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GeekWire: Calmwave Wins 2023 UX Design Of Year

Via GeekWire, Written by Kurt Schlosser


Jake Stallman, VP of build quality and design at Carbon Robotics, snags a selfie with R2-D2 while accepting the Hardware/Gadget/Robotics of the Year Award at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

A Star Wars theme complemented the rising stars on hand as light sabers glowed and a galaxy of lights twinkled overhead during the GeekWire Awards on Thursday in Seattle.

We celebrated the top innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists and educators in the Pacific Northwest, across 15 categories. The 60 finalists attracted more than 10,000 votes.

The force of the community was indeed strong at the Showbox SoDo.

There were surprises and guest appearances, including our resident geek entertainer Robert “The Drunken Tenor” McPherson; newly returned Seattle Seahawks legend Bobby Wagner; Netflix’s “Love is Blind” star Kwame Appiah; and NASA Astronaut Kayla Barron.

Seattle Opera singer Robert “The Drunken Tenor” McPherson performs as a human ChatGPT during the opening of the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Wagner, who left for a season to play with the Los Angeles Rams, said he was excited to be back in Seattle. The longtime player is also plugged into the tech community as a venture partner with Seattle-area VC firm Fuse. He offered up advice to the entrepreneurs and startup leaders in attendance.

“Never overlook the power of good people and culture,” Wagner said, adding that both can take a business way further than any technology. “Invest in good people.”

The night kicked off with the award for Startup of the Year and concluded with CEO of the Year. Along the way, winners from a variety of interests and disciplines thanked their co-workers, their customers, their biggest believers and the community that helped along the way.

“If every employee is wildly successful, the company can’t help but be wildly successful,” said Impinj CEO Chris Diorio, accepting the award for CEO of the Year.

And David Lampkin, vice president at Astound Business Solutions, blew out the candles on a cake celebrating 10 years of the company serving as presenting sponsor for the Awards.

Keep reading for a recap of all the winners and honorees:

Startup of the Year, presented by Meridian Capital

Winner: Arrived Homes

Ryan Frazier, co-founder and CEO of Arrived Homes, accepts the award for Startup of the Year at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: The Seattle startup uses crowdfunding to help anyone purchase shares of rental properties for as little as $100 and earn a passive income while the company handles everything from property acquisition to necessary improvements and management of daily operations.

Other finalists: Lexion; Phaidra; Shipium; and WhyLabs.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year, presented by TalentReach

Winner: Ana-Maria Constantin, co-founder and CEO of Cascade Health

Ana-Maria Constantin, co-founder and CEO of Cascade Health, accepts the award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: A Harvard graduate in computer science and astrophysics, Ana-Maria Constantin was a software engineer at Microsoft for more than five years before starting Cascade Health. Founded last year, the startup is an AI-powered platform that helps patients and others understand healthcare costs. The company, formerly called Gondwana, was a finalist at the 2022 MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition.

Other finalists: Devin Ajimine, Ashika Mulagada, Pouya Rad and Marisa Chentakul of LifeAt; JT Garwood of bttn; Elena Zhizhimontova and Andrew DiLosa of Spiral; and Shane Kovalsky of Glue.

Public Policy Champion for Innovation, presented by WTIA

Winner: Washington State Rep. Amy Walen

Washington state Rep. Amy Walen, left, accepts the award for Public Policy Champion for Innovation at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: Washington state Rep. Amy Walen went to the state’s capitol planning to work on gun violence and affordable housing. But when she arrived in Olympia, Walen discovered an additional important role that she needed to play: serving as a voice for business among her fellow Democrats. A lawmaker since 2019, Walen calls herself a “pragmatic progressive” and has worked to strike a balance between support for businesses, entrepreneurship and tech advancement with issues like housing affordability and data privacy.

Sustainable Innovation of the Year, presented by Wilson Sonsini

Winner: Pure Watercraft

Andy Rebele, founder and CEO of Pure Watercraft, accepts the award for Sustainable Innovation of the Year at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: The Seattle startup is developing all electric powerboats for the retail market. The Pure Outboard motor is a battery-powered engine that is a quieter, cleaner replacement for traditional gas-powered outboard motors. In 2021, General Motors acquired a 25% stake in the company. The partnership allows the startup to combine its marine propulsion technology with the automaker’s engineering, supply chain and manufacturing capabilities and the first result is the Pure Pontoon.

Other finalists: Eviation; Membrion; Recompose; and Zap Energy.

Deal of the Year, presented by Wilson Sonsini

Winner: Bungie

Warren Rice, director of business development at Bungie, accepts the award for Deal of the Year at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: In January 2022, Bungie announced that it was getting acquired by Sony in a massive $3.6 billion deal. Bungie is now an independent Sony Interactive Entertainment subsidiary. Bungie’s initial success was tied to Microsoft. The Bellevue-Wash.-based game development shop, once part of the tech giant, drove the success of the original Xbox in 2001 with Halo: Combat Evolved. Bungie spun out of Microsoft in 2007 and later launched the Destiny franchise of online multiplayer shooter games, set in a world 700 years in the future.

Other finalists: Affini-T Therapeutics; Copper; First Mode; and MotherDuck.

Innovation of the Year, presented by Astound Business

Winner: Ghostwriter-AI

Patrick Husting, founder of Ghostwriter-AI, accepts the award for Innovation of the Year at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: Developed by entrepreneur Patrick Husting, this add-in for Microsoft Office beat Microsoft to the punch by integrating ChatGPT into the company’s flagship productivity suite weeks before Microsoft announced plans to do so itself. After starting with Microsoft Word, Ghostwriter has since expanded to other Microsoft Office apps.

Other finalists: Overland AI; Proprio; Temporal; and Yoodli.

Health Innovation of the Year

Winner: AltPep

Valerie Daggett, co-founder and CEO at AltPep, accepts the award for Health Innovation of the Year at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist:AltPep CEO Valerie Daggett envisions a future where people are routinely screened for Alzheimer’s disease before cognitive symptoms develop, and potentially even receive preventive treatment. Last fall, the company published data showing that its experimental test could detect signs of disease in the blood of people with Alzheimer’s disease and in people who went on to develop mild cognitive impairment. The test is now on track for priority review with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Other finalists: Cyrus Biotech; SEngine Precision Medicine; Bonum Therapeutics; and DexCare.

UX Design of the Year, presented by Blink

Winner: CalmWave

Ophir Ronen, founder and CEO of CalmWave, accepts the award for UX Design of the Year at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: CalmWave’s web-based user interface is focused on delivering what is typically very complicated and messy patient information (i.e. vital signs, electronic medical record data, etc.) in a simple and digestible format. CalmWave thinks of the vital signs, interventions, notes, and lab results that their product ingests as all-encompassed within a giant sphere of medical data. Their UX pattern provides users with “views” into different spheres of this data.

Other finalists: Knapsack; Soovu Labs; Taqtile; and Textio.

STEM Educator of the Year, presented by Bank of America

Winners: Ted Rodriquez, Melissa Pearcy

STEM Educator of the Year honoree Ted Rodriquez accepts his award at the 2023 Geek Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Liosta)

The gist: Ted Rodriquez is an instructor for high school juniors and seniors at the Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center in Everett, Wash. The program serves tech-focused students in 44 high schools spread across multiple districts north of Seattle. Rodriquez is focused on electronics, engineering and the interdisciplinary field of mechatronics and his students are highly sought after by local employers.

STEM Educator of the Year honoree Melissa Pearcy accepts her award at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Melissa Pearcy teaches kindergarten-through-fifth-grade students in her role as a science specialist at Jefferson Elementary, which is part of Spokane Public Schools. She is a lead teacher in her 30,000 student district in Eastern Washington, and provides STEM professional development for her colleagues. Pearcy also serves on a national team developing cutting-edge science curriculum focused on real-world learning.

Geeks Give Back Award, presented by BECU

Winners: Karat: Brilliant Black Minds, Mentors in Tech, A Way Home Washington, and Ganaz.

Portia Kibble Smith, head of DEI programs and partnerships at Karat, accepts the Geeks Give Back Award at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)
Kevin Wang, founder of Mentors in Tech, accepts the Geeks Give Back Award at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)
Elisha Pritchett, data manager at A Way Home Washington, accepts the Geeks Give Back Award at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)
Emma Schott, head of product and operations at Ganaz, accepts the Geeks Give Back Award at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: The nonprofit A Way Home Washington a nonprofit uses tech to tackle youth homelessness. | Brilliant Black Minds is a program from the startup Karat to provide interview prep for Black engineers. | Ganaz is a public benefit corporation serving agricultural workers and employers. | Mentors in Tech (MinT) is an organization helping community college grads land jobs.

Hardware/Gadget/Robotics of the Year

Winner: Carbon Robotics

Paul Mikesell, right, CEO of Carbon Robotics, and Jake Stallman, VP of build quality and design, accept the Hardware/Gadget/Robotics of the Year Award at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: This startup’s self-driving robot uses artificial intelligence to identify weeds growing in fields of vegetables, then zaps them with precision thermal bursts from lasers.

Other finalists: Artly; BRINC Drones; Glowforge; and RipeLocker.

Next Tech Titan, presented by Stifel

Winner: Flexe

Deirdre Runnette, chief people officer/general counsel at Flexe, accepts the Next Tech Titan Award at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: The Seattle startup offers retailers flexible logistics and cost savings through access to a network of distribution facilities and carriers. The company offers same-day delivery and other capabilities, helping customers compete with Amazon.

Other finalists: Rec Room; Group 14 Technologies; SeekOut; and iSpot.

Workplace of the Year, presented by JLL

Winner: Adaptive Biotechnologies

Francis Lo, chief people officer at Adaptive Biotechnologies, accepts the Workplace of the Year Award at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: The company develops technology to assess the immune response. In 2022, Adaptive implemented a new “modern workplace” to help employees experience a post-pandemic environment. A new hybrid work policy allows staff flexibility on when they need to be onsite and allows for better work-life balance. Technology and onsite improvements have been made throughout Adaptive’s buildings to support the change in work habits.

Other finalists: Blink; Helion; Impinj; and Treasury4.

Startup CEO of the Year, presented by T-Mobile

Winner: Prem Kumar, CEO of Humanly

Prem Kumar, left, CEO of Humanly, accepts the Startup CEO of the Year Award at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: Humanly co-founder and CEO Prem Kumar wants to help companies speed up the interview process. Humanly’s tech can screen job candidates, schedule interviews, automate initial communication, run reference checks, and more. The aim is to reduce the time it takes to find talent and provide a better experience for potential new employees. A Techstars mentor, Kumar previously worked at TINYPulse and spent 10 years at Microsoft.

See these profiles for more on this category: Christie Lagally of Rebellyous; Grin Lord of mpathic; Ivan Liachko of Phase Genomics; and Emily Pesce of Joon.

CEO of the Year, presented by RSM

Winner: Chris Diorio, CEO of Impinj

Chris Diorio, CEO of Impinj, accepts the CEO of the Year Award at the 2023 GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

The gist: Chris Diorio founded Impinj in 2000 while teaching at the University of Washington. He served as CTO before stepping into the CEO role in 2014. Impinj went public in 2016. The manufacturer of radio-frequency identification devices and software reported revenue of $76.6 million in the fourth quarter, up 46% from the year-ago period. In November, Impinj introduced new tag chips, which work with automotive parts, pharmaceuticals and food products. Diorio also serves as an affiliate professor of computer science and engineering at the UW.

Other finalists: Maria Colacurcio of Syndio; Xiao Wang of Boundless Immigration; Luis Ceze of OctoML; François Locoh-Donou of F5.

Thank you!

GeekWire Awards attendees pack the Showbox Sodo in Seattle on Thursday night. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

A big thanks to Astound Business Solutions, the presenting sponsor of the 2022 GeekWire Awards. And shout out to gold-level and category sponsors: Wilson Sonsini, JLL, Blink, BECU, Baird, Fuel Talent, RSM, Talent Reach, WTIA, Meridian Capital, Bank of America, UnCruise Adventures, and T-Mobile. And thanks to silver level sponsors: First Tech, Remitly, Fuel Talent, and SolluCIO Partners.

Go here for all the photos and videos from the photo booth.

Check out the complete video replay of the event here:

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