(Photo by Sam Markowitz)
Every day, we at Technical.ly talk to technologists, entrepreneurs and leaders building in Philadelphia. They span different categories of company and job title, and have different paths and plans for getting to the ultimate destination.
Through them all, a couple of threads become clear: a resounding commitment to making an impact in their city, and the fact that bringing change is hard.
So, let’s take a night to get together and recognize the people, companies and partnerships powering the local community. They deserve it.
On Thursday, Dec. 12, the 2019 Technical.ly Awards are coming to Philadelphia, highlighting the people and teams making big contributions inside new ventures, and on the local economy as a whole. (These honors are the natural, albeit tech-specific successor to the now-defunct Philly Geek Awards, which we co-organized for two years, last in 2017.)
Join us from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Guru in Center City, where we’ll have a ceremony complete with recognition of winners and awards to take home. And our first-ever RealLIST Engineers will be honored that night, too; nominations are now closed, but look for that list to be published toward the end of October.
But first, we have to pick the award winners. And we need your help. Follow the orange button to vote in seven categories. Voting is open through Thursday, Nov. 7. For some added background, check out more about each nominee below.
A little bit about the process: The Technical.ly Awards are an online vote highlighting the best in new thinking. The editorial team curates a list of nominees to be voted on by the local tech community — one vote per person. Though candidates can be nominated in multiple years and for different categories, no one can win the same category more than once. The spirit is to welcome in new leaders.
And the nominees are …
Invention of the Year
- Lilu’s pumping bra — The hands-free breast pumping bra with automated massage, founded by Adriana Vazquez while finishing her master’s thesis at the University of Pennsylvania, that funded itself via Kickstarter and began shipping products to customers late this summer
- LIFESABER — Maker Marvin Weinberger’s new do-it-all power source and survival tool that crowdfunded more than $150,000 in less than a month
- TrekIT Health — The company founded by Penn professor Dr. Subha Airan-Javia that offers a set of efficiency tools for clinicians, is in the middle of a $2 million raise, and was pitched at last month’s PACT Capital Conference to a live audience
- NeuroFlow — The mental health care and analytics platform that’s made moves such as partnering with Jefferson Health and with genetic testing company Genomind to expand its services
- Augean Robotics’ Burro — The robotic cart that follows farm and other workers around and can travel autonomously, founded by a RAPID accelerator graduate that raised a $1.5 million seed round to grow Augean staff and scale the deployment of its technology earlier this year
Impact Leader of the Year
- Kiera Smalls — The executive director of Philly Startup Leaders who recently implemented a redesign of its website and programming
- Code for Philly Co-Directors Rich McMillen and Charlie Costanzo — The pair who stepped up as leaders of the civic-minded, open source tech organization earlier this year and recently wrapped another social good-focused, monthlong hackathon
- Ashley Turner — The lead organizer of Philly Tech Sistas who built the tech training organization from the ground up over the past few years, adding programing, running events and growing a network of volunteers to support its growth
- Amplify Philly’s Dave Silver and Michelle Freeman — The people leading the coalition dedicated to economic development and brand awareness for Philadelphia at SXSW conference who pulled off a second year of the Amplify Philly House in March
- Brigitte Daniel — The digital access advocate who works as EVP at telecomms firm Wilco Electronic Systems, organizes Philly Tech Week’s annual Women in Tech Soiree and partners on University City Science Center’s new Launch Lane accelerator helping tech-enabled startups grow
CTO of the Year
- Ravindar Gujral — The chief data and technology officer at the nonprofit Benefits Data Trust, which helps low-income people access to public benefits and services and is in the middle of implementing a two-year, $1 million grant to bring scalability to its technology
- Mark Wheeler — The CIO of the City of Philadelphia, whose Office of Innovation and Technology participates in projects such as the Digital Literacy Alliance, and more recently has been looking into how the City will tackle the 2020 census
- Buck Ryan — The CTO of startup Crossbeam, which manages a collaborative data platform that has onboarded more than 100 companies (including some local ones)
- Chris Baglieri — The SVP product at Blackfynn, which created the Blackfynn Data Science Platform to help neuroscience and neurology communities make better use of data and earlier this year expanded its partnership with the Michael J. Fox Foundation
- Erica Windisch — The CTO and cofounder of fully remote, cloud-focused company IOPipe, which “provides tools for devs to build the next generation of serverless computers” and raised a $2.5 million seed round in 2017
Startup of the Year
- Crossbeam — The Center City-based data analytics startup founded in 2018 by Robert Moore and Buck Ryan that raised $12.5 million in August
- Employee Cycle — The Center City-based company from gatherDocs cofounder and former CMO Bruce Marable that just launched its HR analytics dashboard in September
- Group K Diagnostics — The life sciences company that makes a microfluidics-based, point-of-care diagnostics platform and inked a deal with the CDC to design a Zika virus test in March
- QuotaPath — The AJ Bruno-cofounded maker of software for sales pros that launched its flagship product, a platform designed to help salespeople calculate and track their commission-based earnings and quota attainment, in August
- Nerd Street Gamers — The Northern Liberties-based, fundraising esports company organizing tournaments in a bid to develop the next generation of esports talent around the county
Growth Company of the Year
- Phenom People — The Ambler Yards-based maker of a talent experience management platform that raised $22 million for global expansion and recently announced a strategic reseller agreement with a European employer branding and recruitment marketing agency
- Sidecar — The Center City-based performance marketing firm that’s growing fast, with recent raises in addition to receiving funding from the new Global Opportunity Philadelphia Fund
- Perpay — The Center City-based consumer lending fintech company that was named the fifth-fastest-growing company in the United States by 2019’s Inc. 5000 list
- goPuff — The delivery company building a 30,000-square-foot headquarters at 3rd and Spring Garden streets that reports employing over a thousand people and is now working in about 90 cities
- Guru — The Center City-based company founded by Rick Nucci and Mitchell Stewart that produces a knowledge-management tool and announced a $25 million Series B late last year
Corporate Innovation of the Year
- Comcast LIFT Labs at the Comcast Technology Center — The space on the third floor of the new skyscraper that hosts an accelerator and programing throughout the year supporting early-stage ventures
- URBN’s Nuuly — The clothing rental subscription service that operates under the Navy Yard-based retail brand and sends six pieces to renters for a month at a time
- Vanguard Innovation Studio — The Center City-based center, about 20 miles from its Main Line HQ, that’s spun out a handful of projects including Pygg, an interactive digital product that teaches 8- to 10-year-olds basic financial concepts
- Wawa Innovation Center — The Chester Heights-based center that encourages experimentation of the regional chain’s menu and company processes and hosts the Future Food Scientist Program for teens
- The Philadelphia Inquirer/Lenfest Institute for Journalism — The partnership for digital transformation resulting from the legacy newspaper being handed over to the nonprofit and supporting the expansion of the paper’s technology and product development teams
Culture Builder of the Year
- BENgineers — Comcast’s quickly growing professional organization for Black engineers that promotes public speaking and community building
- Emily Allen — Seer Interactive’s pro-transparency director of people operations who joined as the digital marketing agency’s first HR hire in 2013
- Sally Guzik — The positive-culture-minded director for Philadelphia’s CIC outpost, which hosts equity-minded startups, coworking, BioLabs and the Venture Café event series operated by the Science Center
- Vinny Palochko — The director of people operations at Linode, the Old City-based open source-focused cloud hosting provider that’s opening data centers around the world, who guided employee growth from 30 to 200 over seven years
- Talia Edmundson — The seven-year director of HR for fast-changing motorcycle ecommerce company RevZilla and public speaker who believes “No one likes a brilliant jerk”
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