Trending: Pet care startup emerges in Seattle to modernize veterinary care, with help from Rover
Next Tech Titan of 2019
Aaron Easterly, CEO of Rover, accepts the prize for Next Tech Titan at the 2019 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Editor’s note: The GeekWire Awards are now virtual on July 23. Watch live below.

How do you handicap a unicorn race? When it comes to the race for the GeekWire Awards, the category for Next Tech Titan is wide open.

The five-startup field includes at least three Seattle-area companies with a unicorn-class valuation of $1 billion or more. The other two companies seem well on their way to that level (if they’re not there already).

Next Tech Titan presented by Slalom

As you mull over your bets, you’ll find plenty of differentiation in the finalists’ lines of business. Their target markets range from businesses seeking to forge closer connections with their customers, to businesses trying to make sure hackers don’t make the wrong kinds of connections to their servers.

The Next Tech Titan category recognizes the company most likely to become the next dominant force on the Pacific Northwest’s tech scene. One of the companies on this year’s list, Outreach, was in last year’s competition for Next Tech Titan — but lost out in the end to Rover, the dog-sitting company that jumped into the cat-care market last year.

In line with tradition for the GeekWire Awards, this year’s finalists were selected in consultation with leaders of the Seattle tech community. Now it’s your turn. We’ve opened up the voting in 13 award categories, and community votes will be factored in with feedback from more than 20 judges.

On May 19, we’ll announce the winners live on stage at the GeekWire Awards — presented by Wave Business — in front of more than 800 geeks at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.

Submit your vote belowgrab your tickets, and scroll down for descriptions of each finalist. The Next Tech Titan category is presented by Slalom.

Create your own user feedback survey

Auth0: No. 6 on GeekWire 200

Auth0 employees
Auth0 employees show their spirit. (Auth0 Photo)

Startup superpower: Rapidly integrates authentication and authorization for web, mobile and legacy applications so you can focus on your core business.

The pitch from Eugenio Pace, Auth0’s CEO and co-founder: “Every company is a software company, and every application needs identity, but identity is complex. Auth0 exists to secure the world’s identities so the innovators can innovate. Auth0 offers authentication- and authorization-as-a-service, so the builders of applications can focus on their core business while providing a secure, elegant, and seamless login experience for their users.

“Today we process more than 3 billion logins per month – that’s 100 million per day – for 9,000+ companies worldwide. Our differentiated identity platform and its adoption across all market sectors have given us the opportunity to build our team to more than 630 employees, open six offices, and work with some of the biggest enterprises around the world.

“We’re thankful for our impressive year-over-year growth since our inception in 2013, and have no plans to slow down on our journey to providing people with secure access to any application in one click or less.”

In the news: Identity authentication startup Auth0 raises $103M as another Seattle company reaches unicorn status

ExtraHop: No. 18 on GeekWire 200

ExtraHop CEO Arif Kareem accepts the award for Hire of the Year at the 2017 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire photo / Kevin Lisota)

Startup superpower: Delivers cloud-native network detection and response that helps large organizations rise above the noise of alerts, organizational silos and runaway technology so they can protect and grow their business.

The pitch from ExtraHop CEO Arif Kareem: “It’s no secret that cybersecurity is a huge problem. Cloud breaches cost companies an estimated $5 trillion in 2019. Cyberthreat dwell time still exceeds two months on average. ExtraHop created a fundamentally new approach to cybersecurity. We lead the fast-emerging network detection and response (NDR) category, with products that help security and IT organizations detect threats up to 95 percent faster and respond 60 percent more efficiently across cloud, multi-cloud and hybrid environments.

“We built the industry’s first fully-integrated SaaS NDR solution for the multi-cloud era ushered in by some other notable Seattle tech titans. And as always, we’re focused on delivering the solutions our customers need to protect their businesses.”

In the news: Seattle security company ExtraHop touts $150M in 2019 bookings ahead of potential IPO

Icertis: No. 8 on GeekWire 200

Icertis CEO Samir Bodas and his team won the Deal of the Year award at the 2018 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo)

Startup superpower: Solves contract management problems on an easy-to-use, intelligent, enterprise-wide platform.

The pitch from Icertis CEO Samir Bodas: “Contract Lifecycle Management is the final frontier for enterprise software – the last horizontal category not taken by a multibillion-dollar company. In many ways, CLM is the new CRM [Customer Relationship Management].

“Contract management has always existed, but over the past five years, with the application of AI and cloud, CLM has gone from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘must-have’ for enterprises. You wouldn’t run your business without a CRM system, and leading companies are realizing that it would be crazy to not have insight into contracts, the foundation of all commercial relationships. … The Icertis Contract Management platform addresses the entire contract management process.

“Critical to our success has been building an award-winning culture centered on our values of fairness, openness, respect, teamwork and execution – FORTE. We believe how we get there is just as important as where we end up, and our most cherished awards, the ones that bring me the most personal satisfaction, are those recognizing the great workplace we’ve built.”

In the news: Contract management startup Icertis hits $1B valuation with massive $115M funding round

Outreach: No. 15 on GeekWire 200

Outreach CEO Manny Medina
Outreach CEO Manny Medina talks about his billion-dollar startup at the 2019 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo)

Startup superpower: Offers a sales engagement platform that helps businesses engage prospects more efficiently and effectively — and close more deals.

The pitch: Here’s what Outreach CEO Manny Medina said last April in a blog post announcing his company’s unicorn status: “This new round of funding will support our best-in-class machine learning capabilities and take them to the next level. Outreach is the single pane of glass — a complete system of action — for all customer-facing reps, providing one application for every sales motion. And this financing will enable us to infuse every aspect of the customer journey with the power of machine learning so organizations can identify the actions that move the needle in order to make better, faster decisions.”

In the news: New unicorn in Seattle: Outreach raises massive $114M round, pushing valuation above $1 billion

Zipwhip: No. 28 on GeekWire 200

Zipwhip CEO John Lauer
Zipwhip CEO John Lauer shows off the company’s Texterator, a text-enabled beer bot that made its debut at the 2016 GeekWire Bash. (Zipwhip Photo)

Startup superpower: Makes it easier for businesses to text from existing phone lines, resulting in faster and more effective engagement with customers.

The pitch from Zipwhip CEO John Lauer: “There are over 200 million business phone lines in North America, but only a fraction of those can send and receive texts today. As the original creators of the Texting for Business industry, Zipwhip is poised to address that market. In 2014 we invented the capability for businesses to text-enable their existing landline, VoIP or toll-free phone number. Now, in 2020, over 35,000 businesses use our software or API solutions to text with their customers, and we move hundreds of millions of messages through our network every month.

“Since we started Zipwhip we’ve been laser-focused on our mission to enable businesses across the world increase customer engagement and drive growth through our texting software and API solutions. The incredible returns businesses see when they begin texting customers is representative of consumers’ desire for an alternative to phone calls and email. In fact, our research shows that while 91% of people have received a text from a business and 74% will respond to those texts within an hour, 97% of people completely reject phone calls from businesses or unknown numbers.

“Consumers prefer the convenience, immediacy and directness of texting with businesses. With our position as the industry inventors and leaders, Zipwhip is helping people across North America communicate the way they prefer – texting.”

In the news: Fast-growing business texting startup Zipwhip leases new Seattle HQ with room for 500 people

A big thanks to our longtime awards presenting partner, Wave Business, for supporting this fun community event. Also, thanks to gold and category sponsors: BECU, BCRA, Blink UX, EY, JLL, Premera, Slalom, WSGR and First Tech Federal Credit Union. And to our supporting sponsors Bader Martin, Flyhomes, Moz, Funko, Killer Visual Strategies and Tagboard. If interested in sponsoring a category or another component of the GeekWire Awards, please contact us at
Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline

Job Listings on GeekWork

Technology Services SpecialistGlobal Innovation Exchange, University of Washington
Software Engineer III – DevOpsNational Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.