TechPoint Honors ‘The Best of Tech in Indiana’ at Mira Awards

Appirio, First Internet Bank, DemandJump, DATTUS, Geofeedia, pi lab, and MOBI Among Top Honorees

TechPoint, the growth initiative for Indiana’s tech ecosystem, honored Indiana’s best companies, entrepreneurs, educators, and other leaders for their technology excellence and innovation at The Westin in downtown Indianapolis during the 17th annual Mira Awards gala presented by Angie’s List, Interactive Intelligence, and Salesforce.

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A total of 17 award winners and seven runners-up were chosen from the 98 outstanding companies, organizations, and individuals who were selected as nominees this year out of the 168 applications received highlighting achievements during the 2015 calendar year.

Forty independent, volunteer judges spent more than 700 total hours reviewing and ranking applications, interviewing nominees, and selecting this year’s winners. Judges included company founders, CEOs and presidents; CTOs, CIOs and software developers; professors and chancellors from Indiana universities; design, human resources and sales professionals, and a variety of other subject matter experts.

Ten of the 17 awards this year are brand new. Mike Langellier, president and CEO of TechPoint, said that the changes reflect both the tech community’s maturation and TechPoint’s narrowed focus to address critical community needs—like filling the tech talent pipeline and accelerating high-potential, emerging tech companies.

“The Mira Awards amplify success stories of some of the very best Indiana startups, scale-ups, and established tech companies, which helps them win new customers, attract investment capital, and acquire skilled talent,” Langellier said. The Miras are a large, annual part of our mission to accelerate tech growth in Indiana.”

Four previous winners accepted their second Mira Award at the 2015 gala. Bill Godfrey, Managing Director, 4G Ventures (Investor of the Year) received the 2012 Trailblazer in Technology Award, The Schneider Corporation (Corporate Innovator of the Year) won the 2014 Tech Services award, Geofeedia (Scale-up of the Year $5M-$20M) received the 2015 Marketing Tech Award, and pi Lab – Edwin the Duck (Scale-up of the Year $100K-$5M) won the 2015 Mobile Tech Award.

Full List of the 2016 TechPoint Mira Award winners and runners-up:

(Descriptions of the winning companies or individuals and why they were chosen are included below.)

PEOPLE

Rising Star Award: Teresa Becker, Owner, TKB Consulting
          Runner-Up: Tom Hanley, Founder and Executive Director, Nine13sports
Rookie of the Year Award: Zack Baker, CEO, PassWhiz
          Runner-up: Tim Balz, President, Founder, Freedom Chairs
Tech Educator of the Year: Dr. Kylie Peppler, Associate Professor of Learning Sciences, Indiana University
          1st Runner-up: Duke Realty Corporation
          2nd Runner-up: Dr. David Fisher, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Investor of the Year: Bill Godfrey, Managing Director, 4G Ventures
Community Champion of the Year: Denver Hutt, in Memoriam
Trailblazer in Technology: Scott McCorkle, CEO, Salesforce Marketing Cloud
TechPoint Foundation for Youth Bridge Builder Award: Rick Crosslin, Scientist in Residence, MSD of Wayne Township

PRODUCTS

Innovation of the Year: DemandJump
Innovation of the Year (Scientific Breakthrough): Monon Bioventures
          Runner-up: Raytheon
Best New Tech Product: DATTUS

COMPANIES

Company Culture of the Year: MOBI
          Runner-up: Moser Consulting
Corporate Innovator of the Year: The Schneider Corporation
New Start-up of the Year: DemandJump
Scale-up Company of the Year ($100K-$5M): pi lab – Edwin the Duck
          Runner-up: SmarterHQ
Scale-up Company of the Year ($5M-$20M): Geofeedia
Tech-enabled Company of the Year: First Internet Bank
Tech Company of the Year ($20M+): Appirio

PLAY VIDEORising Star Award (Teresa Becker, Owner, TKB Consulting) Teresa Becker is a results-driven marketer with years of experience guiding strategy and execution relating to global marketing, messaging, and demand generation. Early in her career she was part of both the ExactTarget Catapult program and an Orr Fellow. Teresa has grown her sole-proprietor consulting business incredibly fast on word-of-mouth alone. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEORookie of the Year Award ( Zack Baker, CEO, PassWhiz) Zack Baker, an 18-year-old honors graduate from Noblesville High School this May, founded PassWhiz, an iOS app he coded himself that eliminates the need for paper hall passes. Today, more than 13,000 students in 10 schools across the country are using PassWhiz. The app is the second product Zack has created and sold to paying customers, the first of which was an app he built when he was 14. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOTech Educator of the Year (Dr. Kylie Peppler, Associate Professor of Learning Sciences, Indiana University—Bloomington) Dr. Kylie Peppler, an Associate Professor of Learning Sciences in the School of Education, is incorporating artistic creativity into STEM fields immersion. Peppler has worked to understand the connection between arts and technology in learning and her work is essential in attracting children, especially girls, into STEM fields. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOInvestor of the Year (Bill Godfrey, Managing Director, 4G Ventures) Today, long-time tech leader Bill Godfrey is managing director of 4G Ventures and focused on seed-stage angel investing in software-as-a-service companies in Central Indiana. Godfrey is well-known for his dedication to advising and supporting the people with whom he’s invested before, during and after capital. He is successful at bringing in capital from outside of the state to co-invest with local funds and angel investors, and he is often involved in critical early-stage decisions and sales wins with his portfolio companies. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOCommunity Champion of the Year (Denver Hutt) Entrepreneurship advocate and community organizer Denver Hutt had a profound impact on the Indianapolis area tech and startup community, both as executive director of The Speak Easy co-working space and as a force of nature for good. She died in January at the young age of 28 after a years-long battle with ovarian cancer, but her legacy will be felt for years through the too-many-to-name connections she made, collaborations she began, and lives she inspired. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOTrailblazer in Technology (Scott McCorkle, CEO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud) Scott McCorkle played vital roles in some of Indiana’s all-time biggest tech success stories—first with Software Artistry 20 years ago, then with ExactTarget, and now as CEO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud. He is an extraordinary technology and business leader who has had and continues to have immense impact on our tech community and the marketing tech community worldwide. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOTechPoint Foundation for Youth Bridge Builder Award (Rick Crosslin, Scientist in Residence, MSD of Wayne Township) Rick Crosslin has a lengthy history of making science approachable for nearly 90,000 Indiana students, with an estimated 65 percent from underrepresented populations. Rick’s motto, “Don’t take my word for it. This is science — try it yourself,” has resonated with students and teachers from around the state as he blends his knowledge of STEM content, with humor and excitement. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOInnovation of the Year (DemandJump) DemandJump used machine learning algorithms, graph theory, algebraic topology, natural language processing and other tremendously complex math to build an Actionable Intelligence Marketing (AIM) Platform that literally unwinds what is happening in a client’s digital ecosystem to show them the greatest marketing, advertising and business development opportunities that will drive revenue growth. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOInnovation of the Year- Scientific Breakthrough (Monon Bioventures) It may sound funny, but the “ear-in-a-dish” technology, developed by Dr. Karl Koehler at the Indiana University School of Medicine and being commercialized by Monon Bioventures, is a tremendous scientific breakthrough that could have a dramatic impact on those with inner ear disorders (hearing loss) and the drugs and devices used to treat them. The team is now literally able to grow a functional mouse ear from stem cells in just 60 days, which is a quantum leap forward for the science. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOBest New Tech Product (DATTUS) DATTUS is doing for smart-machines what NEST has done for smart-homes and Fitbit has done for personal health. Through simplicity and a unique application-agnostic ‘Internet of things’ platform, this three-year-old company has cracked the code for transforming existing, aging industrial machinery into smart-machines overnight. DATTUS’ hardware and software IoT approach—which includes machine sensors, data hubs, a software portal and intelligence algorithms—helps to eliminate unplanned downtime and machine failures, drive growth by maximizing efficiencies and production capacities, and provides the needed intelligence for manufacturers to stay compliant with environmental regulations. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOCompany Culture of the Year (MOBI) MOBI is a managed mobility services (MMS) company that has navigated remarkable growth—from 20 people to hundreds—at the same time that the company merged its operations and staff with another company. Employees at MOBI follow a passion-based career path and maintain a “we’re all in this together” attitude that stems from the company’s bootstrapped, startup legacy culture. More than 91 percent of MOBI employees report that they would recommend working at the company to friends and family. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOCorporate Innovator of the Year (The Schneider Corporation) Last year, The Schneider Corporation saved taxpayers over 12 million trips to the courthouse and handled more than 450 million requests for information (up by 400 percent over 2014) by providing innovative, industry-leading Software-as-a-Service solutions that change the very nature of how citizens interact with local governments while lowering costs. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEONew Start-up of the Year (DemandJump) DemandJump’s Actionable Intelligence Marketing (AIM) Platform for marketers offers tremendous value to customers while also being remarkably easy to use.  Combined with the management team’s skills and experience, DemandJump has gained significant traction with both investors and paying customers, booking triple-digit growth out of the gate. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOScale-up Company of the Year-$100K-$5M (pi lab – Edwin the Duck) Edwin the Duck is a smart toy that—through a Bluetooth connection with a mobile app—sings, tells stories, and plays games with children to help them learn. As an extremely agile 26-person startup, pi lab took a novel, but solid product offering from idea to concept in a matter of months and followed it up with 14,000 units sold in a single selling season in limited distribution through Apple and Best Buy stores. Edwin and pi lab demonstrate a level of B2C success that isn’t often seen in the Indianapolis tech community. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOScale-up Company of the Year-$5M-$20M (Geofeedia) Geofeedia’s location-based intelligence and analysis platform allows marketers, public sector, corporate security, and media companies to gain real-time, actionable intelligence through social media monitoring based on publicly available location tagged social media posts. Geofeedia has grown from five to 500 customers, tripled its revenue from 2014 to 2015, and added over 50 employees, most of which were added to the Indianapolis software development team. READ MORE

PLAY VIDEOTech-enabled Company of the Year (First Internet Bank) Using technology to modernize the delivery channel of an industry deeply rooted in tradition, First Internet Bank has put convenience, control, and more than a few pennies back in the hands of the consumer. First Internet Bank is an excellent case study of how a company can re-engineer its delivery channels with technology to provide convenience, access, and a higher quality of service. By the end of 2015, First Internet Bank had amassed over $1.2 billion in assets, with depositors and borrowers across the country, without an expensive branch network. READ MORE

3Tech Company of the Year-$20M+ (Appirio) Global cloud services provider Appirio announced in August 2015 that its Indianapolis office would become the official headquarters (originally served by San Francisco). Since founding the Indianapolis office in 2012, the company’s headcount has grown from 20 to 151 associates in Indiana. Appirio has a goal of employing up to 577 Hoosiers by 2020, with average salaries more than 75 percent higher than the state’s average wage. READ MORE

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Browse photos from the event in TechPoint’s Facebook albums and watch videos on TechPoint’s YouTube channel.

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The Mira Awards — named after a variable star thousands of times brighter than the Earth’s sun — represent the best of tech in Indiana each year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joshua Hall is editor of techpoint.org. He writes about Indiana tech companies, jobs, people & events. @joshua2349