EY reveals Pacific Northwest finalists for 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year

EY reveals Pacific Northwest finalists for 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year

11:29am, 18th April, 2019
Winners of the 2018 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) EY on Thursday the Pacific Northwest region finalists for its annual Entrepreneur of the Year program that recognizes top business leaders. The nominees lead companies across various industries such as healthcare, marketing, logistics, and more. This year’s regional winners will be announced at a special June 14 at the King Street Ballroom & Perch and go on to compete in the national competition, which is now in its 33rd year. Several of the nominees and their companies are also among the finalists at the , including folks such as Rajeev Singh, Jessie Woolley-Wilson, Ty Collins, and Mike Radenbaugh, as well as startups such as Flexe, Highspot, and Zipwhip. Last year’s included Auth0 CEO Eugenio Pace; iSpot.tv CEO Sean Muller; Snap! Raise CEO Cole Morgan; and others. Here are the 2019 finalists, which were picked by a panel of independent judges. Rajeev Singh, CEO | Accolade, Inc. (Seattle, Washington) Aaron James, COO & David Steinberg, CEO | Adpearance (Portland, Oregon) Kabir Shahani, CEO & Derek Slager, CTO | Amperity (Seattle, Washington) Chris Moore, CEO | Concord Technologies (Seattle, Washington) Jessie Woolley-Wilson, President and CEO | DreamBox Learning, LLC (Bellevue, Washington) Bobby Balachandran, CEO | Exterro (Beaverton, Oregon) Karl Siebrecht, Co-founder and CEO | FLEXE, Inc. (Seattle, Washington) Derrick Morton, Co-founder and CEO & Douglas Pearson, Co-founder and CTO| FlowPlay Seattle, Washington) Jason Greer, President | General UI LLC (Seattle, Washington) Alissa Leinonen, Founder and CEO | Gourmondo Catering & Cafe Co (Seattle, Washington) Madeline Haydon, CEO | nutpods (Bellevue, Washington) Robert Wahbe, Co-Founder and CEO | Highspot (Seattle, Washington) Michael K Lester, CEO | LifeStance Health (Bellevue, Washington) Henry Albrecht, CEO | Limeade (Bellevue, Washington) Rajeev Agarwal, Founder and CEO | MAQ Software (Redmond, Washington) Kyle Stavig, CEO | Myers Container LLC (Portland, Oregon) Peggy Jarvis Miller, CEO | Pacific Star Communications, Inc. (“PacStar”) (Portland, Oregon) Ty Collins, CMO & Mike Radenbaugh, CEO | Rad Power Bikes (Seattle, Washington) Jacob Weatherly, Co-founder and CEO | SheerID (Portland, Oregon) Jordan Allen, CEO | Stay Alfred (Spokane, Washington) John Lauer, Co-founder and CEO | Zipwhip (Seattle, Washington)
More cash for Pacific Northwest startups: Founders’ Co-op raises $25M fund, its largest ever

More cash for Pacific Northwest startups: Founders’ Co-op raises $25M fund, its largest ever

10:15am, 15th April, 2019
Founders’ Co-op Managing Partners Chris DeVore and Aviel Ginzburg. (Founders’ Co-op Photo) More investment dollars are flowing into the Pacific Northwest startup ecosystem thanks to a new fund from . The Seattle-based early-stage venture capital firm just closed a $25 million fund, its fourth and largest ever since launching in 2008. Founders’ Co-op will follow the same playbook it has used in years past: being the first institutional check and anchor tenant in the seed round for companies it bankrolls. The firm focuses on writing checks in the $250,000-to-$750,000 range for budding startups across the Pacific Northwest. It has backed more than 90 startups, including companies such as Remitly, Outreach, Auth0, Crowd Cow, Apptentive, and others. Those companies have collectively gone on to raise more than $1.5 billion in follow-on capital. “We aren’t thematic investors but are focused on technical founding teams solving hard problems into which they have unique insights, which tends to lead us to enterprise software, from developer tools up through workflow automation and systems of intelligence,” DeVore told GeekWire last week. GeekWire previously reported on this fund , when Founders’ Co-op raised the initial dollars. The last clocked in at $20 million four years ago, which followed a $7.7 million fund in 2012 and a $2.7 million original fund. DeVore and Andy Sack started the firm in 2008, along with partner Rudy Gadre, a former Facebook and Amazon.com executive. Sack stepped away from day-to-day duties several years ago, leaving the Seattle firm in the hands of DeVore, who recruited Seattle entrepreneur , co-founder of Simply Measured, to the team as a venture partner. Ginzburg was promoted to general partner last year. Sack and Gadre are still involved as venture partners. Many in the Seattle tech economy have the lack of homegrown capital available in the Pacific Northwest over the years. DeVore is one of the biggest advocates looking to change that imbalance. “Somehow, all of a sudden, it’s ten years later,” DeVore wrote in a blog post. “We’re still doing the same thing we’ve always done, but the world has changed around us.” In his blog post, DeVore noted the growth of Seattle as a tech hub, with Amazon, Microsoft, and a flurry of remote engineering outposts helping increase the talent pool exponentially: “We’ve spent the last ten years honing our craft and building a community of founders, investors and mentors dedicated to our shared mission of making the Pacific Northwest the best place in the world to start a software company. Over the same period, our regional startup ecosystem has grown and changed in ways we never imagined, offering a more diverse and talented pool of potential founders than we’ve ever seen. As with our first fund back in 2008, it looks like we’re heading into another cycle of uncertainty in the global economy. We expect markets to slow, or even contract, over the next few years. We expect the last several years’ run of easy money for startups to end along with it. Putting that all together, we know for sure that the founders we back in this next cycle will be some of the best we’ve ever seen.” in Founders’ Co-op mostly come from the Pacific Northwest and are a mix of founders and tech executives, plus family offices and foundations. The State of Oregon, via its Oregon Growth Board, invested again in the fourth fund. DeVore also runs Techstars Seattle, which its 10th class in February. Ginzburg, meanwhile, leads the Alexa Accelerator, another Techstars program that Amazon helps operate in Seattle. Founders’ Co-op, Techstars Seattle, and the Alexa Accelerator are all run out of the University of Washington’s Startup Hall.
Sen. Maria Cantwell and Microsoft President Brad Smith put a Northwest spin on quantum computing

Sen. Maria Cantwell and Microsoft President Brad Smith put a Northwest spin on quantum computing

10:15pm, 18th March, 2019
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Microsoft President Brad Smith discuss the challenge of quantum computing during a fireside chat at the Northwest Quantum Nexus Summit at the University of Washington. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle) The Pacific Northwest may be known for tech icons like Microsoft and Amazon but when U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., was asked what advice she’d give to the researchers and executives who are trying to up their game when it comes to quantum computing, she invoked a slogan used by a totally different kind of industry leader. “To borrow from another Northwest icon, ‘Just Do It,’ ” she said, referring to Nike, the Oregon-based sporting goods powerhouse. During today’s fireside chat with Microsoft President Brad Smith at the kickoff summit of a public-private consortium called the , Cantwell said quantum computing could become as much a part of the Pacific Northwest’s tech scene as Boeing and Microsoft, Amazon and Blue Origin. Quantum computing is a fuzzy approach to number-crunching that’s totally different from the classical data processing methods that have ruled the tech world for decades. Researchers haven’t yet created a universal quantum computer, but Vancouver, B.C.-based is already selling access to a . Microsoft, meanwhile, is aiming to . Cantwell and Smith acknowledged that relatively few folks in the general public are keyed into what computer scientists call “the quantum advantage” — that is, the ability of quantum computation to solve problems in chemistry, materials science and other fields that simply can’t be addressed by classical computers. Smith even wondered whether Cantwell’s colleagues in the Senate were able to keep up. “In some ways, the first test of whether a topic will resonate with the general public is whether people can reach the members of the House and Senate,” Smith mused. “Is that supposed to be funny?” Cantwell deadpanned. Cantwell, who worked as a tech executive at Real Networks before her election to the Senate in 2000, said members of the general public aren’t likely to get excited about quantum computing until they see its applications come to life — for example, in the form of exotic materials for super-efficient power storage batteries. “We’re so close on some of the renewables, yet we need to solve the storage problem to really make it work,” she said. The fact that the payoff may be a long time coming doesn’t mean entrepreneurs should back away from the frontier, she said. “What you can’t predict is how fast breakthroughs are going to happen. … Unleash it, just do it, unleash that, and my guess is we’ll be pretty surprised at what people can accomplish,” Cantwell said. Previously: Cantwell and other policymakers are already “doing it” by following through on the , which sets aside $1.2 billion over the next five years to boost quantum information science. The senator, who serves as the ranking member on the , said that funding will now have to go through the appropriations process to identify specific programs to receive the money. The legislation calls for , and one of the Northwest Quantum Nexus’ objectives may well be to bring one of those centers to our neck of the woods. Cantwell acknowledged that the $1.2 billion pales in comparison with the . “Are we going to spend as much as the Chinese? No, I don’t think we’re going to spend as much as the Chinese, but I think we’ll spend enough so that the people here in the United States can work collaboratively to get this done,” she said. Working collaboratively could well be one of the Pacific Northwest research community’s greatest strengths. The newly formed Northwest Quantum Nexus serves as an example: Microsoft, the University of Washington and the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are spearheading the initiative, but the more than 400 people who registered for this week’s summit at UW also include representatives of the region’s other universities as well as Boeing, Vulcan, Google and other tech companies. (No one from Nike, though.) “There’s so much collaboration in the Northwest, and I guess that’s what really makes me excited. … There’s so much innovation, but if you can’t implement it, then what’s the point?” Cantwell said. “One thing that we’re really good at here in the Pacific Northwest is, obviously we believe in science, and the fact that we collaborate very well across a lot of different disciplines to make those things work .”
Newly formed Northwest Quantum Nexus unites pioneers on the wild frontier of computing

Newly formed Northwest Quantum Nexus unites pioneers on the wild frontier of computing

11:56am, 18th March, 2019
Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory plan to employ quantum computing to develop new materials for chemical applications. (Microsoft Azure via YouTube) Experts in the weird and woolly field of quantum computing tend to concentrate on one slice of the challenge, whether it’s developing hardware, algorithms or applications — but in the region that’s home to Microsoft and Amazon, the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a new consortium is going after the whole stack. We’re not talking about pancakes or sandwiches here. We’re talking about the, which is aiming to widen a network of quantum connections for researchers, developers and business leaders. The group, led by Microsoft Quantum, PNNL and UW, was in advance of its inaugural summit this week at the university. Quantum computing goes in a direction that’s different from the classical computing techniques that have ruled the tech world for decades. In contrast to the on-or-off, one-or-zero bits of today’s digital computers, tomorrow’s quantum computers juggle fuzzy “qubits” that can be one-and-zero simultaneously until the result is read out. Researchers say the technique could potentially crack types of problems that classical computers couldn’t touch, even if they ran their algorithms for the lifetime of the universe. Over the next five years, the field will be getting a $1.2 billion boost in federal funding, thanks to the . And that flood of funding and attention is energizing computer scientists across the country. The Northwest Quantum Nexus aims to build a cluster for quantum research and development in Washington state, Oregon and British Columbia that’s analogous to the Midwest’s , the Boston area’s or . “We have a nice juxtaposition of all the same ingredients for quantum expertise as well as all of the ingredients that make this a real hotbed for the tech industry,” , director of PNNL’s Advanced Computing, Mathematics and Data Division, told GeekWire last week. “Together, that’s a perfect storm for making this thing feasible.” , general manager of in Redmond, Wash., said the Nexus has a “unique focus.” “Other centers are focusing on different aspects of quantum information science,” she said. “If you think of the stack for a quantum computer, we have algorithms and software at the top, then we have materials and the qubit design at the bottom. What we’re doing with the Nexus is that sandwich. We’re focusing on the sandwich elements to drive development on the other aspects, to drive scalability and accelerate the field.” Although the Northwest Quantum Nexus is just getting started, the Pacific Northwest has been a nexus for quantum information science for a long time. at its Redmond headquarters, and it’s . Just this month, the company to forge connections with startups and developers who are dialed into the Q# programming language and Microsoft’s . The Nexus and the Network provide complementary channels for building the infrastructure for quantum computing. PNNL, meanwhile, has been working to apply quantum computing principles to the development of exotic materials. Those efforts take advantage of computational chemistry tools such as the . Last year, for a quantum computing chemistry project. The University of Washington has a whole range of research areas that can take advantage of quantum principles, ranging from the purely theoretical to applied engineering. The different threads of research have recently been knit together into an initiative called . The University of Washington’s Kai-Mei Fu, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Nathan Baker and Microsoft’s Krysta Svore are among the organizers of the Northwest Quantum Nexus. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle) All three keystone partners see the Nexus as a way to kick things up a notch by expanding public-private partnerships. “We’re not going to be able to address these research questions without multidisciplinary teams,” Baker said. “So some of what the Nexus needs to be doing is making connections. As a region, we want to be able to make it easier for the members of those multidisciplinary teams to find each other, find research problems, find opportunities and go after them.” For example, UW offered its first undergraduate-level class in quantum computing this quarter, with Microsoft computer scientists doing the teaching. , a UW associate professor of physics and electrical and computer engineering who’s also the co-chair of QuantumX, sees signs of a “whole paradigm shift in education.” “Most computer science departments don’t have people working in quantum information, and that has to change,” she said. “We need the brightest minds working in the field to take full advantage of the ‘quantum advantage.’ ” One of the best-known applications for quantum computing is in the security realm, either to crack encryption codes or to open the way for new methods of secure communications. That angle has gotten a lot of attention from the and from a . But Svore said the Nexus is focusing on other applications. “We don’t believe that the big commercial application is to go break codes, right?” she said. “We believe the big applications are to bring forward quantum solutions for businesses, quantum solutions for…” “… Materials science,” Fu said. “… Better batteries,” Baker added. “That’s the area,” Svore said. “Another unique focus for the Nexus is sustainability, , better materials. …” “Very Northwest,” Fu chimed in. “Yeah,” said Svore, laughing.
Northwest Quantum Nexus unites pioneers on the weird frontier of computing

Northwest Quantum Nexus unites pioneers on the weird frontier of computing

11:25am, 18th March, 2019
Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory plan to employ quantum computing to develop new materials for chemical applications. (Microsoft Azure via YouTube) Experts in the weird and woolly field of quantum computing tend to concentrate on one slice of the challenge, whether it’s developing hardware, algorithms or applications — but in the region that’s home to Microsoft and Amazon, the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a new consortium is going after the whole stack. We’re not talking about pancakes or sandwiches here. We’re talking about the, which is aiming to widen a network of quantum connections for researchers, developers and business leaders. The group, led by Microsoft Quantum, PNNL and UW, is having its inaugural summit this week at the university. Quantum computing goes in a direction that’s different from the classical computing techniques that have ruled the tech world for decades. In contrast to the on-or-off, one-or-zero bits of today’s digital computers, tomorrow’s quantum computers juggle fuzzy “qubits” that can be one-and-zero simultaneously until the result is read out. Researchers say the technique could potentially crack types of problems that classical computers couldn’t touch, even if they ran their algorithms for the lifetime of the universe. Over the next five years, the field will be getting a $1.2 billion boost in federal funding, thanks to the . And that flood of funding and attention is energizing computer scientists across the country. The Northwest Quantum Nexus aims to build a cluster for quantum research and development in Washington state, Oregon and British Columbia that’s analogous to the Midwest’s , the Boston area’s or . “We have a nice juxtaposition of all the same ingredients for quantum expertise as well as all of the ingredients that make this a real hotbed for the tech industry,” , director of PNNL’s Advanced Computing, Mathematics and Data Division, told GeekWire last week. “Together, that’s a perfect storm for making this thing feasible.” , general manager of in Redmond, Wash., said the Nexus has a “unique focus.” “Other centers are focusing on different aspects of quantum information science,” she said. “If you think of the stack for a quantum computer, we have algorithms and software at the top, then we have materials and the qubit design at the bottom. What we’re doing with the Nexus is that sandwich. We’re focusing on the sandwich elements to drive development on the other aspects, to drive scalability and accelerate the field.” Although the Northwest Quantum Nexus is just getting started, the Pacific Northwest has been a nexus for quantum information science for a long time. at its Redmond headquarters, and it’s . Just this month, the company to forge connections with startups and developers who are dialed into the Q# programming language and Microsoft’s . The Nexus and the Network provide complementary channels for building the infrastructure for quantum computing. PNNL, meanwhile, has been working to apply quantum computing principles to the development of exotic materials. Those efforts take advantage of computational chemistry tools such as the . Last year, for a quantum computing chemistry project. The University of Washington has a whole range of research areas that can take advantage of quantum principles, ranging from the purely theoretical to applied engineering. The different threads of research have recently been knit together into an initiative called . The University of Washington’s Kai-Mei Fu, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Nathan Baker and Microsoft’s Krysta Svore are among the organizers of the Northwest Quantum Nexus. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle) All three keystone partners see the Nexus as a way to kick things up a notch by expanding public-private partnerships. “We’re not going to be able to address these research questions without multidisciplinary teams,” Baker said. “So some of what the Nexus needs to be doing is making connections. As a region, we want to be able to make it easier for the members of those multidisciplinary teams to find each other, find research problems, find opportunities and go after them.” For example, UW offered its first undergraduate-level class in quantum computing this quarter, with Microsoft computer scientists doing the teaching. , a UW associate professor of physics and electrical and computer engineering who’s also the co-chair of QuantumX, sees signs of a “whole paradigm shift in education.” “Most computer science departments don’t have people working in quantum information, and that has to change,” she said. “We need the brightest minds working in the field to take full advantage of the ‘quantum advantage.’ ” One of the best-known applications for quantum computing is in the security realm, either to crack encryption codes or to open the way for new methods of secure communications. That angle has gotten a lot of attention from the and from a . But Svore said the Nexus is focusing on other applications. “We don’t believe that the big commercial application is to go break codes, right?” she said. “We believe the big applications are to bring forward quantum solutions for businesses, quantum solutions for…” “… Materials science,” Fu said. “… Better batteries,” Baker added. “That’s the area,” Svore said. “Another unique focus for the Nexus is sustainability, , better materials. …” “Very Northwest,” Fu chimed in. “Yeah,” said Svore, laughing.