Salesforce took top honors at TechPoint’s 19th annual Mira Awards ceremony Saturday night.
Salesforce, a maker of customer relationship management software headquartered in San Francisco, was named Tech Company of the Year, the category for firms generating $20 million or more in annual revenue.
With more than 1,650 local employees, Salesforce has a massive and growing presence in Indianapolis. About 75 percent of those local employees work on Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which is headquartered in Indianapolis and grew nearly 40 percent year-over-year in 2017.
“In addition to adding another 200 new high-wage jobs in 2017, Salesforce celebrated the grand opening of Salesforce Tower Indianapolis, which is the tallest building in Indiana and one of just four such locations in the world—San Francisco, New York, London and now Indianapolis," judges said in written remarks. "More than 90 percent of Salesforce employees in Indiana volunteer in local public schools or with nonprofits, and they volunteered over 65,000 hours in 2017."
This year’s Mira Awards—the state’s largest and longest-running technology awards program—had a record 205 applicants along with record attendance at this year’s event, held at the JW Marriott downtown.
“We smashed all previous records for attendance, registering 400 more people than last year with 1,300 guests total, and selling out of all tickets six weeks before the gala,” said TechPoint CEO Mike Langellier. “The forward motion that the tech community made in 2017 can be measured by the attraction of talent, capital and customers; the growth of companies and jobs; and the excellence and innovation we celebrate every year throughout the Mira Awards season.”
The top individual award—the Trailblazer Award—went to John Wechsler, the founder of Launch Fishers and the Indiana IoT Lab.
The judges said: “John Wechsler founded or co-founded no less than a dozen tech startups in the Greater Indianapolis tech community. His most recent ventures—The Indiana Coworking Passport, Launch Fishers, Launch Indiana, Launch Indy and the Indiana IoT Lab—are all compounding the impact he has on tech as thousands of Hoosiers learn and grow and launch their own ventures out of the spaces and nurturing cultures he’s created throughout the state.”
Here’s the full list of winners (along with abbreviated judge commentary):
● Rising Star Award: Ellie Symes, CEO, The Bee Corp
"Ellie Symes is an ambitious entrepreneur and an influential thought leader pioneering patented technologies and other innovative IoT solutions in an industry devoid of tech adoption. In 2017, she launched her first two products and raised over three quarters of a million dollars in funding for her startup."
● Tech Educator of the Year: Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce, IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI
"iDEW is increasing the number and diversity of people in the tech pipeline by teaching high school students how to design and code."
Honorable Mention: Javier Barrera Cervantes, executive director, Latino Youth Collective
● Investor of the Year: High Alpha – Scott Dorsey, managing partner
"In the 30 months since the four founding partners launched High Alpha, the venture studio has invested $11.4 million in Indianapolis tech companies, including six investments in 2017 alone."
● Community Champion of the Year: Kristen Cooper, CEO & founder, The Startup Ladies
"Kristen is filling a crucial role within the tech community of bringing more women entrepreneurs to the forefront and providing the resources and access to capital that they need to be successful."
● TechPoint Foundation for Youth Bridge Builder Award: Jeffrey C. Musgrove Jr., digital development lead, Eli Lilly and Co.
"Jeffrey C. Musgrove Jr. has spent nearly two decades working in various technical roles at large Indianapolis-based companies including as Eli Lilly and Co. and Roche Diagnostics. His steadfast commitment to sharing his passion for technology with younger generations is demonstrated through his work as a leader and instructor for the Black Data Processors Association (BDPA), Indianapolis chapter, dedicating more than 1,000 hours of service over the past seven years."
● Innovation of the Year: WorkHere
"WorkHere has pioneered using mobile GPS to help employers locate people nearby, reduce turnover and accelerate the hiring process, while at the same time making it extremely easy for job seekers to find a great job closer to home."
● Best New Tech Product: Heliponix
The judges called the Gropod a potential “category killer” in the fast-growing vertical farming market.
● Tech Service of the Year: Codelicious
"Codelicious is transforming the way elementary and middle schools teach students how to code."
● Corporate Innovator of the Year: City of Indianapolis-Marion County, Information Services Agency
"Through Shift Indy, the city of Indianapolis is making government services easy to find, simple to use and available 24/7, and most impressive, they’re doing it all without increasing the budget!"
Honorable Mention: OurHealth
● Company Culture of the Year: Springbuk
"Health-intelligence software developer Springbuk grew from a start-up of five people to 60 full-time employee in three years, with more than half of those new hires joining in 2017."
● Best New Tech Startup: FreightRover
"The company’s platform reduces 15 manual, paper-based processes down to three automated steps and streamlines payment processing so that transportation carriers get paid in 24 hours rather than 30 days."
● Scale-up of the Year ($100K-$5M): Springbuk
"Springbuk and its health-analytics software are tackling one of our nation's biggest issues by using data science to prevent illness, injury and disease."
● Scale-up of the Year ($5M-$20M): SupplyKick
"Despite operating in a notoriously high-risk market (online retail), the fast-growing, self-funded company nearly doubled its workforce and more than doubled its revenue in 2017, which it’s done each year for the past three years."