Innovation is more critical now than ever. It is not simply a matter of the latest technology or trend but rather about solving human problems, of which there’s no shortage these days. From income inequality to COVID-19 to social injustice, this is indeed a time of disruption, the perfect theater for innovative ideas and solutions to take center stage.
Our region has a long history of innovation. The first backpack, online bookstore, kidney dialysis machines, vinyl records, and only one of two states to pass board diversity legislation: these are just a few innovations that the Pacific Northwest region has pioneered over many years.
It is perhaps due to this rich tradition of combined technological innovation and social progress that makes the future of the Pacific Northwest even more promising. Emerging growth companies, a bright spot in our economy, are popping up by the dozens and remain a driving force behind transformative products and services. With Seattle being a fast-growing tech hub, it’s remarkable to witness the scalability of leading startups that are shaking up the global tech sector at a swift pace, in spite of the many challenges this year has presented us. Furthermore, it’s been inspiring to see the community’s commitment to making sure tech innovation is ethical, and that more people can partake of the benefits of economic growth in the sector.
For the past 26 years, Deloitte has celebrated innovation through Fast 500, our annual recognition of the most groundbreaking public and private technology companies. On November 18, we announced the 500 companies that made the 2020 North America Technology Fast 500 winners’ list.
The winners, a group of technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy tech companies, are defining the cutting edge, transform the way we do business and disrupt the technology industry through a combination of innovation and entrepreneurship.
To make this distinguished list, winners must have proprietary technology and are selected based on percentage fiscal-year revenue growth over a three-year period. Overall, the 2020 Technology Fast 500 companies achieved revenue growth ranging from 175% to 106,508% over the three-year time frame (2016-2019); the median growth rate for 2020 is 450%.
This year, Washington State-based companies secured 25 placements on the Fast 500 winners’ list, up from 19 in 2019 and 16 the year prior. These pioneering companies – and the many others that make up Washington’s vibrant startup community – shape our region and make it a global innovation hub that it has proven to be over the last century.
We celebrated the fastest-growing startups in Washington at a virtual event on November 17. After a great keynote by Guy Kawasaki, which covered ten steps to follow to innovate during a pandemic, we split into virtual regional rooms for the celebration. At the center of our Pacific Northwest celebration, there was a CEO panel with two leaders from featured winning Washington startups: Dr. Daniela Braga, founder and CEO of DefinedCrowd, and Eugenio Pace, co-Founder and CEO of Auth0. The discussion highlighted three key facets of authentic, innovative leaders. First, we explored who Daniela and Eugenio are as people – what they like to do for fun, how they have adjusted to life during COVID-19, and what gets them up in the morning and keeps them up at night.
The second phase of the conversation focused on Daniela and Eugenio as startup leaders, diving deeper into the history of their companies, the challenges they have faced as they scaled, and the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses.
We concluded the CEO panel with an examination of Daniela and Eugenio’s role as private citizens in our community – we discussed the culture they have shaped at their startups, the importance of diversity, equity, & inclusion in the workplace, and the future of the Seattle startup ecosystem. To listen to the full discussion, click here.
Congratulations again to our 25 Washington State-based Fast 500 winners and a special thank you to our sponsors: RGP, AHT Insurance and Washington Technology Industry Association. Their commitment, dedication, and passion for innovation is inspiring, especially in these trying times. I encourage all aspiring entrepreneurs and Washington residents watch the video above from my discussion with Daniela and Eugenio – the insights they shared are applicable to both the business world and in private life, as well.
For additional details on the Technology Fast 500, including the complete list and qualifying criteria, visit www.fast500.com
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