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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Inland Northwest startups honored at Ignite Northwest’s annual 25+5 event

Continuous Composites design engineer Andrew Overby, 22, left, and CEO Tyler Alvarado, 33, are shown on April 22, 2020 next to their Continuous Fiber 3D printing robot in Coeur d’ Alene. The company won an award for the “most radical product or service” at Ignite Northwest’s 25+5 event Thursday.  (By Libby Kamrowski/The Spokesman-Review)

Some of the Inland Northwest’s fastest-growing and innovative startups were honored at the second annual 25+5 event Thursday evening.

The 25+5 event, hosted by Ignite Northwest and the Spokane Journal of Business, celebrates 25 of the most compelling startups and five companies to watch in the future.

More than 400 people registered for the virtual event in which three companies garnered awards.

Coeur d’Alene-based Continuous Composites won an award for the “most radical product or service.” Continuous Composites, founded by Ken Tyler, John Swallow and Tyler Alvarado, manufactures composite parts using continuous-3D printed fibers. The parts are used in the aerospace, construction and sporting goods industries.

Spokane-based Spiceology was named “most likely to break $100 million in five years.”

Spiceology, founded in 2013 by executive chef Pete Taylor and food blogger Heather Scholten of Farmgirl Gourmet, has grown steadily by creating recipes and how-to videos for customers as well as collaborating with chefs and food influencers on new product lines.

Spiceology was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the nation in 2020.

The company secured $4.7 million in Series A funding in September, led by grocery and retail executive Ty Bennett with participation by Kickstart Funds III and IV, a group of angel investors and the Cowles Co., which publishes The Spokesman-Review.

Safeguard Equipment Inc., of Post Falls, won an award for the “coolest company culture.”

Safeguard Equipment, founded by Tim Ledford, John Thompson and Brandon Bledsoe, developed a personal voltage and electrical-current detector that keeps people safe on worksites. The company offers employees unlimited vacation and Schweitzer Mountain Resort ski passes.

Ignite Northwest named GarageSkins,, Perpetua, Reenue and SquareKeg as five startups to watch in 2021.

Some of the 25 compelling startups include: Fatbeam, Paw Print Genetics, Medcurity, Gestalt Diagnostics and Rohinni.

The 25+5 honorees were selected from community nominations.

To qualify for the 25+5 list, emerging businesses were required to be privately held, headquartered or have a significant presence in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene or Sandpoint areas, be in operation for fewer than 12 years and have revenue up to $100 million.

The idea for the 25+5 list was sparked in 2019 when three companies in the region – Risk Lens, Hypersciences Inc. and Apana – each raised $10 million in new funding within a three month period, said Tom Simpson, Ignite Northwest CEO.

Simpson also serves as president of the Spokane Angel Alliance and managing member of Kick-Start angel investment funds.

“After these financings were announced, I asked several business leaders in the Spokane region if they could name the three companies,” Simpson said at the virtual event. “Very few could even name one.

“It then struck me that before we can market the Spokane region to entrepreneurs, startups and tech companies outside of our region, we first needed to establish awareness within our region for our leading emerging companies.”

The virtual event also included a keynote address by Tyler Lafferty, an entrepreneur, mentor and author, who discussed the economic benefits of growing Spokane’s startup ecosystem.