‘Fast Friday’ could mean investment dollars for entrepreneurs
TechPoint’s Mira Awards represent the best of tech in Indiana, but they are more than beautiful glass awards and the pomp and circumstance of the gala ceremony. The awards program offers winners a spot among elite performers in the state, valuable exposure, and access to the Indiana Tech Companies List and events like the Winners Circle on Fast Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), which included contacts from Forbes, The Indianapolis Star, and 10 different investor groups.
The roar of racing cars was heard in the background and energy was high as special guests like Allison Melangton and Kent Anderson welcomed the Winners Circle. Allison, now with IMS, organized Indy’s tremendous Super Bowl success, and Kent is vice president of business development at the Indiana Economic Development Corp (IEDC). All of the Winners Circle guests had the opportunity to spend some time in the IEDC “Turn 2” suite during Indy 500 practice runs when they weren’t engaged with investors or giving 60-second elevator-style pitches on the Winners Circle stage.
“We’ve certainly benefited from exposure from the the TechPoint Mira Awards; it’s been absolutely incredible,” said Santiago Jaramillo, founder of the mobile apps company Bluebridge. “We’ve been nominated several times and won one [Mira Award] a couple years back, and that was huge for us, as well as many of the connections we made through the Miras that helped us successfully raise funds.”
Investors from 10 different venture capital and private equity firms, investment banks and angel investor groups attended the Winners Circle event looking for new opportunities. They came in from Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, (of course) Indiana, and as far away as New York. TechPoint facilitated a kind of “speed dating” set-up in Chalet 10 near the famed IMS Pagoda for current and past Mira Award winners and the following investors:
- Drive Capital (Columbus, Ohio)
- Pacific Crest Investment Banking (New York, New York)/KeyBank
- Plymouth Ventures (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
- Pritzker Group Venture Capital (Chicago, Illinois)
- AlpInvest Partners/Carlyle Group
- Allos Ventures
- Elevate Ventures
- HALO Investor Group
- Hyde Park Ventures
- JP Morgan Chase
Featured Image Caption: (clockwise) Kristen Wiesner of Verizon, Steve Ehrlich of PolicyStat, Aman Brar of Apparatus, and Brad Bostic of hc1.com each spoke during the Winners Circle event at IMS on “fast Friday.”
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Over the past decade, there have been 17 acquisitions or IPOs in Indiana that have unleashed $5 billion in market value. That’s the kind of wealth creation that gets attention from investors wherever they may be located. On Fast Friday, it was the promise of getting to meet with the best of tech in Indiana — nearly 30 Mira Award winners from this year and the past couple of years — that brought 10 capital investment organizations together at the track for this unique and efficient introduction to fast-growing tech companies.
While TechPoint has produced the Mira Awards for 16 years now, this was the first year for the Winners Circle event to be held separately following the actual Mira Awards ceremony. It was made possible by Ice Miller and Verizon — both companies are highly involved with and tapped in to Indy’s thriving tech ecosystem.
Of note, Ice Miller reported that they worked with nearly half of the Mira Award nominees in some capacity the past few years. It’s part of their culture and personality as a law firm that draws them to work with startups, scaleups and fast-growing tech companies.
Transportation technology startup and triple Mira Award winner, DoubleMap, is an example of a company winning new contracts with Verizon’s Partner Program. Verizon’s Kristen Wiesner was on site at the Winners Circle event to share info with Mira Award winners about Verizon’s Powerful Answers competition, which awards $6 million in prizes annually. Interestingly, a Hoosier was one of this year’s $1 million winners.
Winners Circle attendees also helped fill a Verizon HopeLine donation box with unused electronics that help to connect survivors of domestic violence to vital resources, fund organizations nationwide and protect the environment.
Will you and your Indiana tech company be in the Winners Circle next year? It’s never too early to start collecting data and stories about your growth and success in preparation for entering the 2016 TechPoint Mira Awards.