Ellie Symes, the 23-year-old founder and CEO of The Bee Corp, received the Rising Star award during TechPoint’s 19th annual Mira Awards gala honoring the best of tech in Indiana.
Ellie is an ambitious entrepreneur and an influential thought leader pioneering patented technologies and other innovative IoT solutions in an industry devoid of tech adoption. Ellie’s company, The Bee Corp., is a Bloomington IoT and data analytics start-up founded in 2016. Launched while she and her co-founders were undergraduates at Indiana University, Ellie has grown the company from a winning idea in a business competition into a prominent start-up in the Bloomington tech scene, and a growing presence in the beekeeping industry.
The Mira Awards judges noted Ellie’s many accomplishments in 2017, but her uncanny ability to secure investment and non-dilutive grant funding for her startup as a 23 year old female founder in the cutting-edge Internet of Things, ag-tech and data science spaces is both impressive and inspiring.
Headlined by leaders in the Indianapolis venture scene like Scott Dorsey, Kristian Andersen and Elevate Ventures, Ellie secured Series A funding this summer. Elie generated nearly as much in non-dilutive grant funding as investor dollars in 2017. The Bee Corp earned two grants from the Indiana Small Business Development Center totaling almost $20,000, used to help to fund software development. Just recently, the company secured a $275,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation to fund further research into measuring hive health through data science.
As an entrepreneur, Ellie operates The Bee Corp with her foot on the gas at all times. In February, she brought the company’s first product to market. Called Queen’s Guard, this IoT service monitors the queen bee inside a beehive with a machine learning algorithm. Alerts from Queen’s Guard saved 11 percent of customer’s hives this year. Ten months after launching Queen’s Guard, The Bee Corp introduced QGPS, a service that monitors commercial beehives for theft, an issue responsible for more than $3 million in damage to hives in recent years.
Ellie is a proactive leader in her community, serving as an Executive Board member for Dimension Mill, a non-profit group developing 19,000 square feet of co-working and incubator space in Bloomington. She is also studying part-time for a Master of Public Affairs degree from IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs and expects to graduate this spring.
The judges believe her achievements in 2017 highlight her capacity as an entrepreneurial visionary and an engaged civic leader. Ellie has positioned herself to be a key influencer and purposeful thought leader in the emerging generation of Indiana business leadership.
TechPoint, the growth initiative for Indiana’s tech ecosystem, honored the successes and innovation of Indiana companies, entrepreneurs, educators, and other leaders at The JW Marriott Indianapolis during the 19th annual Mira Awards gala presented by Angie’s List, Infosys, and Salesforce.
A total of 15 award winners and two honorable mentions were chosen from the 100+ outstanding companies, organizations, and individuals who were selected as nominees this year out of the 205 applications received highlighting achievements during the 2017 calendar year.
Fifty-two independent, volunteer judges spent more than 850 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.
The Mira Awards are named after the first of the brilliant variable stars to be discovered – the Mira Star. It is also the Latin root meaning “worthy of admiration, wonderful, marvelous.” The awards represent the best of tech in Indiana each year.