Celebrating Excellence in Tech – Highlights from the 2023 GREAT Awards

By Helen Rose Shine, NextCorps Marketing & Content Coordinator

Excitement was in the air at RIT Magic Spell Studios this past week! NextCorps team members and I gathered with the Rochester tech community to celebrate the annual Greater Rochester Excellence and Achievements in Technology (GREAT) Awards, hosted by TechRochester. Twenty-two companies were finalists, but only six took home awards, and it was a night to remember!

Pictured: NextCorps President James Senall with NextCorps clients
Pictured: NextCorps President James Senall with NextCorps clients

TechRochester is a non-profit dedicated to helping drive economic growth in the region’s technology community through education, collaboration, relationship development, and recognition. Susan Kavanough, TechRochester’s new president, perfectly captured the significance of the night sharing, “The GREAT Awards are the grand culmination of celebration, where we spotlight the remarkable tech companies and individuals in our region that often go unrecognized.”

The winners have secrets we can all learn from, in the way they put their teams together, strive for innovation, and approach scaling their businesses. NextCorps was proud to see several of our startups bring home awards.

Circle Optics, the developer of the world’s first parallax free 360°camera that solves the problem of stitching, brought home both the “Audience Choice” and “Tech Rebel Award.” Circle Optics was awarded both of these because of their exceptional innovation, and unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible with technology. If you haven’t been following the company, you should. Their technology is poised to change how we view the world, starting with applications in aerospace, autonomous vehicles, and entertainment.

Andluca, which has created technology that enables wireless smart glass products by harvesting ultraviolet light, was the recipient of the “Outstanding Tech Team Award.” Andluca was selected for their dual approach to tech and talent. Not only is its tech making a difference in our planet’s climate by reducing the carbon emissions associated with our built environment, it’s also building a supportive culture for employees to thrive. One employee shared, “Our close-knit team faces challenging and unique problems, but we’re surrounded by truly smart colleagues who help each other grow professionally in an environment that values our different backgrounds.”

The award for “Best Tech Startup” went to DataCicada, for its remarkable achievements in gaining market traction, and attracting a significant customer base. DataCicada’s mission is to transform noisy data into meaningful results through their machine-learning-assisted annotation platform.

I had the opportunity to interview DataCicada co-founders Allison and Paul Yacci. They shared their fresh perspective on growth and team building, offering valuable insights on how to cultivate a thriving workforce and foster innovation.

When I asked them about the secret to their growth, they were quick to credit their team. “Each member brings different skill sets and a genuine curiosity that drives us forward,” shared Allison, “Having a diverse team with a range of skills, allows us to approach challenges from various angles, leading to innovative and effective solutions.”

Paul also revealed their unique approach to compiling an amazing team. “We look for naturally curious people, because curiosity is the driving force behind innovation. It leads us to ask questions, explore new possibilities, and never stop learning.”

TechRochester’s dedication to spotlighting tech achievements and fostering a collaborative tech community is truly commendable. They are a key driving force promoting the growth of technology within the Rochester region. By recognizing and celebrating achievements like these, they are inspiring the next generation of tech leaders and contributing to the growth of a vibrant tech community. If you’d like to get involved, they’re currently looking for board members and committee heads to further their mission in helping to make the Rochester region a thriving tech hub. Learn more by visiting their website.

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