2016 Tech Impact Awards: Emerging Technology/Productivity

Winner: Impinj; Silver Award: Kymeta Corporation

Location: Seattle | Employees: 208
The electronic tags that Impinj creates do more than permit wireless tracking of items that are sold or served, according to the company’s cofounder and new CEO, Chris Diorio. The RAIN RFID devices attached to food, pharmaceuticals, clothing or packages are “giving digital life to everything in your everyday world, extending the reach of the internet by a factor of 100.” Diorio says RAIN (for RAdio frequency IdentificatioN) tags connected more than five billion items last year, granting businesses new visibility into what they manufacture, transport or sell — and helping them reduce waste. Delta Air Lines is rolling out wireless tags for tracking luggage. Of the 80 billion apparel items retailed each year, RAIN is used for less than 5 percent, suggesting huge opportunity for growth. Impinj, founded in part on Diorio’s research at the University of Washington, boasts sole position as a company that offers a full platform, including the tags, sensors for connectivity and a software system that feeds the data to partner applications. That strength boosted a strong IPO in July and a current market cap of more than $350 million. Ultimately, Diorio says, “We would like to be the Qualcomm and Android of RAIN.”


Kymeta Corporation
Location: Redmond | Employees: 110
Like a sharpshooter, Redmond-based Kymeta has its sights set on anything that moves. Its lightweight, flat-panel antenna uses highly engineered metals to provide fast satellite connections to the internet for cars, ships, trains and planes as they’re moving. Slated for a 2017 release, Kymeta’s mTenna technology promises an alternative universe where cellular signals can’t keep up, at a price range and scale fit for consumer products. With $124 million in funding from major players like Bill Gates and Toyota, this nimble startup appears aimed for success.


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