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BICENTENNIAL: Four who made a difference: Technology

December 12, 2015
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Don Brown

1956 –

Dr. Donald E. Brown has been described as a serial entrepreneur. He co-founded his third software company, Interactive Intelligence Inc., in 1994 and has served as the firm’s president and CEO since 1995; he added the position of board chairman in 1998. A 1985 graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine, Brown also has earned a bachelor’s in physics and a master’s in computer science from IU. He recently earned a master’s in biological sciences from Johns Hopkins University. Brown’s first software company was acquired by Electronic Data Systems Inc. in 1987. The next year, Brown co-founded Software Artistry Inc., a developer of custom support software that went public in 1995. Brown served as CEO and director of Software Artistry from 1988 to 1994; the firm was acquired by IBM Corp. in early 1998.•

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Angie Hicks

1973-

Angie Hicks was the first employee of Columbus Neighbors—later Angie’s List—in Columbus, Ohio, when venture capitalist Bill Oesterle and other investors founded the service-provider referral firm in 1995. The following year, the company bought Unified Neighbors, a similar service in Indianapolis, and moved the renamed Angie’s List to the Hoosier capital city. Hicks and Oesterle moved the firm’s database of local reviews and services to the Internet in 1999, becoming one of the first Web-based marketing services in central Indiana. Angie’s List developed revenue by selling memberships to subscribers and advertising to providers. The company began expanding geographically in the 21st century and went public on the NASDAQ exchange in late 2011.•

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Scott A. Jones

1960-

Scott A. Jones accelerated the information technology revolution in Indianapolis with software that helped companies manage their voice mail. Born in 1960 at the tail end of the baby boom, Jones made his first mark in the IT sector when he founded Boston Technologies to distribute a system for managing corporate voice mail. In the early 1990s, Jones sold his share in the company for nearly $50 million and retired to his Carmel home. But he has continued inventing, and his ideas have spawned companies such as Gracenote, which helps music sites bring up track names; ChaCha, a question-and-answer search engine; and Eleven Fifty, a coding academy and tech consulting firm.•

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W. Scott Webber

1964 –

W. Scott Webber is considered a godfather of the central Indiana technology community. The chairman and CEO of investment and advisory firm Volatus Advisors, he has served as a mentor to dozens of local software and technology entrepreneurs. The chairman of BidPal Inc. and a director at WebLink International Inc. has been a leader in developing technology companies for more than 30 years. Webber was named president of Software Artistry Inc. in early 1991 and CEO in 1994. He also served as CEO of Autobase Inc. and Corepoint Technologies Inc. Webber is a longtime board member of the Indiana Software Association.•

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