Age is just a number in the constantly evolving technology world, and the nominees in this GeekWire Awards category prove you’re never too young to take the entrepreneurial plunge.
Our Young Entrepreneur of the Year award celebrates startup founders in the Pacific Northwest who are 30 or younger. We’re soliciting votes for six rising stars in the startup community, so cast your ballot below.
Community voting is now underway across 13 GeekWire Awards categories. These votes will be combined with feedback from more than 20 judges to determine the winner in each category. We’ll announce the results live on stage March 26 at the GeekWire Awards — presented by Wave Business — in front of more than 800 geeks at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle. Community voting ends March 6.
Submit your votes below, grab your tickets, and scroll down for descriptions of each Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist.
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Kwame Boler and Claudius Mbemba co-founded NEU, a marketplace connecting Airbnb hosts with hotel-grade cleaners. NEU successfully competed against other startups in GeekWire’s Elevator Pitch series in 2018, scoring third place in the final round at the GeekWire Summit. NEU also won the Geek’s Choice award as the crowd favorite and took home the grand prize at the National Black MBA Association Scale-Up Pitch Competition.
Sara Itucas co-founded Legalpad to simplify the process of obtaining skilled work visas after personally experiencing the bureaucracy of immigrating to the U.S. She continues to lead product and operations at the startup, which participated in the 2018 Techstars Seattle accelerator program.
Michael Petrochuk is co-founder and chief technology officer at WellSaid Labs, a spinout of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (a.k.a. AI2). WellSaid develops lifelike AI-powered voices customized for different contexts. The project grew out of work that was being done by Petrochuk and WellSaid’s co-founder under the aegis of AI2’s startup incubator.
Aran Khanna is the CEO and co-founder of Reserved.ai, a startup that helps customers automate and manage their cloud expenses. The startup boasts 30 percent savings for customers on their cloud bills. He brings expertise from a prior gig at Amazon’s cloud operation, AWS.
Tony Huang is the co-founder and CEO of Possible Finance, a startup that provides small, mobile-only loans. Unlike payday loans, borrowers have more time to pay the money back and their payments allow them to build good credit. Possible Finance has raised $6 million to grow the business.
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, EY, JLL, Premera, Slalom, and WSGR. And to our supporting sponsors First Tech Federal Credit Union, Bader Martin, Akvelon, Flyhomes, Funko and Moz. If interested in sponsoring a category or another component of the GeekWire Awards, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.