Vote for the hottest up-and-coming company at the GeekWire Awards – GeekWire

Vote for the hottest up-and-coming company at the GeekWire Awards – GeekWire

Vote for the hottest up-and-coming company at the GeekWire Awards – GeekWire

The five finalists for this year’s Startup of the Year category at the GeekWire Awards reflect the strength of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest.

Common Room; Ozette; SeekOut; Shelf Engine; and Strike Graph are on the brink of stardom. But more importantly, they are innovating, executing, and making a difference.

Seattle enterprise software startup Ally won last year’s award for a category that has honored companies such as Crowd Cow, Convoy, Arivale, Rover, and others in the past.

Community voting is now underway across 13 GeekWire Awards categories in our 13th annual celebration of Pacific Northwest tech. Community voting, which closes on April 30, will be factored in with feedback from more than 20 judges. On May 20 we will announce the winners live at the virtual GeekWire Awards, presented by Wave Business.

Submit your votes below, grab your tickets, and keep scrolling for descriptions of each finalist for Startup of the Year, presented by WestRiver Group.

Create your own user feedback survey

Common Room

Common Room founders, left to right: Tom Kleinpeter; Viraj Mody; Francis Luu; and Linda Lian. (Common Room Photo)

The year-old startup led by CEO Linda Lian and based in Seattle came out stealth mode in a big way earlier this month, revealing $52 million in total funding and big-name customers using its software that aims to help companies deepen relationships with their users and customers. Common Room acts as a conduit between organizations and people in their communities. It integrates with communication apps such as Slack, Twitter, Discord, and more. The idea is to make “community” a competitive advantage, connecting users with each other and soliciting product feedback.


Ozette co-founders Dr. Ali Ansary, CEO (left), and Greg Finak, CTO. (Ozette Photos)

Ozette, a biotech company that last year spun out of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and was incubated at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), raised a $6 million seed round in February. The Ozette team has created an AI platform — its “Immune Monitoring Platform” — that can analyze massive combinations of proteins being created by individual cells. By automating the analysis, the platform can discover cells with unique and important protein profiles as it relates to disease and healthcare treatments. The initial focus is on cancer patients.


From left to right: SeekOut CEO Anoop Gupta; SeekOut CTO Aravind Bala; Madrona Venture Group Managing Director and SeekOut board member S. “Soma” Somasegar; SeekOut head of engineering Vikas Manocha; and SeekOut head of product John Tippett. (SeekOut Photo)

The Seattle-area startup raised $65 million in March to fuel growth of its recruiting software that is like LinkedIn on steroids. It pulls information on potential hires from sites such as LinkedIn and GitHub; from research papers and patents; and other public domains. The platform has built-in diversity filters to help reduce unconscious bias; an automated messaging tool; and a search engine that understands past hiring patterns and needs based on job descriptions. The Series B round valued the company at close to $500 million. SeekOut is profitable and saw annual recurring revenue spike 10X over the past 21 months.

Shelf Engine

Shelf Engine Co-founders Bede Jordan (left) and Stefan Kalb. (Shelf Engine Photo)

Shelf Engine raised $41 million last month to support rapid growth of its tech platform used by grocers such as Kroger and Walmart to manage food orders for deli, bakery, cut produce, meat, and other categories. Shelf Engine uses forecasting tools and order automation systems that analyze historical orders, sales data, and real-world variables. The idea is to help streamline the ordering process and get the right amount of product on the shelf at the right time, trimming costs and reducing waste for grocers. The company is working with 2,000 grocery stores nationwide. Revenue increased 15X last year.

Strike Graph

Strike Graph co-founders Justin Beals (left) and Brian Bero. (Strike Graph Photo)

Seattle startup Strike Graph raised a $3.9 million seed round in October. The company, founded a year ago and spun out of Madrona Venture Labs, helps customers prepare for the cybersecurity certification process. Most B2B organizations need to pass cybersecurity audits to ensure their service meets security and privacy standards. Strike Graph says its customers can earn a SOC 2 Type 1 certification in 45 days and save $50,000 in consultant fees thanks to automation and customization features.

A big thanks to our longtime awards presenting partner, Wave Business, for supporting this fun community event. Also, thanks to gold and category sponsors: Blink UX, WSGR, JLL, EY, Premera, Dreambox Learning, BECU, WestRiver Group, ALLtech and First Tech Federal Credit Union. And to our silver sponsors BCRA and Kingston Marketing Group. If interested in sponsoring a category or another component of the GeekWire Awards, please contact us at

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