Oct 26, 2017.
Companies in biotech, security software and cloud management were among the big winners Wednesday night at the 24th Annual OEN Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards.Hundreds of Oregon business community members turned out for the event at the Oregon Convention Center.
Each year, the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network selects companies in the startup, development and growth stages for honors. The event also featured an entrepreneurial achievement award, which went to Ben Corrado and Justin Rigling, the co-founders of Rigado Inc., which makes hardware and software that allows consumer and industrial brands to build Internet-connected devices. This year’s Wyatt Starnes award recognized a college entrepreneur. The Wyatt Starnes Battle of the Schools Winner was Chris Vlessis, a student at Oregon State University Cascades. Vlessis is chief technology officer and co-founder at Shape Integrated Software, a digital marketing company in Bend. The organization also celebrated Sam Blackman, the late CEO of AWS Elemental. Blackman was posthumously honored with the OEN Lifetime Achievement Award. The Game Changer award, which included an audience vote, went to Good Clean Love, a manufacturer of feminine hygiene and sexual health products. The finalists and the winners were selected from 180 nominees.
The Startup Stage Category winner was Vancouver-based AbSci LLC. The company developed a way to use E. coli to develop protein-based drugs such as insulin. Using this technology these pharmaceuticals can be made at a much lower 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 judges said. “The company’s value proposition is extraordinary, and its team is remarkably cohesive, with breakthroughs to their product evolution coming from scientists working at many levels across their production process.”
The Development Stage winner Radar Inc. developed software used to help companies manage responses to data breaches and help companies track changing compliance regulations. “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,” the judges said. The Growth Stage winner, Cloudability Inc., makes software to help clients manage their spending across cloud infrastructure. The judges highlighted several aspects of the company for their decision: the unique product niche, strong and stable growth, a defined company culture and sense of identity and a “terrific connection to the community.”