The 2015 Tech Impact Awards: Consumer



Location: Bellevue | Employees: 14,570

Expedia changed the travel industry through online booking of flights and hotels. Now its customers are spurring Expedia to change again. 

The company found that customers now use smartphones or tablets to make 20 percent of all bookings. That rising trend, says Chief Product Officer John Kim, spurred an internal shift from being an internet company to one focused on mobile services. To that end, Expedia has redesigned its apps to support every step of the journey, from planning and ticketing to tracking itineraries and providing real-time notifications. 
For Kim, the move means cultivating a “data first” mindset, making information convenient and attractive no matter on what platform it’s being delivered.  As the medium shifts from desktop to phone and now perhaps to the watch, what customers need to know changes and becomes more focused. “Mobile becomes an exercise to rethink our product top to bottom, through a data lens.”

With a new president, Aman Bhutani, recently announced, Expedia will continue to adapt, especially as sharing-economy models like Airbnb and Uber suggest shifting customer expectations. “The big lesson,” Kim concludes, “is to challenge each and every experience.” 


Location: Seattle | Employees: 250

Avvo’s new “Avvo Advisor” service offers on-demand and affordable advice from highly reviewed lawyers who can give legal guidance on simple topics like contracts and liability. Queries are matched to lawyers for a fixed fee of $39 for a 15-minute phone consultation, and users can send photos confidentially through to document concerns. Operating in 18 states, Avvo Advisor boasts a 96-percent satisfaction rate as it disrupts and democratizes traditional models of providing everyday legal counsel. 

Location: Seattle | Employees: 91

Think of it as Airbnb for your pooch. After Seattle venture capitalist Greg Gottesman had a bad experience boarding his dog at a kennel, he founded to help dog owners find trustworthy, local pet sitters who offer in-home boarding, dog walking, day care and other pet services. Through its website and mobile app, Rover has now connected dog owners to more than 40,000 sitters in the United States since going national in 2012. 

Related Content

Xuchen Yao and Guoguo Chen were interns at Google working on language-processing technology when Amazon introduced Echo, the media-streaming device equipped with a voice-activated intelligent assistant, which is triggered when the user says the hotword “Alexa.”  

When it comes to taking on global warming, few ideas are as audacious as the one put forward by Mark Anderson, the Friday Harbor-based CEO of Strategic News Service who has a knack for identifying technology trends.

Juno Therapeutics has recruited former Genentech researcher Sunil Agarwal to head up a revamped research organization, according to an article in Endpoints, a biotech newsletter.

Ever since his school days on Mercer Island, Jake Rubin has dreamed of creating a holodeck like the one on the Star Trek television series — a virtual reality experience so immersive that it is perceived as real.