If Bellevue were located anywhere else in the country, it’d be one of the most famous tech hubs in the world. But the city resides between Seattle’s Spheres and a certain Redmond campus, and, as a result, tends to fly under the radar.
Nevertheless, Bellevue holds its own in the Pacific Northwest tech scene as the home of giants like Expedia, Apptio and Smartsheet. Here, we’ve assembled 12 tech companies to watch — established figures and up-and-comers alike — hailing from the eastern shores of Lake Washington.
In a nutshell: Improving employee engagement at work.
Headquarters: 10885 NE 4th Street, Bellevue
Funding: $33 million
What they’re up to: Limeade’s employee engagement platform hosts a range of programs and tools designed to improve company culture through personalized challenges, interactive learning and social activities. The company aims to boost employees’ well-being in all facets of their lives, including their physical, emotional and financial conditions — and, by extension, their careers. The platform includes quizzes and personalized challenges which, when completed, earn employees rewards. In addition to improving an employee’s well-being, the platform aims to reconnect workers to the motivation underlying their work.
In a nutshell: Increasing workflow efficiency.
Headquarters: 10500 NE 8th Street, Bellevue
Funding: $113.2 million
What they’re up to: Smartsheet’s work management platform helps to shepherd a business idea into action as quickly as possible, providing employees with a place to plan, capture, track, automate and report on their work. The company aims to make its platform as user-friendly and intuitive as possible — requiring no real technical training — and allows team members to share information with stakeholders. Smartsheet went public in April with a valuation of $990 million, and has additional offices in Boston and Edinburgh.
In a nutshell: 21st century Craigslist.
Headquarters: 1745 114th Avenue SE, Bellevue
Funding: $221.6 million
What they’re up to: There is a certain retro charm to Craigslist, which bears a closer resemblance to the classifieds in a physical newspaper than a website. But if you needed any convincing on whether the service needs modernizing, look no further than OfferUp’s $119 million Series D in 2016 — and CEO Nick Huzar’s confirmation that the Craigslist competitor had become a unicorn. OfferUp’s app allows users to list and browse items on the go, and includes a messaging service — a welcome alternative to Craigslist’s email workarounds. And for those concerned about safety, OfferUp offers user profiles verified by driver’s licenses and designated pickup zones for exchanging goods.
In a nutshell: Helping IT leaders manage their businesses.
Headquarters: 11100 NE 8th Street, Bellevue
Funding: $261 million
What they’re up to: Apptio’s cloud-based applications offer data-driven insights and transparency to a company’s IT leaders. They call the service “Technology Business Management,” and its client list includes Nike, Starbucks and the State of Washington. The company’s range of SaaS applications aim to align technology investments with a company’s priorities and increase efficiency across IT resources. The company was valued at $872 million when it went public in 2016, and has made two acquisitions since 2012.
In a nutshell: A development platform for augmented and virtual reality designers.
Headquarters: 110 110th Ave, Bellevue
Funding: $601.5 million
What they’re up to: Started as a VR gaming platform, Unity Technologies has blossomed into much more than that. The Unity platform now encompasses virtual and augmented reality in film, gaming, automotive testing, gambling, edtech and marketing. Based in San Francisco, the VR giant has offices all over the world — including Bellevue — and has helped to create content for Nintendo, Facebook, Google and Magic Leap.
In a nutshell: Get anything you want, when you want it.
Headquarters: Headquartered in San Francisco, but with an office at 10400 NE 4th Street, Bellevue
Funding: $678 million
What they’re up to: Postmates is an on-demand logistics platform connecting users with local couriers who grab anything from groceries to food and drinks and deliver them straight to the user’s doorstep. Craving a sandwich from your favorite deli? Maybe a pint of ice cream? Through the app, users have the ability to choose almost anything available from hundreds of different local restaurants and convenient stores, and a courier will show up at the door with the order in a few short minutes. In late 2018, Postmates raised $300 million in Series F funding, officially solidifying the localized delivery service giant as a unicorn.
In a nutshell: Contract management software.
Headquarters: 14711 NE 29th Place, Bellevue
Funding: $96 million
What they’re up to: Icertis’ cloud-based contract management software aims to help businesses monitor their contractual obligations, identify and mitigate risk and provide easy access to documents. The company’s artificial intelligence algorithms can scan through contract databases and retrieve information in a fraction of the time traditionally required. Founded in 2009, the company raised a $50 million Series D in February this year, and now lists offices in Silicon Valley, New Jersey, India and across Europe.
In a nutshell: Software for automobiles.
Headquarters: 10900 NE 8th Street, Bellevue
Funding: $56.9 million
What they’re up to: Xevo has stacked its team with IoT software experts and builds programs which it says will pave the way for autonomous vehicles. The company works with computer vision, big data, cloud services, machine learning and deep learning, and its artificial intelligence algorithms learn using a combination of cloud-based analytics and data provided by the car itself. Xevo’s software will allow an autonomous vehicle to alert other vehicles to things like road conditions, obstacles and even open parking spaces. The company also builds tools to recognize when a driver is distracted, and can recognize other vehicles wanted by authorities, for example, in amber alert investigations.
In a nutshell: Travel booking behemoth.
Headquarters: 333 108th Avenue NE, Bellevue
What they’re up to: Expedia Group runs just about every travel booking-related website you can think of, though it began as a division of Microsoft in 1996. The company went public in 1999 and was acquired by New York holding company IAC in 2003. Expedia Group now owns a wide range of travel-related websites, including TripAdvisor, Hotels.com, CarRentals.com, Travelocity and German travel booking giant Trivago. Founded by Pacific Northwest tech prodigy Rich Barton, the company’s current president and CEO is former CFO Mark Okerstrom (pictured above). While founded and currently headquartered in Bellevue, the Seattle Times reports that Expedia Group plans to move its headquarters to Seattle in 2019.
In a nutshell: Automating business processes.
Headquarters: 1500 114th Avenue SE, Bellevue
Funding: $153.9 million
What they’re up to: K2 builds business process automation software, helping companies deliver integrated process automation and scale — and without a costly IT department. The platform integrates with any line-of-business system, and provides tools to build sharp-looking visual workflows. Founded in South Africa in 1999, K2 moved its headquarters to the Pacific Northwest in 2004. The company moved into its current Bellevue office at the edge of the Mercer Slough Nature Park last year.
In a nutshell: Software solutions for salons, spas and studios.
Headquarters: 15375 SE 30th Place, Bellevue
Funding: $21 million
What they’re up to: Zenoti’s four founders come from backgrounds in tech and small business. Sudheer and Dheeraj Koneru co-founded a chain of health clubs and salons in India, but were unsatisfied by the reliability and user-friendliness of software designed for running such businesses. Furthermore, they couldn’t find a software solution that supported all the needs of a business with multiple locations. So, in 2010, they teamed up with Windows veteran Anand Arvind and restaurant chain co-founder and marketer Saritha Katikaneni to found Zenoti. The company says over 5,000 businesses use its platform in 32 countries, and offers ongoing support to clients.