jason Stoffer of Maveron; Susannah Malarkey, executive director of the Technology Alliance; and Rahul Sood, formerly of Microsoft Ventures and now at Seattle startup Unikrn.
Without further ado, here’s a look at this year’s class of The Seattle 10.
—Koru, Founded 2013, Education, CEO Kristen Hamilton
Nomination pitch: Fifty five percent of recent college graduates aren’t getting real jobs. Growing companies can’t find good entry-level talent. What you learn in college is not what the employers in the innovation economy of today need. Koru is the talent marketplace that is filling this chasm between college and career. Koru prepares grads through real world experience in top companies like LinkedIn, Amazon, zulily and Porch, helps them develop the relevant skills they need to perform in the top tier, and connects them with the people hiring. Our results in just one year: three cities launched, 85% of our grads landed great jobs, and a passionate tribe of followers.
Previously on GeekWire: Onvia co-founder raises $4.35M for Koru, helping college grads find impactful jobs
—Pro.com, Founded 2013, Consumer Internet, CEO Matt Williams
Nomination pitch: Pro.com is changing the way people price, book, and transact local services. Imagine a future where finding, booking and paying for top local pros takes only seconds from your mobile phone. Today, Pro.com helps homeowners instantly estimate the cost of home projects, find pros, and schedule appointments. Price transparency now exists for the first time between customers and pros, where customers see a complete project cost estimate before ever talking with a pro. Since launching 5 months ago, customers across a quarter of U.S. zip codes have used Pro.com to estimate over $150M in home projects.
Previously on GeekWire: Jeff Bezos-backed home improvement marketplace Pro.com lands $14 million from Madrona, Maveron
—Kymeta, Founded 2012, telecommunications, CEO Vern Fotheringham
Nomination pitch: Named by both CNBC and MIT as a Top 50 Most Disruptive technology company, Kymeta is the enabling technology opening vast new markets for satellite broadband to all types of connected vehicles (aeronautical/maritime/automotive) — and delivering ubiquitous mobile broadband on an unprecedented scale. Kymeta enables flatter, thinner, more efficient and less expensive devices and solutions, unlocking affordable broadband mobility offerings previously unavailable with traditional satellite technologies. Kymeta innovation introduces the world’s first metamaterials-based smart antennas. Kymeta’s solutions electronically and dynamically acquire, steer and lock our holographic beam on satellites with no moving parts, providing software-defined connectivity for mobile and fixed infrastructure.
Previously on GeekWire: Kymeta: Is this Bill Gates’ next billion-dollar company?
—Remitly, Founded 2011, payments, CEO Matt Oppenheimer
Nomination pitch: Remittances are a direct way of reducing inequality in developing countries. Globally over $400 billion is sent from developed to developing countries each year. That is over three times the amount of global foreign aid that is sent every year. Unfortunately, over 8% (+$30 billion) is taken in fees. That’s more than the GDP of the entire country of Nicaragua. Remitly is changing the world by leveraging mobile phones to disrupt the international remittance industry. We help underserved customers send more money home in a fundamentally more convenient way.
Previously on GeekWire: Bezos-backed money transfer startup Remitly lands $5.5 million
—Front Desk, founded 2012, business software, CEO Jon Zimmerman
Nomination pitch: Front Desk is powerful business management software built to let these entrepreneurs spend more time doing what they love—growing their dreams and spending time with their clients—and less time struggling with tedious tasks like billing and scheduling that come with running a business. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we’re passionate about empowering people to pursue their passions, chase their dreams, and change the world.
Previously on GeekWire: Front Desk raises $4M to help small service businesses manage scheduling, payments
—Haiku Deck, founded 2010, media/software, CEO Adam Tratt
Nomination pitch: In the age of social media, visual storytelling has never been more important. Yet, when you ask people what words they associate with presentations- the traditional medium for storytelling, the response is consistently grim. By making it simple for entrepreneurs, educators, leaders, and communicators from all disciplines to create stunning visual presentations that stand out, Haiku Deck helps bring world-changing ideas to life. In less time than it takes to animate a flying bullet, anyone can captivate and inspire their audience. When people start thinking of presentations as “beautiful,” “fun,” and “creative,” we’ll know we’ve made a difference.
Previously on GeekWire: Haiku Deck reaches 1M downloads, CEO says ‘we’re just at the start of something huge’
—EveryMove, founded 2011, health, CEO Russell Benaroya
Nomination pitch: EveryMove is on a mission to improve the lives of 10 million people in the next 10 years through living a physically fit lifestyle. Whether it’s taking a five minute walk or running a marathon, EveryMove motivates and inspires an active lifestyle by amplifying the impact of the fitness tracking technology consumers already use. Track progress, inspire friends, compete in workplace challenges, and earn rewards ranging from gift cards to charitable donations.
Previously on GeekWire: EveryMove launches @Work, new site encourages employees to get active through fitness challenges
—Grayl, founded 2012, consumer products/health, CEO Nancie Weston
Nomination pitch: GRAYL is on a mission to change the way the world drinks water. GRAYL’s Water Filtration Cup works like a French Press, filtering toxins from water in seconds. Built from 18/8 stainless steel, the innovative system is equipped with a patent-pending press mechanism and advanced filtration technology. GRAYL creates safe, great tasting water on the go with no waiting, pumping, squeezing or sucking. GRAYL’s unique interchangeable filter system provides varying levels of protection for TAP, TRAIL and TRAVEL- from the office to international destinations. Take control of your water quality anywhere in the world and never buy bottled water again!
Previously on GeekWire: Startup Spotlight: Grayl’s reusable water cup filters your H2O like a french coffee press
—GraphLab, founded 2013, big data, CEO Carlos Guestrin
Nomination pitch: Imagine a world where technology can analyze medical records and determine which drugs are most impactful for an individual. Where a telecommunications company can predict turnover down to the day a customer will switch providers. Some of these advancements are happening, some are on the horizon. They will be made possible through machine learning – a science that allows computers to be programmed to “learn” from data patterns and make highly accurate predictions, automatically. Broad use of machine learning is hindered today by the complexity of available tools. GraphLab is working to democratize machine learning and enable endless insights for data.
Previously on GeekWire: Geek of the Week: GraphLab CEO Carlos Guestrin is unlocking the potential of machine learning
—Wiserg, founded 2010, clean tech/agriculture, CEO Larry LeSueur
Nomination pitch: Americans send 133 billion pounds of food to landfills each year. Where others see waste, WISErg sees a valuable resource and opportunity. WISErg’s Harvester converts grocery food scraps into WISErganic, an organic liquid fertilizer. Farmers use WISErganic to grow produce with 20% higher crop yields. Groceries then buy that produce, creating a closed-loop ecosystem of sustainable food practices. Adding further value, Harvester’s integrated sensors collect data to help groceries reduce food waste before it happens – from ordering excess inventory to wasteful labor practices. With WISErg, the world can now turn food scraps into a valuable, nutrient-rich resource – not waste.
So, there you have it. This year’s class for The Seattle 10.
Let’s wish them all well, and hope everyone can join for the fun at the GeekWire Gala on Dec. 3 at MOHAI. Early-bird tickets end this week, so grab yours today!