GeekWire Awards 2021: Vote for the leader who is getting things done as Startup CEO of the Year

Startup CEO of the Year finalists, clockwise from top left: Alessya Visnjic of WhyLabs; Luis Ceze of OctoML; Maria Colacurcio of Syndio; Mike McSherry of Xealth; and Ray Meiring of Qorus Software.

Managing fast-growing startups is not an easy task. Whether it’s keeping up with the competition, outsmarting big tech or raising more money to fuel ongoing innovation and growth, these CEOs are smart, busy and driven.

And doing it all during a raging health and economic crisis only made things tougher this year.

The GeekWire Awards Startup CEO of the Year finalists are Luis Ceze of OctoML; Maria Colacurcio of Syndio; Mike McSherry of Xealth; Ray Meiring of Qorus Software; and Alessya Visnjic of WhyLabs.

Integris CEO Kristina Bergman won the award in 2020.

Community voting is now underway across 13 GeekWire Awards categories in our 13th annual celebration of Pacific Northwest tech. That 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 Startup CEO of the Year finalist.

Create your own user feedback survey

Maria Colacurcio, CEO of Syndio

Maria Colacurcio helped Syndio raise more than $24 million over the past year as the Seattle startup continued its work to eliminate gaps in pay equity.

“We have seen incredible demand in 2020, and this investment gives us the ability to innovate faster, creating new products that address some of the most difficult and embedded problems organizations face,” Colacurcio said in January.

Luis Ceze, co-founder & CEO of OctoML

Seattle-based startup OctoML raised a $28 million earlier this year. CEO Luis Ceze, a University of Washington professor, leads the UW spinout which aims to help companies deploy machine learning models on various hardware configurations.

“We aim to enable you to extract the best performance out of your machine learning models and automate the entire process of deploying the model to production,” he said in a recent blog post.

Alessya Visnjic, co-founder & CEO of WhyLabs

WhyLabs spun out Seattle’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence last fall and raised $4 million for its AI data monitoring platform.

UW grad and Amazon vet Alessya Visnjic said she left the tech giant in 2017 “with a vision to enable every enterprise to operate AI reliably.”

Mike McSherry, CEO of Xealth

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced hospital systems to adopt digital tools at record pace, startups such as Seattle-based Xealth are helping. Led by CEO Mike McSherry, the company landed a key partnership and $6 million investment from healthcare giant Cerner.

McSherry said it was “a realization and commitment that digital health, telehealth/remote monitoring is now part of care delivery going forward.”

Ray Meiring, CEO of Qorus Software

Qorus raised $5 million last year to fuel growth of its sales enablement software, which helps companies craft sales proposals. CEO Ray Meiring said its secret sauce is its integration with Microsoft applications such as Office and Dynamics.

“We have great customers across industries like legal, tech and healthcare who use our product to quickly access content at the right time in the sales process and easily create winning pitches, proposals and RFP responses,” he said.

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 [email protected].

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Startups Alessya visnjic Luis ceze Maria colacurcio Mike mcsherry Octoml Qorus Ray meiring Startup ceo of the year Syndio Whylabs Xealth