Recognizes exceptional startup founders of any age and experience who have looked outside the box, started something new, and generated momentum

Despite the challenges last year brought, 2020 was a break-through year for new Indiana tech stars. These nominees prove that talent, drive, and successful execution are present and thriving in our Hoosier state.

The Rising Entrepreneur Award recognizes exceptional startup founders of all ages and experience levels who thought outside the box, started something new, and generated momentum. This award celebrates an individuals’ courage, talent, industriousness, and potential for business success, as well as community impact and leadership.

This year’s nominees are doing big things. While some are focused on social media that caters to community and gender needs, others are providing analysis on how social media can impact mood and emotion. Some are even finding innovative ways to reduce large-scale food waste, modify the agriculture industry with data and robotics, and generate more nutritious and better-tasting food sources. It’s been awesome to see rising entrepreneurs utilize tech tools to amplify marketing resources, strategies, and platforms, as well as aid in amplifying the missions of their client base.

Last year, Amy Brown, the Founder and CEO of Authenticx, was recognized as the 2020 Rising Entrepreneur Award winner. Authenticx is an Indiana-based software company that leverages customer interactions to provide transformative insights for healthcare organizations and other businesses. By blending human and automated customer interaction analysis, the Authenticx platform connects corporate executives with customers’ real voices to make better-informed business decisions. Since winning, Amy has been hard at work raising over $1 million in new funding, allowing for aggressive growth and accelerated product development.

This year’s 2021 nominees include:

  • Yaw Aning, CEO, Malomo, Indianapolis, Ind. ― Yaw Aning is the co-founder and CEO of Malomo, a shipment tracking platform for high-growth merchants. The company has tracked millions of shipments since its inception and has raised $3.3 million in funding.
  • Leslie Bailey, Owner, Indy Maven, Indianapolis, Ind. Indy Maven serves and connects women in the greater Indianapolis area through captivating and rich storytelling, serving as their most trusted lifestyle media brand.
  • Meng Deng, Founder and President, Adipo Therapeutics, West Lafayette, Ind.― Dr. Meng Deng founded Adipo Therapeutics and developed a breakthrough technology of nanoparticle-enabled transformation of energy-storing white fat to energy-burning brown fat for diabetes treatment.
  • Anna Haldewang, Founder and CEO, InsightTRAC™, Syracuse, Ind. ― Anna Haldewang is the founder of InsightTRAC. InsightTRAC provides precision robotics that leverages cloud-based data to help growers better manage and optimize their profit per tree.
  • Darye Henry, Founder and CEO, AfterSchool HQ, Indianapolis, Ind.― Darye Henry is an Indianapolis native and tech entrepreneur with a heart for social impact. He loves solving unique challenges with his 20 years of startup experience as help.
  • Luke Jacobs, Co-Founder and CEO, Encamp, Indianapolis, Ind. ― Luke Jacobs is Encamp’s CEO, co-founding the company in November of 2017. Encamp is used by companies to manage and automate how they file environmental compliance information to state, local, and emergency response agencies.
  • Rian McDonnell, CEO, FloWaste, South Bend, Ind. ― Rian McDonnell is the CEO of FloWaste Inc., a food analytics platform that uses proprietary image recognition technology to empower cafeterias and quick-service restaurants to reduce food waste.
  • Evan Rocheford, CEO, NutraMaize, West Lafayette, Ind. ― Evan Rocheford and his company, NutraMaize, are bringing Orange Corn—a more nutritious, better-tasting, non-GMO crop—to the U.S. and beyond.
  • Britain Taylor, CEO, ShuffleMe, Bloomington, Ind. ― Britain Taylor is the CEO of ShuffleMe, an automatic mood tracking app that analyzes facial expressions and emotions to gather data on how social media content can impact our moods.
  • Lindsay Tjepkema, Co-Founder and CEO, Casted, Indianapolis, Ind. ― Lindsay Tjepkema is the co-founder and CEO of Casted, the first Amplified Marketing Platform. After 15 years in B2B marketing, Lindsay saw an opportunity to introduce the next generation of content marketing, so she did.
  • Geng Wang, CEO, Civic Champs, Bloomington, Ind. ― Geng Wang is a McKinsey and Harvard Business School Alum and serial entrepreneur. He is now CEO at Civic Champs, a SaaS company providing nonprofits the tools they need to amplify their missions.
  • Matt Weirich, Co-Founder and CEO, Realync, Carmel, Ind. ― Matt Weirich felt a pain in the real estate touring process. So he set out to fix it. Matt and his co-founder revolutionized the way leasing teams connect with prospective residents.

The 2021 Mira Award winners will be announced live during a special broadcast of the 22nd annual gala on Thursday, April 22, with presenting sponsor Salesforce.