With the 2024 Mira Awards behind us and exciting news about the 2025 awards soon to come, we thought we’d take a quick look at the impact of the 25-year-old program. Turns out, we’re not the only one who thinks “Indiana’s biggest night in Tech” is still worth the effort. 

RxLightning is in rarefied Mira Award air with a record five wins in just the past three years. That gives the New Albany company deep insight into the value of the recognition. 

CEO Julia Regan won the Rising Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 2024 Mira Awards, following two years of double category wins for the New Albany company that has disrupted the specialty pharmacy market, increasing the time life-altering drugs can reach the patients who need them. 

Regan credits the company’s 2022 wins for Startup of the Year and Tech Product of the Year awards, for enabling the company to connect with a prominent, national health system and then partner with them. An “incredibly meaningful partnership” has developed since that award, she said. 

She considers the most recent award “a testament to the hard work, dedication, and innovation of our team” that “validates our commitment to excellence.” 

“With the trophy on display in our office, we are motivated to continue to push the boundaries in our industry and to make a positive impact in Indiana and beyond,” she said.  

Allos Ventures won the 2019 Investor of the Year award. Managing Director David Kerr said the win is a point of pride for the firm that made its first investment in an Indiana startup in 2009 and has been actively investing in the Midwest ever since.  

“Winning or being nominated for a Mira award always catches our attention as we look for our next investment opportunity, he said. 

Angel investor Angie Stocklin agrees. She and her former business partner, Randy Stocklin, launched and later sold their online retailer One Click Ventures, which won Mira Awards in 2011 for New Media Excellence and in 2017 for Company Culture of the Year. 

“A Mira Award, especially for a founder-specific category, can provide the social proof needed to secure introductions and meetings from local angel investors,” she said. “Although One Click was not seeking investment at the time of our Mira Awards, the recognition of the award opened doors for us to network with folks we hadn’t met in the Indianapolis tech community.”  

Compact Medical, which won the 2024 Innovation of the Year award for its new bag-valve mask equipment, which helps emergency responders provide the right amount of air at the right pressure for patients needing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  

“We immediately received new interest from investors which is really helpful for where our company is at this time,” said CEO Jonathan Merrell. 

A Mira win often offers validation far beyond the winners’ efforts. 

Amy Brown, founder of Authenticx, which was among the first Indiana companies to harness Artificial Intelligence (AI) to understand customer sentiment, took home the 2024 Tech Company of the Year award. 

“The recognition of one’s own community is more affirming than any other accolade,” she said. “The blood, sweat and tears are not poured out in a vacuum…the hard work is performed in the context of a community. There were dozens of people in that room who had met me for coffee, counseled me, picked me up and encouraged me over the past six years. To be recognized by them and the broader Indiana ecosystem is incredibly humbling and heartfelt.” 

The win meant a lot for the small but mighty Authenticx team as well, she said. 

“We don’t take enough breaks in the momentum of a scale up to look around and see how far we’ve come,” Brown said. “The Mira award gave us that needed pause to celebrate.” 

The city of South Bend’s Department of Innovation and Technology won the 2024 Mission41K Exceptional Employer for its use of tech internships and apprenticeships, skills-based hiring approach and emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The department, which started with two interns in 2016, now has nearly 50 full-time employees. The win was unexpected, said Chief Innovation Officer Denise Linn Riedl,  

“Working in the public sector with less resources, you know, sometimes it feels like we build things with gum,” said Denise Linn Riedl, chief innovation officer. 

Riedl memorialized the win in what was essentially a citywide celebration tour not unlike a national sports win. 

Savvy Mira nominees immediately put “Mira Awards nominee” on their marketing material and email signatures when they are first apprised of their finalist status. Winners often go even further. 

The Mira win, “is already in our sales deck,” said Tenon Founder and CEO Ben Person, who took home the 2024 Startup of the Year award. 

Person took his concept to High Alpha, which helped develop the company and land its first customer four months after launch. From the Mira stage, he announced that he had closed on an $8 million round of Series A funding earlier in the day.  

The good news hasn’t stopped coming since that night. As a result of the Mira win, Tenon landed a meeting with a major potential customer and gained huge social media recognition, Person said. He expects others to follow. 

Matt Gacek, Founder of Theia Personal Growth, won the 2024 Student Entrepreneur of the Year award. The AI-assisted therapy and wellness app launched on Google Play and other app stores. In less than a year, Gacek scaled and sold the app to San Francisco Bay Area based wellness innovator Miri. Winning was a moment of immense pride and gratitude and “a huge motivator to continue chasing ambitious goals,” but he considers the event bigger than just him.  

“I hope it inspires fellow student entrepreneurs to pursue their boldest visions,” he said. “The process of articulating your work is invaluable, and the potential recognition can be game-changing. Believe in yourself and seize the opportunity to be celebrated by the tech community. It’s absolutely worth going for it.” 

Like Riedl, the CEO of Wabash Heartland Innovative Network (WHIN) considered his organization a dark horse in the Digital Transformation Award category. 

WHIN CEO Johnny Park had what was perhaps the most viscerally honest reaction of the night. 

“”Holy crap! I should’ve asked ChatGPT what to say!” That’s literally what I said on stage because I was so shocked to hear WHIN announced as the winner,” he recalled “It was a thrilling and unexpected moment, standing before the tech community. This recognition validated the WHIN team’s tireless work to transform our region into a global epicenter of digital agriculture and next-generation manufacturing.” 

WHIN helps promote technology adoption among farmers, manufacturers, and others in its 10-county service area in north-central Indiana. 

Parks said winning the Mira Award “definitely increased WHIN’s visibility and credibility” not only among our major stakeholders in the region but also within the larger tech community both in and out of the state. 

“The recognition also greatly enhanced our outreach initiatives, validating the innovative work we’re doing and solidifying our reputation as a leader in digital agriculture and next-generation manufacturing,” he said. “I’m confident that it will lead to new opportunities and collaborations. 

In the two decades plus history of TechPoint’s Mira Awards, thousands of Indiana digital innovation companies have sought the annual recognition but only 311 crystal awards have been given. We hope to simplify the process for the 2025 Mira Awards, but will retain all of the rigor that ensures the integrity and long-lasting benefits of the program and perhaps extend the reach so that more of Indiana’s tech sector will throw their hats into the Mira ring. 

Each of the winners we spoke with encouraged others in the Indiana digital innovation community to apply for their own Mira Awards in the future – and not just because a crystal trophy and national acclaim could be yours. 

The process is “absolutely worth it,” says Regan. 

“It’s a valuable opportunity for self-reflection and understanding the impact of your work,” she said. “The recognition can unlock new opportunities, bolster your reputation, and inspire your team by affirming their contributions. Plus, you get to dress up, celebrate with peers, and enjoy a glamorous evening with some of the most interesting people in Indiana. 

Brown echoes the sentiment: “The act of applying forces you to acknowledge your accomplishments, which is an important practice in building a sustainable business and culture.  Engaging in the Tech Point community allows you to feel seen and heard by our community. And, if you’re lucky enough to get a win, that is the icing on the cake.” 

Person sees value in the Mira process even if applicants don’t progress beyond the initial application.  

“It actually allowed us to also think about the questions posed and package up a presentation relevant to those questions,” he said. “I reuse a lot of that content even today in our go-to-market story as well.” 

Merrell agrees. 

“Even if Compact Medical had not won, the process of submitting to Mira convinced us to invest more capital into telling our story, and preparing for the judging helped us think of a new way to pitching our product,” he said. “Both of those things – telling our story and sharpening our pitch – are invaluable tools that we would have taken away even if we hadn’t won the award. We will be leveraging those tools at least as much as the award itself as we move forward. 

Merrell added that Mira win has an important psychological benefit, too. 

“Perhaps the hardest thing about entrepreneurship is the fact that you can go from feeling like you’re working on the greatest technology ever to thinking that you’re working on something that will never succeed or make any difference – and you can feel both of those emotions within the same day,” he said. “The extremes of those emotions are something that entrepreneurs have to fight constantly. Winning a Mira award provides a nice buffer on those days when the going gets tough. It serves as strong affirmation that we really are developing an important piece of technology.” 

SEP has been nominated multiple times, but hadn’t won until 2024, when it took home the Innovation Service Partner of the Year award. 

“The outpouring of love we experienced at the Mira Awards, on social media and personal touches since the event are overwhelming,” said President and CEO Raman Ohri. “Our work moves at the speed of relationships, and while we can’t say the award was the “lead source” for a new opportunity, we’ve lived long enough to know this recognition will keep SEP top of mind when these friends have a need.” 

It’s not too early to start thinking about your 2025 Mira submission. Stay tuned here for exciting announcements in the coming weeks. It could be your Mira win story we’ll be talking about next.