2017 Tech Impact Awards, Emerging: Flexe

Seattle-based Flexe is a Gold Award-winner. Plus: Silver Award-winner Phytelligence.

By Gianni Truzzi September 27, 2017


This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Seattle magazine.

Location: Seattle | Employees: 39

The troubles of a friend inspired former digital marketing executive Karl Siebrecht to cofound Flexe (pronounced flex), an online marketplace that connects warehouse owners who have available space with manufacturers and distributors who seek it.

E-commerce and delivery to doorsteps, Siebrecht learned, seldom fit well with the old infrastructure built around distribution to store shelves. Large players like Walmart and Amazon have innovated, but smaller enterprises like that of his friend, a wholesale wine accessories distributor, get left behind.

Where theres disruption, Siebrecht says, there also might be an opportunity in finding better ways to do things. Through its online platform, Flexe provides pay-as-you-go, on-demand warehousing and fulfillment services. From a description of size, location and type of facilities needed, Flexe finds fitting choices from more than 500 warehouse partners.

Siebrecht sees plenty of room for growth in what could be a $140 billion market. This past spring, Flexe announced a new next-day delivery service to help distributors compete with Amazon. As our platform continues to get smarter, he says, well be able to help our clients with data and analytics to show them how their goods should flow.

Silver Award

Location: Seattle | Employees: 67

Johnny Appleseed wouldnt recognize todays high-tech orchards, where hybrids of fruit push yields and flavor. The futuristic culture process spun out of Washington State University helps nurture food crop starts like apples, cherries, hops and nuts with better survival rates and radically less water.

Phytelligences proprietary tissue, called MultiPHY, grows seedlings and cuttings in a nutrient-rich gel instead of soil, shortening maturity times from five years to two and reducing mortality rates. Phytelligence is good at raising cash, too, with a total $16 million in funding.

See the rest of the 2017 Seattle Busineess Magazine Tech Impact Award winners here.

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