Small companies, big impacts: why you should apply for a Mira Award
Every year when we launch the TechPoint Mira Awards, we try to come up with new and interesting ways to spread the word and encourage people to apply. Some of the best reasons, however, never change.
There are plenty of great stories from the past posted on TechPoint Index about the impact of winning—but until it happens to you, you might not think it’s possible, especially if your business is a small business just getting off the ground.
Make no mistake. Mira Award winners have inked deals with Fortune 500 corporations and made $1 million sales; seen big boosts in recruiting efforts; secured up to $4 million in new investment; and garnered significant interest from analysts and media, having a positive impact on both employee morale and brand awareness.
We invited two winners from the smallest companies to take the stage at last year’s gala to share their experiences.
“We were immediately approached by several local and national investors interested in the technology,” said Scott Massey, co-founder and CEO of Heliponix (Best New Tech Product winner). “Winning a Mira Award not only increased awareness of the company, but of the growing issue of food insecurity and resource scarcity becoming an impending, global threat.”
It’s worth noting that Heliponix secured the new investment directly linked to winning a Mira Award, which funded a new full-time developer hire.
Even when the award category is recognizing an individual as it did when Ellie Symes won the Rising Star Award, it still has a positive impact on the company as a whole.
“We definitely got an influx of interest following the Mira Awards,” said Ellie Symes, founder and CEO of The Bee Corp. “Several people who met with us or reached out to us congratulated us on the award. It was a great third party affirmation of the hard work we have put into this business.”
Leading up to the Mira Awards gala in the spring, The Bee Corp was undergoing pivotal change moving from a focus on beekeepers to focusing on growers with its hive monitoring software (fruit and nut growers, for example). Winning an award, which Ellie stated was a reflection of her team, was a fantastic reminder that they were on the right track during a time of great change. The many months since the Mira Awards have been a treadmill of progress and work towards building a sustainable business for The Bee Corp.
Scott Massey was in Africa the night the GroPod by Heliponix won a Mira Award. His business partner CTO Ivan Ball accepted the award. It gave Scott a unique perspective watching news sites from overseas as he saw word of his startup’s win spreading online and on social media.
“Winning the award was an incredible recognition of success for the hundreds of hours of weekly work we put into designing and constantly improving the GroPod,” Scott said. “It provided confirmation that the giant leaps made through the technology have not gone unnoticed, and that it is time to tell the world about the agro- and bio-science startup success in Indiana.”
According to Scott, Heliponix can barely make GroPods fast enough to keep up with demand and has continued to expand manufacturing operations.
“We no longer have to introduce the concept of our product to regional customers,” Scott said. “The reach of winning a Mira Award has been astonishingly successful in generating sales and overcoming the knowledge factor to learn about indoor agriculture.”
Of course, the Mira Awards program and gala aren’t exclusively about advancing business objectives. Participating is also a lot of fun!
“We had a blast at the awards gala, and the whole process including the in-person presentation to the judges was a great chance to meet more people in the tech space,” Ellie said. “It was a great honor to win and I was truly shocked, but we believe it is important to shoot for the stars so going after the Mira Award (named after a star) felt like a great goal for us.”
Applications are now open for the 20th anniversary TechPoint Mira Awards. Entries are due January 18, 2019.