IU Health, Wunderkind Inc., Market Wagon and RxLightning Inc. were among the winners Saturday at TechPoint’s Mira Awards gala, which again took place at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis after going virtual for the past two years.
The last time the event was held in person, in 2019, the black-tie awards gala drew a sellout crowd of 1,400. TechPoint said it expected a sellout or near-sellout this year.
The Mira Awards, which recognize achievements in the tech industry throughout Indiana, is the state’s largest and oldest technology awards program.
IU Health, which is the state’s largest health care system with 16 hospitals and 36,000 employees, was honored as Large Enterprise of the Year. Judges cited IU Health’s use of technology to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, including handling a dramatic increase in virtual medicine appointments and launching several new technology initiatives. Those initiatives include the launch of an “I Can Help” app to address staffing needs.
“Their innovations will serve patients into the future, both when they are healthy and when they are sick,” the judges noted.
Wunderkind was honored as Scale-up of the Year among companies that have operations in Indiana but have their headquarters elsewhere.
Based in New York City with offices in Indianapolis and London, Wunderkind is a marketing-tech company that works with retailers to deliver one-to-one emails and text to customers. The company has 130 employees at its Indianapolis office.
Judges noted that Wunderkind has attracted more than $44 million in venture capital, grew by 46% last year and is expecting double-digit growth again this year.
Indianapolis-based Market Wagon was honored as Scale-Up of the Year among Indiana-based companies. The company launched as an online farmers market in 2016 and has seen big growth since then, particularly during the last two years. The platform now has more than 2,500 farmers and artisans who are using the platform to sell to customers in more than 33 markets across 20 states.
“Market Wagon provides food producers with a transparent and reliable local supply chain that bypasses the Big Ag, corporate grocery stores,” judges said.
The Startup of the Year award went to New Albany-based RxLightning, which offers a platform for health care providers to quickly and easily enroll patients for every specialty drug in every therapeutic area.
Judges said they were “blown away” by RxLightning’s speed to market and growth trajectory since its 2020 launch. The company raised $3 million last year, expanded its team and began generating revenue.
RxLightning also won the Tech Product of the Year award.
This year’s Mira Awards honored a total of 16 winners, who were selected from an independent group of 52 volunteer judges.
Here’s the list of the night’s other winners:
Service Partner of the Year: Fishers-based LiftBridge CXO, which launched in 2021 and offers on-demand chief financial officer services to early-stage tech companies. Judges said the company “is likely to have a lasting impact on the success of Indiana tech ecosystem startups and scale-ups well past the critical five-year survival mark.”
Innovation of the Year: West Lafayette-based Neurava, which offers a wearable device for refractory epilepsy patients. Judges called the non-invasive device a “groundbreaking” solution to address a potentially deadly complication of epilepsy.
Rising Entrepreneur: Darrian Mikell of Noblesville. Mikell is the co-founder and CEO of Qualifi, a software-as-a-service company that helps customers quickly screen job applicants via phone interviews. Mikell launched the company with three co-founders in 2019, and the company now employees 40 people and has attracted $3.3 million in venture capital. Judges highlighted Mikell’s “intentional focus on building a diverse workforce,” describing Qualifi as “one of the most diverse tech employers in Indianapolis, built from the ground up.”
Tech Education Award: Jake Simons, the director of robotics at Wa-Nee Community Schools in Nappanee. Simons started a robotics team at rural Woodview Elementary six years ago, and two years later the team beat 6,000 challengers to win a world robotics championship. He now oversees 15 robotics teams in the school district and helped develop a free 22-week curriculum used by beginner coaches worldwide.
Investor of the Year: Indianapolis-based Sixty8 Capital, which focuses its investments on companies led by Black, Latinx, Middle Eastern, Asian, Native American, female, disabled and LGTBQIA+ founders. Judges noted that the firm has made eight investments to date and “is poised to make an oversized impact” in its target geographies of Indiana, the Midwest and the Southeast.
Individual Community Impact Award: Akilah W. Darden, founder and president of construction management firm The Darden Group LLC. One of the Indianapolis-based company’s biggest achievements came when Bloomington-based Cook Medical hired The Darden Group to assemble a 100% diverse team of contractors to build Cook’s new medical device manufacturing facility in Indianapolis. Judges noted that Darden “artfully leveraged technology to disrupt the industry and augment opportunities for under-represented groups.”
Group/Organization Community Impact Award: Indy Women in Tech, a not-for-profit organization created to address the gender gap in the tech workforce. The group offers programs, scholarships, mentoring, professional development and services to help women successfully enter careers in technology. On average, 89% of women who participate in Indy Women in Tech graduate on time and with zero debt, and they see a 68% increase in their personal income.
Exceptional Employer Award: Indianapolis-based insurance technology company myCOI LLC. MyCOI uses both proprietary software and human expertise to help clients collect, review and track certificates of insurance. Judges praised the company for creating “a positive and productive employee community in the new remote and hybrid work environment, by really listening to employees, supporting their growth, and empowering them to be their personal and professional best.”
Talent Impact Award: Indianapolis-based Eleven Fifty Academy, which trains adults for careers in coding and cybersecurity. Since the start of the pandemic, Eleven Fifty graduates have filled more than 800 tech jobs with average starting salaries of $54,000. Judges praised founder and President Scott Jones for creating a first-in-the-nation progressive income share agreement for tech workforce training, for which the Indiana General Assembly provided $75 million in funding.
Also recognized at the event were two previously-announced winners:
Indianapolis-based Informatics Diversity-Enhanced Workforce, or iDEW, earned the TechPoint Foundation for Youth Bridge Builder Award. The award honors leaders that offer programs to encourage underserved Indiana students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Since its launch in 2015, iDEW has worked with education and industry partners to reach more than 2,500 girls and minority students.
Long-time Indianapolis tech entrepreneur Bill Oesterle earned the TechPoint Trailblazer Award. Oesterle, a co-founder of Angie’s List, has also been active in helping attract and retain top talent in Indiana. Purdue University president and former Gov. Mitch Daniels described Oesterle as “one of the most important and impactful Indiana business leaders in the modern era,” as well as “one of our state’s most constructive and influential citizens.” Oesterle ran Daniels’ successful gubernatorial campaign in 2004.