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Apparatus walks away with top Mira award

May 2, 2015

The top honor at the TechPoint Mira Awards on Saturday night went to Apparatus, a managed-IT firm that's already having a big 2015.

Apparatus beat out two other firms for Tech Company of the Year. Judges cited the 16-year-old company's expansion into 24 markets last year, its new Kore solutions platform and its continued self-funded growth.

Last month, Apparatus was acquired by Massachusetts-based Virtusa Corp. for at least $34.2 million. On Friday, Apparatus founder and CEO Kelly Pfledderer was named chairman of TechPoint's board of directors.

The annual tech-award ceremony and gala, now in its 16th year, was held at the JW Marriott downtown.

More than 130 companies, schools, organizations and individuals were nominated for Mira awards; more than half were first-time nominees. Fifteen left with awards.

Chris Baggott, co-founder of ExactTarget and Compendium, took the top individual honor: Trailblazer in Technology Award. ExactTarget was acquired by Salesforce.com in 2013 for $2.5 billion, and Oracle acquired Compendium the same year for an undisclosed price. Baggott has since turned his attention to agriculture.

"In much the same way that he revolutionized digital marketing with ExactTarget and Compendium," Mira judges said, "Chris is now sparking a revolution in the food and agriculture business with new ventures HUSK and Tyner Pond Farms."

Other awards included:

Tech Innovation of the Year: Animated Dynamics (AniDyn) Inc., a West Lafayette-based startup that uses imaging technology to look inside living samples of patient biopsies to measure how well cancer drugs are working.

In 2014, judges said, AniDyn completed two pre-clinical animal trials in which it predicted response to therapy with 90-percent accuracy within nine hours of administering the drugs. Clinical follow-up usually takes three to six weeks before the clinician can assess patient response.

Tech Startup of the Year: Lesson.ly, an Indianapolis-based firm, offers cloud-based team-training software to organizations and businesses.

In 2014, judges noted, Lesson.ly’s full-time employee count grew from two to 10, while revenue grew 850 percent. Lesson.ly clients include such brands as Lyft, ModCloth and Angie's List.

Emerging Tech Company of the Year: TinderBox, an Indianapolis-based company, offers a cloud-based sales productivity suite that powers presentation, proposals and contracts.

Mira judges said the company doubled its workforce to 49 employees, added more than 200 customers, launched new offerings and raised about $3 million last year.

Mobile Tech: pi lab, the Carmel-based company behind Edwin the Duck, a kid-friendly, app-connected, rubber duck equipped with an accelerometer, a waterproof speaker and thermometer.

Judges said they were "particularly impressed with they way pi lab developed a complete mobile experience—leveraging the best of mobile technology, apps and the Internet of things to create Edwin the Duck."

Marketing Tech: Geofeedia, which has an office in Indianapolis, is a social media analytics company that helps organizations and companies track posts in specific locations.

Its clients include CNN, eBay, Facebook, Fox Sports and Mall of America, and Mira judges said the firm "found a niche in marketing tech and social media that was begging for a solution."

Tech Sales and Marketing: Weblink International, an Indianapolis-based software-as-a-service company that provides membership management solutions to trade and professional associations, among other organizations.

The 18-year-old company essentially reinvented itself over the past 18 months, judges said, expanding its target market beyond chambers of commerce.

Health Tech: Extension Healthcare, a Fort Wayne-based firm whose flagship Engage platform aims to enhance patient care by improving personnel communication and streamlining workflow.

The company's product, which involves real-time text and voice communication on any device, was praised by some of its clients, including one that said Engage is saving it 700 full-time-equivalent nursing hours per unit, per year.

Education Tech: SPEAK MODalities LLC, which provides tablet apps that help children with autism and related cognitive disabilities learn speech and language.

Judges said software solutions are available for those who have disabilities that prevent them from speaking, but the solutions are intended for a wide spectrum of disabilities; SPEAK MODalities' offerings are tailored for autistic children.

Tech Services—IT to Support the Business: NextGear Capital, a Carmel-based inventory-finance company that provides lines of credit for car dealers to purchase new and used inventory.

The company went from outsourcing technology needs to creating an in-house team in 2013. NextGear went on to build a proprietary customer-relationship-management platform, booked $3 billion in sales and added 85 employees last year.

Tech Services—IT to Support Go-to-Market: Vennli, a South Bend-based company that sells growth strategy and execution software as a service.

Judges said Vennli has "found a business development niche that is underserved and applied technology in innovative ways that provides research, visualization, and prescriptions for companies to grow their businesses."

Tech Educator of the Year: Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, between Bloomington and Evansville, provides acquisition engineering, in-service engineering, and technical support for a variety of warfare components.

Judges praised NSWC's community outreach, particularly efforts related to science, technology, engineering and math education. Since it created a STEM program in 2010, NSWC Crane and its personnel have served over 8,000 students, 100 teachers, and 100 schools.

TechPoint Rising Star: Ilya Rekhter, CEO and founder of transportation technologies company DoubleMap in 2011, has grown it to more than 90 clients worldwide.

Mira judges said they were impressed with Rekhter's community and global contributions. In addition to serving on the board of TechPoint Foundation and coaching youth basketball, the 26-year-old has been involved in international advocacy efforts including petitoning the Indian government on women's issues including legal procedures for handling rape.

TechPoint Foundation for Youth Bridge Builder Award: Greg Ballard, Indianapolis mayor

Judges said Ballard was chosen for the award "in recognition of his vision, commitment, and steadfast pursuit to provide access to hands-on, mentor-led, robotics education programming for all Indianapolis students through the City of Indianapolis VEX Robotics Championship (IndyVRC)."
 

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