On Tuesday, March 20 last month, extraSlice organized the Bellevue Tech Expo, the largest tech event in the Northwest, at the Meydenbauer Convention Center in Bellevue.
Started with the goal of bringing the best of the tech industry in the Northwest under one roof to celebrate the amazing talent and innovation coming out of the region, the Expo had over 1000 attendees and 40 companies showcase their products. Riding on the success of the first edition of the Bellevue Tech Expo, which was attended by a few hundred people in November 2016, the second edition boasted a much larger and more prominent list of guest speakers, panelists and exhibitors.
The 2nd Bellevue Tech Expo was sponsored by Oracle, Smartsheet, Liquid Planner and FlyHomes. They joined Apptio, Picobrew, BECU, Vacasa, UW Foster School of Business, Bellevue College, Colliers, Keiretsu Forum and many others as exhibitors showcasing demos of their products, programs and more information about openings at their organizations. The exhibitors included all types of companies, from startups to enterprise, and belonged to various industries and sectors. There were spectacular demos from several emerging technology companies as well, including VR, AR and autonomous drones.
The Expo had an engaging and insightful panel discussion, ‘Better Together’, on women in technology, which featured Jonathan Sposato, Chairman of Geekwire, Leslie Ekas, VP of Technology at Expedia, Britt Provost, EVP of People & Culture at Apptio, Lindi Mujugira, STEM Liaison at Bellevue College and Binu Reghunathan, CEO of ExtraSlice. Another panel discussion titled ‘The Puget Sound: Changing the Future of Innovation’, featuring Betty Capestany, President of Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, Duncan Milloy, Business Consultant at Kirkland Chamber of Commerce, Andrew Vuong, Director of Strategy at Economic Alliance at Snohomish County and Meghana Subramanian, Co-CEO of ExtraSlice, proved to be a lively discussion on how the city can work with the tech industry to create a strong ecosystem for companies in the region. Other guest speakers like Tushar Garg, Co-founder of FlyHomes, Todd Humphreys, CEO of Liquid Planner, Deepak Patil, VP of Cloud Development at Oracle, Ted Neward, Director of Developer Relations at Smartsheet, and Geeman Yip, CEO of BitTitan, gave highly fascinating talks on various trends and technologies emerging from the industry.
The event continued in the evening at the ExtraSlice venue with an After Party where ExtraSlice’s community partners, sponsors, members and all other supporters of the ExtraSlice community, got together to celebrate the success of the Expo with food and beverages. The After Pitch included a Pitch Competition, where 5 exciting new companies pitched their ideas to the audience and judges. The judges included Gary Ritner from Puget Sound Venture Club, Brianna McDonald, President of Keiretsu Forum, and Sunil Shah and Shirish Nadkarni from TiE Seattle. All of the companies received a lot of praise as well as valuable feedback. The Bellevue Tech Expo award, given to the winner of the competition, was taken home by PupPod, which is a company that makes smart toys that provide both mental stimulation and physical exercise for dogs. They impressed the judges with their product, their team, the market and the traction they have. They won 4 months of free office space for their team at ExtraSlice, along with individual mentorship from all the judges and a booth at next year’s Bellevue Tech Expo.
With such a large range of companies and personalities in attendance, the Bellevue Tech Expo proved to be a massive success. This is a reflection of the rapid growth of the tech industry in the Northwest, especially on the Eastside. The Expo will return in 2019 for its 3rd edition, which promises to be a much larger and high-profile affair.