GeekWire Awards 2017: Early-bird tickets on sale, nominations now open


Mark Mader of Smartsheet, center, accepts the award for Next Tech Titan at the 2016 GeekWire Awards. Who will take home the robot trophy this year? (GeekWire Photo)

The Pacific Northwest is one of the most creative and vibrant places on the planet, a mossy-covered corner of the world where remarkable innovations and world-changing businesses take root.

On May 4th, we’ll once again recognize the iconoclasts, innovators and disruptors of the Northwest technology industry as we host the annual GeekWire Awards. Early-bird tickets available here.

Now in its ninth year, the GeekWire Awards — originally started by entrepreneur Marcelo Calbucci — represent a community-wide effort. We’ll start today by accepting nominations in 14 categories — ranging from old standbys such as Startup of the Year and Next Tech Titan to more recent additions such as Geekiest Office Space and Newcomer of the Year. (See nomination form below).

Until March 29th, we’ll take nominations in the 14 categories, with anyone in the Pacific Northwest community (Oregon, Idaho, Washington and British Columbia) able to nominate worthy candidates. From that list, we’ll work with our illustrious judging panel — including venture capitalists, CEOs, lawyers and other top minds in the tech community — to winnow our list to five nominees in each category. Then, beginning on April 6th, we’ll start community voting on GeekWire, with readers selecting the very best in each of the categories. The winners will be revealed May 4th at the GeekWire Awards party, taking place at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle (formerly known as EMP).

But first things first, now is your time to start the nomination process. Take a look at the categories below, and nominate those who you think are worthy, choosing entrepreneurs, products and companies that truly are changing the way we live, work and play.

Black Dot co-founders Mujale Chisebuka, K. Wyking Garrett, and Aramis Hamer win the Geek of the Year at the 2016 GeekWire Awards.

Note: One nomination is as good as 20, so no need to flood the ballot box at this time. That will come later when we open the voting up to the community in each of the 13 categories.

Also, just as a reminder, the GeekWire Awards is one of our most popular events. It always sells out, so make sure to grab tickets here.

A big thanks to Wave Business for sponsoring the 2017 GeekWire Awards, and for each of the individual category sponsors who help make this event possible. Gold and silver sponsors include: WSGR, Knoll, First Tech Federal Credit Union, EY, Moz, Capital One, UPS Connect, Perkins Coie, Vulcan and RealSelf.

We have just a few remaining sponsorships available for the 2017 GeekWire Awards, so if interested in sponsoring a category or other aspects of the event, please contact GeekWire’s Daniel Rossi at 206-423-9196 or; Adam Rubens at 425-753-1506 or or Rachel Huffman at or 206-898-9937.

We’re getting excited for the Awards, one of our favorite events of the year where we have a good old fashioned time celebrating the best of the innovation economy in the Northwest.

Geek of the Year, presented by Wave BusinessGeeks make the world go 'round, transforming how we work, live and play. This geek created a technological breakthrough that made the world a better place, or strengthened the community through their work or good deeds.Nominee Name



Newcomer of the YearWelcome! We're glad you're here. This company, individual or group was a major new arrival, bolstering the Pacific NW tech scene over the past two years.Nominee Company NameCompany, Group or PersonApp of the YearThis app has broken through during the past year with a new approach, an innovative twist, or a superior solution to a consumer or business challenge.App NameCompany NameGeekiest Office Space, presented by KnollWhere geeky = cool. Cryptograms on the walls, swanky furniture in the lobby, or a hidden room behind the bookshelf? This company's office space is the epitome of geek chic.Company NameLink to Images

Upload pictures to Flickr, Facebook or another photo service and provide link hereVideo Link

(Optional) Link to a video of the office space to support your nominationInnovation of the YearThis is it, you can feel it. This is where the world is going, the way of the future, and this breakthrough is one of the greatest hits of the year.Nominee Company, Product or ServiceCEO of the Year, presented by EYThis leader has vision, fortitude, creativity, and that impossible to define x-factorNominee Name



Nominee Company NameDeal of the Year, presented by WSGRFor this match made in heaven, everybody wins. It’s the Reese’s cup, chocolate-peanut butter combination, where a great exit or a big financing is a new beginning.DealPrincipal Companies InvolvedNominee Company NameNext Tech Titan, presented by Kibble & PrenticeFeeling lucky? Place your bets on the next big exit, huge breakthrough, and dominant force in our backyard.Nominee Company NameGadget (Hardware) of the YearThis hardware, device or gadget demonstrated innovative engineering and an exemplary user experience, making a unique mark on the technology landscape during the past year.Product NameNominee Company NameHire of the Year, presented by Capital OneTalent is the name of the game in tech, and this hire was a huge score for the lucky winnerNominee Name



Employer Company NameYoung Entrepreneur of the YearLook for big things from this entrepreneur, who has already made an impact in the startup world despite being just 30 or younger. (Those who are 30 or younger before May 4, 2017 are eligibleNominee Name



Nominee Company NameBootstrapper of the YearScrappy is in. Whether living off savings, top ramen, or the best of all, revenues, this startup has hit major milestones without taking institutional capital.Nominee Company NameStartup of the YearThis team is on the brink of stardom, but more importantly, innovating, executing, and making a difference. To be eligible for consideration in this category, startups need to be no more than 4 years old as of May 2017.
Nominee Company NameMaking a Difference AwardWe love when Geeks Give Back. This company is making a positive impact in the community through unique and positive philanthropic efforts.Nominee Company NameDescription of Philanthropic EffortNameThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_render', function(event, formId, currentPage){if(formId == 20) {if(typeof Placeholders != 'undefined'){
}} } );jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_conditional_logic', function(event, formId, fields, isInit){} ); jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [20, 1]) } );

Top Stories

Former Bill & Melinda Gates executive sues organization, claims he was misled about his role

A former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation chief digital officer has filed a lawsuit against the organization, claiming he was misled about the scope of his job during his recruitment and that he was terminated for clashing with executives who didn’t believe in his new role. Todd Pierce, the former chief digital officer, joined the Gates Foundation in early 2015. He was previously a senior vice president at Salesforce, where he claimed in court documents he was making a $1.5 million annual salary and had several million in future stock options that hadn’t vested yet. His time at the foundation ended… Read More
  • 3 days ago
  • 15

Doctor Who review: Bill and the Timelord must grin and bear it in Smile

“There’s a giant smiley abattoir, and I’m having this childish impulse to blow it up.”
  • 6 days ago
  • 14

Starbucks gives baristas new tablets to manage congestion caused by mobile order-ahead service

Starbucks continues to roll out new strategies to help combat congestion at stores caused by its mobile order-ahead service. The company, which met expectations for its quarterly earnings report that posted today, gave an update about the issues around Mobile Order & Pay (MOP), a program that lets customers order with their smartphone via Starbucks’ app and skip the line. The problem, as Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz detailed on the company’s earnings call in January, is that the increasing number of MOP orders creates congestion inside stores for mobile order-ahead customers trying to pick up their coffee and food at hand-off stations. This not only affects customers who are picking… Read More
  • 1 day ago
  • 12

Waymo opens self-driving car trial in Phoenix – and scores in Uber legal battle

It’s been a good day on the streets and in the courts for Waymo, the driverless-car company that was spun out from Google as another Alphabet subsidiary last year. First off, Waymo opened up its closed trial for autonomous driving in the Phoenix metropolitan area for public signup. This means Arizonans can apply to become “early riders” in the self-driving minivans and SUVs that Waymo is testing. In a blog post, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said the rider pool will be expanded from a handful to hundreds over the course of the trial. “The goal of this program is to give… Read More
  • 3 days ago
  • 9

Next-generation Xeons to come in “Gold” and “Platinum” versions

New naming scheme appears to be even less clear than the old one.
  • 2 days ago
  • 9
farawayyachtingcharters - Easy Branches
botoxfillerveintheraphyinphuket - Easy Branches

Latest in Technology

Verizon on T-Mobile’s $8 billion wireless spectrum acquisition: ‘They need it, desperately’

T-Mobile touts its $8 billion low-band 600 MHz wireless spectrum acquisition as a game-changer, promising to significantly improve its LTE network throughout the country, competing more effectively with Verizon and AT&T. “That low-band duopoly ownership defined the industry for so long in so many parts of the country, and now that lock is finally broken,” said T-Mobile CEO John Legere, in one of numerous swipes at his larger competitors this week. Verizon isn’t impressed. In fact, the company said today that it didn’t even bother to bid on the spectrum — and did a little swiping of its own. “We have strong spectrum holdings in the… Read More
  • 3 hours ago

Amazon is shutting down its “Underground Actually Free” program that gives away free Android apps

 Late on Friday, Amazon announced it will be shutting down its “Underground Actually Free” program which offers customers free versions of Android apps that would typically cost money, including those that relied on in-app purchases but were otherwise free downloads. Though it promised long-term support when it debuted back in August 2015, Amazon today says the “Actually… Read More
  • 7 hours ago

Microsoft hires former FTC commissioner to lead privacy and regulatory affairs

Microsoft has hired former FTC commissioner Julie Brill as its new corporate vice president in charge of privacy, data protection and other regulatory issues — a newly created role at the Redmond tech giant. Brill was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in 2010 and served in the role for nearly six years. She stepped down last year to join law firm Hogan Lovells, heading up its Global Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group. In her new role at Microsoft, Brill will lead the company’s Privacy and Regulatory Affairs Group, working with regulators, policymakers and others, in addition to working with… Read More
  • 9 hours ago

NSA ends spying on messages Americans send about foreign surveillance targets

FISA court narrows what NSA can collect, because NSA can't stop "incidental" collection.
  • 9 hours ago

Geek of the Week: ExtraHop’s Ryan Corder says something special is brewing at work and at home

Something about working for a company called ExtraHop just begs the question: Do you like beer? The Seattle-based IT analytics company may not have anything to do with brewing, but it does have beer on tap at its offices and technical marketing engineer Ryan Corder is a hop head on the side. Corder, who is GeekWire’s latest Geek of the Week, has been at the company for three years, after first moving to Seattle for a job at F5 Networks in 2007. He said a lot of the breweries in town that are now considered “the best of the best”… Read More
  • 11 hours ago

Bloomberg’s digital chief: Journalists must ‘reclaim’ their audience from Facebook and Google

The news industry faces a Herculean challenge. With resources and attention spans dwindling, media organizations find themselves in a with tech titans who have billions of dollars to back their forays into media. What weapon in the journalist’s arsenal could stand up to that? Reclaiming the relationship with readers, says Michael Shane. Shane is the global head of digital innovation for Bloomberg, where he oversees strategy for the news company’s editorial products and business. Before Bloomberg, he helped put The Verge on the map at Vox Media. Shane shared his insights about how journalists can compete in the digital age during a panel at the… Read More
  • 11 hours ago

GeekWire 200 April update: Smartsheet continues its climb toward the top

Smartsheet, the Next Tech Titan award winner at the 2016 GeekWire Awards, has been fulfilling that potential lately. Smartsheet is close to cracking the top 5 of the GeekWire 200 list of privately held Pacific Northwest startups, coming at number six in April. Smartsheet started the year at number 13 on the list and it has steadily risen toward the top. Smartsheet reported subscription revenue of more than $70 million in 2016; that number has grown at least 70 percent year-over-year for the past five years. Smartsheet has also made some key executive hires in recent months. In January, Smartsheet announced plans to… Read More
  • 11 hours ago

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlines its cloud computing strategy for Wall Street

Microsoft is a huge multinational technology company, with lines of business spread across PCs, productivity software, gaming, internet search, and more. But after its third fiscal quarter earnings report came out yesterday, financial analysts spent most of their time asking about a very specific business. Questions about Microsoft Azure and associated cloud services dominated Microsoft’s financial results call yesterday afternoon. By contrast, market leader Amazon Web Services only came up a handful of times during the Amazon call with analysts, which makes some sense given that AWS is already a well-understood component of Amazon’s overall business. For Microsoft watchers, this… Read More
  • 12 hours ago

Interview: How Best Buy is turning the tide against Amazon in the e-commerce giant’s backyard

E-commerce is killing traditional retail, right? Well, not quite — the reality is much more complex than that. It’s true that e-commerce powerhouses, most notably Amazon, have drastically changed the retail landscape, threatening traditional retailers left and right. But those traditional retailers are learning a few tricks of their own, going through digital transformations that leverage their infrastructure of physical retail stores. One of these companies is electronics retailer Best Buy, which seemed on the verge of collapse just five years ago before undergoing a transformation under CEO Hubert Joley. But now, as the Wall Street Journal says, “The next time a… Read More
  • 12 hours ago

Why is Microsoft trying to turn its Surface business into the next Nokia?

Microsoft is developing a worrying habit of neglecting its hardware products.
  • 12 hours ago

Those ’10 concerts’ lists on Facebook are fun and/or annoying — but are they a privacy threat?

Do I really need anyone to guess whether or not I saw Journey, Flock of Seagulls and Ratt in concert at some point in my life? That was the big question on Facebook this week as you no doubt ran across those random “10 concerts I’ve been to, one is a lie” lists from friends in your news feed. But setting aside musical taste and your own willingness to participate in — or criticize — the sharing phenomenon, The New York Times raised another interesting theory regarding such social media activity: is it a threat to individuals’ online security and privacy?… Read More
  • 13 hours ago

WNBA legend Sue Bird; SeatGeek co-founder; Topgolf CEO to speak at GeekWire Sports Tech Summit

A leading NFL executive; a mobile ticketing guru; an eSports innovator; a sports science expert; a women’s basketball legend; a golf entertainment complex CEO; a top football reporter; and much more. The second annual GeekWire Sports Tech Summit is shaping up to be another action-packed event that brings together leaders across the sports technology landscape — ranging from data science to sports marketing to virtual reality to fan engagement to wearables and more — on June 21-22 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. There are only 350 tickets remaining for this much-anticipated event, which also includes fantastic networking opportunities from attendees who are at the cutting… Read More
  • 14 hours ago