We’re pleased to announce the winners of the 24th annual OEN Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards, presented on October 25 at the Oregon Convention Center. The awards program is Oregon’s largest annual entrepreneurial gathering, celebrating the region’s best and brightest entrepreneurs. It was chronicled on social media at #oenawards.
The winners in each category include:
Startup Stage Company Award
WINNER: AbSci—Sean McClain, Founder & CEO
AbSci has developed a proprietary bioengineered E. coli expression system, SoluPro™, which allows allows protein-based drugs such as insulin to be produced at a fraction of their current cost. AbSci was chosen because its leadership has demonstrated tremendous tenacity over the years, making real progress toward becoming a substantial employer and contributor to the biotech sector in Oregon. The company’s value proposition is extraordinary, and its team is remarkably cohesive.
OEN’s Startup Stage Company Award honors Oregon’s “Hottest Garage Venture.” Startup Stage companies have a projected revenue for the current year of less than $0.5 million. The two other finalists for this category were:
- Evelyn & Bobbie
Development Stage Company Award
WINNER: RADAR, Inc.—Mahmood Sher-Jan, CEO
RADAR is a first-to-market SaaS incident response management platform focused on addressing the complex regulatory requirements imposed by data breach notification laws. RADAR was chosen because of its great leadership team, positive culture, excellent traction with important customers, unique expertise, strong competitive position, and long-term strategic view.
OEN’s Development Stage Award honors Oregon’s “Next Business Home Run.” Development Stage companies have past-year revenue of at least $0.5 million and projected revenue for the current year of $0.5-$8 million. The three other finalists for this category were:
- Mirth Provisions
Growth Stage Company Award
WINNER: Cloudability—Mat Ellis, Founder and CEO
Cloudability specializes in cloud management tools that enable companies to manage cloud spending across departments, products and infrastructure. Cloudability was chosen because of its unique product niche with short list of competitors in the space; demonstrated strong, stable growth; defined company culture and sense of identity; low turnover; and connection to the community.
OEN’s Growth Stage Award honors Oregon’s “Next Household Name.” Growth Stage companies have past-year revenue of at least $8 million and projected revenue for the current year of over $8 million. The three other finalists for this category were:
- DWFritz Automation
Entrepreneurial Achievement Award
WINNERS: Ben Corrado and Justin Rigling—Co-Founders, Rigado
Ben Corrado and Justin Rigling co-founded Rigado in 2010. Corrado currently serves as CEO and previously ran engineering design teams at Garmin and Andrews-Cooper Technology. Rigling serves as CTO and was a design engineer at Garmin International. In 2004, Corrado and Rigling set the world record for longest wifi connection: 124 miles. Corrado and Rigling were chosen because they are unafraid to pivot and take risks, maintain 100% conviction in their idea and abilities, and have achieved phenomenal revenue growth, growing much more quickly than forecasted.
OEN’s Entrepreneurial Achievement Award honors an entrepreneur or founding team with a track record of outstanding success over the last 18 months. The three other finalists for this category were:
- Allie Magyar, Hubb
- Chris and Sadie Lincoln, barre3
- Shannon Keith, Sudara
Game Changer Award
WINNER: Good Clean Love—Wendy Strgar, Founder
The Game Changer Award honors a for-profit or non-profit company with a novel solution to a social problem. Good Clean Love, the winner for OEN’s 2017 Game Changer Award, was determined by an audience vote, with input from our judging committee. Good Clean Love is a woman owned, B-Corporation that offers organic lubricants and feminine hygiene products. The sexual health product industry has been largely controlled by a handful of large CPG companies that have not invested in any innovative product development or formulations for 40 years. Good Clean Love has been a primary disruptor in this space for the past six years, first leading in organic and now leading in patented, scientific advances and testing.
The other finalists in this category were:
- Cascade Health Alliance
- GO Box
- Wild Me
Lifetime Achievement Award
WINNER: Sam Blackman, AWS Elemental
Sam Blackman founded Elemental Technologies in 2006 and served as its CEO until August 2017. He rose to prominence as one of Oregon’s most successful and respected tech entrepreneurs. AWS Elemental, which now employs more than 400 people, was acquired by Amazon in 2015.
The Lifetime Achievement Award honors a career of entrepreneurial achievement, as well as civic engagement and community investment. As a startup, Elemental donated company shares to the Entrepreneurs Foundation of the Northwest (EFNW), which was later acquired by OEN. That equity became liquid when Elemental was acquired, $150,000 of which was donated to OEN to help support Oregon’s next generation of entrepreneurs. The other proceeds helped create the Elemental Community Investment Fund, part of the Oregon Community Foundation.
Blackman was fiercely committed to diversity and inclusion in the Portland business community and the broader media and entertainment industry. He co-founded the 4K 4Charity Fun Run Series in 2014 to help support diversity and inclusion initiatives. He also signed AWS Elemental onto the TechTown diversity pledge, and aspired to influence the wider AWS community towards broader civic engagement, the importance of volunteerism and the critical role of diversity and inclusion in industry.
Blackman was a “serial” OEN Award winner, receiving the Growth Stage Company Award in 2014, the Development Stage Company Award in 2011, and the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award in 2011.
Wyatt Starnes Battle of the Schools Award
WINNER: Chris Vlessis, OSU Cascades
Chris Vlessis is the cofounder and CTO of Shape Integrated Software based in Bend. In just three years, Shape has grown incredibly fast, with significant revenue and profitability. While in high school, Vlessis built a web crawler to automate job checking websites at G5, another startup in Bend, and the software is still used today. He also headed up projects at Intel Labs, called “The Collector,” which was demoed at Intel’s Design & Test Technology conference.
OEN’s Wyatt Starnes Battle of the Schools Award honors our region’s up-and-coming young entrepreneurs. OEN asked colleges and universities across Oregon to nominate the most promising young entrepreneur, age 18-30, associated with their institution.
Three other finalists for this category were:
- Halley Farwood, Pacific University
- Max Clary, Lewis & Clark College
- Nathan Braaten, Oregon State University