Press ReleasesOregon Entrepreneurs Network Announces the Winners of the 25th Annual OEN Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards

October 24, 2018, Portland, Oregon – The Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) is pleased to announce the winners of the 25th annual OEN Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards, presented on October 24 at the Oregon Convention Center. The awards program is Oregon’s largest annual entrepreneurial gathering, celebrating the region’s best and brightest entrepreneurs. It is being chronicled on social media at #oenawards.

The winners in each category include: 

GAME CHANGER AWARD WINNER: Streem—Ryan Fink and Sean Adkinson, Co-founders

Streem is a technology company with mobile apps for iOS and Android that connect home service professionals to their customers through on-demand intelligent video streaming. Streem’s award-winning software allows service professionals to guide customers with Augmented Reality (arrows, annotations, etc.). Through Streem’s advanced computer vision and machine learning technology, service professionals take measurements and collect data (serial numbers, barcode data) more quickly and efficiently than if they were on-site. Streem is building innovative technology in a home services space that is ripe for disruption.

The winner for OEN’s Game Changer Award was determined by an audience vote. The Game Changer Award honors both nonprofit and for-profit enterprises that offer a novel solution to a social problem. This social enterprise has a commitment to impact that is central to the mission of the business, a viable business model, and a compelling answer to the question: “Why is your solution better than existing solutions?”

Other finalists in this category were:

BATTLE OF THE SCHOOLS WINNER: Spencer Holton, University of Oregon

Spencer Holton is the Founder and CEO of Trail Supply Co. based in Eugene. Spencer has run a sustainable and profitable business for two years while going to school part-time. He regularly gives back to the entrepreneurial community by serving as a guest speaker in classes and local events and serves as a mentor to younger entrepreneurs. His accolades include being the youngest founder of a Starve Ups company, graduating from the 2016 RAIN Eugene accelerator, and reaching the Semifinal Round in the national collegiate SXSW Startup Madness 2018 competition.

The OEN Battle of the Schools Award  was created to honor the memory of Wyatt Starnes, a technology entrepreneur who passed away in 2014, and honors a nominee embodying Wyatt’s distinguishing qualities:  enthusiasm, willingness to work hard toward a goal, fearlessness when it comes to taking big risks and a commitment to changing the world for the better. We invite schools throughout the state to nominate one entrepreneur they work with—either a recent grad, current student, or someone affiliated with an accelerator or other entrepreneurial program.

Other finalists in this category were:

BOOTSTRAP STAGE CATEGORY WINNER: Uform—Cherie Stamm, Founder & CEO, Turlif Vilbrandt Founder & CTO

Uform offers an easy to use 3D development, design, and distribution ecosystem for industrial uses. Uform’s pioneering technology breaks through the limitations placed on design and production by existing engines. Tasks difficult for current 3D applications today, for example — personalized design using biometric scan data, are easy and unlimited with Uform. Uform was chosen because the founder and team are deeply committed to their vision, its approach is innovative, and its technology could disrupt the industry. In addition, Uform has an excellent leadership team with a deep understanding of their space. With over 20 years of research, Uform’s small but dedicated team created something only very few large companies have done in the past: a geometric engine to drive 3D applications.

OEN’s Bootstrap Stage Company Award honors “Oregon’s Hottest Garage Venture.” This award recognizes a for-profit startup that has achieved significant milestones over the last 12 months without ever raising equity or debt capital. The company may have small funding sources through personal resources, friends and family or receivables, with revenues between $0 – $0.5 million.

Other finalists in this category were:

EARLY STAGE CATEGORY WINNER: Riff Cold Brewed Coffee—Nate Armbrust, Steve Barham, Paul Evers, Bobby Evers, Kevin Smyth, Co-founders

Riff produces delicious cold-brewed coffee with two simple ingredients; sustainably sourced, artisanal coffee, and pure Cascade mountain water. It’s available in ready-to-drink bottles, an innovative 3-liter Bag-in-Box, and on draft at bars, restaurants, and businesses. Riff Cold Brewed Coffee was selected because the judges believe that the company is led by a world-class team of entrepreneurs with deep expertise in product development that is creating a genuinely unique customer experience. The judges believe Riff Cold Brewed Coffee is reinventing a mature market and has the potential to be one of the biggest brands to come out of Oregon.

OEN’s Early Stage Award honors “Oregon’s Most Promising Startup.” This award recognizes a for-profit startup that has achieved significant milestones over the past 12 months and may have raised angel, venture or grant funding, with revenues between $0 – $1 million.

Other finalists in this category were:

DEVELOPMENT STAGE CATEGORY WINNER: Sseko Designs—Liz and Ben Bohannon, Co-founders

Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand that hires high potential women in Uganda to make sandals. This enables them to earn money through dignified employment that will go directly towards their college educations and ensure they will continue pursuing their dreams. By creating an environment of dignity, honor, and dedication, Sseko Designs provides the opportunity for women in East Africa to end the cycle of poverty and create a more equitable society. Sseko Designs was selected because the judges believe the company has an excellent leadership team with complementary strengths, has a pervasive and authentic mission and passion, is positively impacting people locally and internationally and has significant growth potential with likely exit opportunities.

OEN’s Development Stage Award honors “Oregon’s Next Business Home Run.” This award recognizes for-profit companies who are improving their product or service and are adding staff to support their growth, with projected revenue for the current year between $1 million – $8 million.

Other finalists in this category were:

GROWTH STAGE CATEGORY WINNERS: Vacasa and DWFritz Automation—Eric Breon, Co-founder & CEO, Vacasa, and Dennis Fritz, Founder, DWFritz and Mike Fritz, CEO, DWFritz.

This year, Vacasa rose to the No. 1 position as the largest vacation rental property management company in the U.S. Unlike a listing site, Vacasa handles everything for the homeowner from marketing and booking, housekeeping and maintenance to taxes and permitting. In recent years, Vacasa has brought refreshed attention and funding to the vacation rental industry, propelling an antiquated model forward with the use of proprietary technology. Vacasa was selected because the judges believe it has a unique product niche with few competitors, demonstrated strong and stable growth, low turnover, a defined company culture and sense of identity, and a terrific connection to the community.

Founded in 1973, DWFritz Automation designs and manufactures custom automation systems for advanced manufacturing. The company’s expertise includes custom, scalable, precision inspection and assembly automation solutions with unmatched customer support. With an impressive portfolio of clients, including many Fortune 500 corporations, the company has grown revenues by 1,102 percent from 2011 to 2017 and staff has gone from 60 to almost 570 employees worldwide. DWFritz was selected because of their innovative approach to updating an old-line business model, their entrepreneurial vision, the courage of their convictions, and their impressive growth trajectory.

OEN’s Growth Stage Award honors “Oregon’s Next Household Name.” This award recognizes for-profit companies who have a fully marketable product or service and have acquired a critical mass of customers. Companies have growing revenues of at least $8 million.

Other finalists in this category were:

ENTREPRENEURIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNER: Emma Mcilroy—Co-founder & CEO, Wildfang.

Seeking to create a home for badass women like herself, Emma co-founded clothing retailer Wildfang in 2012. Wildfang recently opened its third and fourth brick and mortar stores in New York and Los Angeles. Emma was featured in the Portland Business Journal’s 2018 Women of Influence and in Inc. Magazine’s 100 Female Founders to Watch. She is well known for her community activism, frequently speaking out about and spearheading initiatives on issues of women’s right and social justice. Prior to Wildfang, she managed branding efforts at NIKE in two of their most brand-defining categories: Running and Football.

The Entrepreneurial Achievement Award recognizes an entrepreneur or founding team with a record of outstanding achievement within the past 18 months. OEN looks for individual entrepreneurs or teams that demonstrate tenacity, passion, and grit; recognize—and capitalize on—opportunity; positively impact the communities in which they operate; and, actively support our entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Other finalists in this category were:

About Oregon Entrepreneurs Network

A nonprofit, membership-driven organization with a 27-year track record, OEN helps entrepreneurs start up and scale up by connecting them to a network of peers and mentors, startup funding opportunities, and hands-on training. We believe that a thriving network of entrepreneurs makes Oregon stronger. For more information about the OEN, visit oen.org.

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