Annual gala attracted nearly 2,0000 celebrants of the best in Indiana tech and innovation

INDIANAPOLIS — TechPoint, the industry-led growth initiative for Indiana’s digital innovation economy, today announced the winners of its 25th annual Mira Awards program presented by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Salesforce and a host of the state’s most innovative companies, universities and organizations.

“Our collective vision is to transform Indiana from an emerging tech hub into a global leader in digital innovation, and tonight was a showcase of amazing innovation and leadership across all of Indiana’s major sectors,” said TechPoint President and CEO Ting Gootee. “Mira’s 25-year-track record provides a valuable innovation awards platform for the highly deserving winners but also for our amazing tech and innovation community overall.”

The 2024 TechPoint Mira Award winners are:

Talent Impact Award: Skyepack, West Lafayette: The Career+™ Ecosystem platform by Skyepack combines education with real-world career experiences and guidance and has set a precedent for innovative education and workforce development programs nationwide. The Mira judges said Skyepack’s “comprehensive, people-centric and innovative approach to talent impact, coupled with its sustainability and scalability strategies, make it the ideal choice.”  The company creates talent impact by bridging the gap between employers, high schools, counselors, and students with “a total package solution” that “ensures a people-first approach to talent development.” Its sustainability plan, including fee structures and scalability strategies, demonstrates a clear path for long-term success. Skyepack’s presence in the western half of the state signifies an inclusive approach to tech development, addressing regional disparities and empowering communities beyond urban centers, the judges said. The program has reached 15,110 students across 21 schools in a seven-county area. In 15 months, it has linked 6,869 students with more than 50 employers, facilitating around 300 early career experiences for students, leading to more than 4,000 career guidance interactions, significantly influencing students’ career choices and readiness.

Tech Innovation Team of the Year: Pierce Aerospace, Fishers: The Mira judges viewed Pierce Aerospace as “a prime example of how a small Hoosier team can make a national impact.” The team has designed and produced remote identification beacons for unmanned aerial vehicles that enable the devices to meet multiple federal regulations. The company refers to its sophisticated technology as “license plates for drones.” The judges were blown away by the company’s response to a last-minute opportunity to test their beacons at the 2023 Superbowl in Phoenix that involved them attaching their devices to every federal and commercial aircraft protecting the stadium’s airspace. The opportunity was complicated by the fact that the team was already in Alaska working on another complicated project with the federal government. The company swiftly found a way to succeed at both projects and wowed the federal government, as well as the Mira judges.

Student Entrepreneur of The Year: Matt Gacek, Bloomington: Indiana University: Gacek, a first-generation entrepreneur in his sophomore year, created an app to encourage more men and marginalized groups to seek mental health and self-care treatment. Theia, Ai Therapy & Growth uses responsive AI to gather information, track mood shifts and recognize patterns in users’ communication styles, stated goals, daily ups and downs to create uplifting, individualized recommendations. The Mira judges found Gacek to be a humble person who is unafraid of tough decisions and learns quickly from mistakes and failures. They admire the success he found despite having zero business connections to creating the app before he even graduated. Gacek sold the app in December for an undisclosed amount.

Rising Entrepreneur: RxLightning’s Julia Regan, New Albany: Impressing Mira judges is becoming habit for Regan. Her company won the 2023 Disruptor of the Year and Product Launch of the Year Mira Awards, and in 2022, it took home Startup of the Year and Tech Product of the Year awards, making it the first company to earn back-to-back double wins. Founded in 2020 by Regan and Brad Allen, RxLightning has brought digital innovation to a paper-dominated process for patients to receive more than 1,200 specialty medications, reducing wait times from weeks or months to just day or even hours. The Mira judges cited her “big vision,” entrepreneurial drive, track record, ability to solve business challenges in multiple industries in selecting her above a competitive field. They also credited her for heeding advice from investors.

TechPoint Resilience Award: Luke Zhang, Indianapolis: At 16, Zhang left China to chase the American Dream. His journey has been a series of peaks and valleys with hard work leading to success, then setback, followed by more hard work, success and setbacks. The Mira judges credited his perseverance and a long and growing list of accomplishments and community work despite the many and varied challenges as what made him stand out among other impressive contenders who overcame their own significant challenges to thrive in the Indiana tech community.

Digital Transformation: Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN) West Lafayette: The Mira judges were amazed that a small, non-profit could effectively bring multi-faceted groups together to work on common goals.  Crediting the organization with transforming industries in Indiana, especially in rural areas, they said “WHIN is having an outsized impact for its size and is working like a corporation as it systematizing and accelerates digital transformation in 10 north-central Indiana counties. It’s “Living Lab” works with farmers and manufacturers to form user communities interested in trying new technology. The strategy helped bring the first robotics plant dedicated to agriculture to Indiana. WHIN has also made other investments that support the region’s development into a tech powerhouse, completing in 2023 a $6 million investment in the region’s 28 school corporations to strengthen network-based access and learning for more than 50,000 K-12 students.

Tech Innovation of The Year: Compact Medical, Inc., Indianapolis: Even the most impressive innovation will eventually need iteration, and in the case of equipment that first responders use while employing cardiac pulmonary resuscitation, 50 years had passed from initial development, with little, if any update. Enter Compact Medical and its new bag-valve mask (BVM) equipment, which helps provide the right amount of air at the right pressure for each patient. The Indianapolis company’s Butterfly BVM enables first responders to easily tailor pressure and volume to each patient – whether they are infants or adults. Further, the company has partnered with the Hope Center, an organization that helps human traffic victims recover, as its manufacturing partner. Company officials see great synergy in helping Hope Center residents reclaim their lives while building devices that could help save lives throughout the country. The team’s passion for its work stood out to the judges, who said the brief training required to use the technology was “super good UX (user experience.”) “This team has innovated in a space no one is touching, and they are touching every population,” the judges said.

Community Impact: Ivy Tech (Ivy+ Academy): The Ivy + Academy, Indianapolis: offers Indiana residents the opportunity – for free – to earn Google Career Certificates, preparing them for high-wage, high-demand tech jobs in areas like cybersecurity, data analytics, and IT support. The potential for graduates to nearly double the state’s average salary highlights the program’s significant economic impact. Thousands have enrolled in the Academy, surpassing initial goals within months and demonstrating the program’s scalability and its potential as a model for similar initiatives elsewhere. The Mira judges were impressed with the program, its potential economic impact, the interest in it and its emphasis on reaching underserved demographic groups: 55 percent of graduates identify as Asian, Black, or Latino, and 71 percent of interest in the program came from women. “Ivy Tech’s initiative also stands out for its comprehensive career support, connecting graduates with an employer group of over 150 companies,” the judges said.

Innovation Service Partner of The Year: SEP, Westfield: The SEP team created new service offerings, product strategy and innovation, and AI enablement that were game changers in various industries in 2023. The Westfield company also streamlined cross-platform services within its walls to deliver for its clients. SEP defines innovation translating innovative ideas into practical solutions and excellence as making those creative ideas work and sticking around to help with the next system upgrade, functionality improvement and bug fix. The Mira judges said SEP’s real-time, real-life solutions touch everyone’s lives. They were also quite taken with the company culture being so customer centric. Judges said the “humble” presenters represented true “Hoosier culture.”

Startup of the Year: Tenon, Indianapolis: The Mira judges see “huge promise” in Tenon, which is the first to market in its space. Tenon offers a marketing work management solution for enterprise marketing teams to plan and execute their initiatives at scale. Built on ServiceNow – a world-wide leader in digital workflows trusted by 85 percent of the Fortune 500 – Tenon gives marketing teams the technology needed to collaborate and execute campaigns while providing visibility to drive company-wide alignment, and support, and to prove the value of marketing initiatives. Tenon provides out-of- the-box tools like pre-built project templates and advanced capabilities such as agile marketing.  The company is focused on solving project bottlenecks for enterprises working to align large marketing departments challenged by remote work silos, overlapping systems and turnover. Tenon is already the top choice of global, enterprises-level marketing departments, and with an integration to Veeva Vault, it provides one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world the ability to expedite marketing campaigns and streamline compliance processes with ease.

Tech Company of the Year: Authenticx, Indianapolis: Authenticx is trusted by top healthcare and life sciences enterprises to help them identify, understand and effectively respond to customer sentiment and trends. One of the first to leverage AI to tap into the rich data pool of consumer feedback, the company has been recognized as one of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies and, according to Tech Crunch, was the only female-founded and led Midwest company to announce a Series B investment round in 2023. Its more than 15 proprietary healthcare-specific AI models are constantly being improved and checked by human experts to ensure accuracy. The Mira judges credited Authenticx’s consistently impressive growth track record, its impressive tech, Brown’s founder’s journey and industry expertise as reasons the company stood out from its peers.

AgriNovus Indiana HungerTech Challenge Award: Anu, Evansville: Anu is a dedicated health and wellness platform committed to growing fresh produce from the comfort of home. Its Rotary Aeroponics technology supports a ‘Nespresso for plants’ business model, offering a recurring seed pod subscription service that sets a standard for nutrition and flavor while also focusing on food safety. Anu has previously received funding from the Purdue University Research Foundation Capital Fund, the National Science Foundation for the development of our computer vision AI and the State of Indiana Manufacturing Grants to enhance production capabilities. The company was founded by a team of former NASA research engineers from Purdue University, Ivan Ball and Scott Massey, and is now taking steps to bring their technology into everyday living spaces and commercial settings

Conexus Indiana Manufacturing Innovation Award: Smoker Craft, New Paris: Smoker Craft is one of the largest fiberglass deck boat manufacturers in the world and specializes in aluminum boat production. The firm adopted a robotic tube welding system to automate every part of its pontoon assembly process.

Nextech K-12 Computer Science (CS)Teacher of the Year: Brian Belch, Decatur Central High School, Indianapolis: A Computer Science/English/History Teacher at MSD Decatur Township, Belch has had an impressive 26-year career in education – 20 of them in CS.  Nextech President Karen Jung, who presented the award to Belch, said he is the “epitome of a lifelong learner who never turns down an opportunity to grow and to put his talents and enthusiasm to work for Indiana youth. Brian is a teacher-learner who understands the value of bringing real-world events into the classroom to engage students and adapting what he teaches to give them what they need to succeed in a rapidly changing world,” she said. “Brian threads all of that through his various subject matter teaching, demonstrating to his students how everything is interconnected.”

TechPoint Foundation for Youth Bridge Builder Award: Antonia “Toni” Mungui, Purdue Polytechnic, West Lafayette: Munguia has made valuable contributions student success by dramatically increasing the number of female and underrepresented students enrolled at Purdue Polytechnic Institute and improving the retention and graduation rates of underrepresented minority students by record-setting percentages. In her time at Purdue Polytechnic, the organization has increased overall enrollment by 53 percent, increased under-represented minority students by 69 percent and women by 110 percent.

Trailblazer of the Year: Kate Maxwell, Indianapolis, partner and general manager, Microsoft Worldwide Education. A Pennsylvania native, Maxwell relocated to Indiana in 2019 when she moved to become and Engineering Lead and later Chief Engineer, Product Support Portfolio at the company then known as Raytheon, now RTX.  Nationally known as a Digital Transformation expert, Maxwell now serves as the Industry Executive for Worldwide Education at Microsoft where she leads a global team responsible for defining and executing industry and technology strategy, the corporation’s go-to-market plan and field sales enablement in the more than $4 billion education industry covering K-12, higher education and research segments. The selection committee said Maxwell is acutely aware of the power of her platform and privilege and is committed to using it for good. She speaks on keynote stages all over the world on topics like inclusivity and belonging; mental health; workplace culture; progress over perfection; bravery as a life and career differentiator; and elevating women in all places where decisions are made.

Deal of the Year: Sortera Technologies, Markle: Sortera’s $30.5 million Series C raise was the Indiana tech sector’s largest capital raise of 2023. The company brings state-of-the-art AI, image/data analytics, and advanced sensors to the industrial scrap metal recycling and re-use industry. It is using the capital to fuel growth and to support the company’s ongoing commitment to solutions that create new upcycling streams and contribute to a more sustainable future. Sortera strives to enable 100 percent reuse of metals recovered from end-of-life products for manufacturing of similar products. The company’s disruptive technology drives new paradigms by generating new high purity recycling products through advanced industrial scale sortation methods. Creating novel high purity recycled (and up-cycled) metal feedstocks from existing scrap streams enables the domestic supply of metals and alloys ready for use for high-quality domestic manufacturing, boosting the strength of the circular economy.

Mission41K Exceptional Employer: City of South Bend’s Department of Innovation and Technology: The Mira Judges scored the department consistently high across all of the criteria that included how they used internships and apprenticeships to spur tech careers, used skills-based hiring and advanced diversity, equity and inclusion throughout their operations. Work done by the Department in the past decade has been so innovative, the city has won national acclaim as a place where tech is put to work in exciting, useful ways that benefit residents. The Department started in 2016 with two interns digitizing city records in a closet. Now, it has nearly 50 full-time employees, many hired with a skills-first approach or through a program that recruits new college graduates or through an upskilling program and national outreach.

About TechPoint: TechPoint, is the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership‘s branded initiative for Indiana’s digital innovation economy and overall tech ecosystem. The industry-led team is focused on working with public, private and industry partners to expand tech talent pipeline, enhance resource connectivity for enterprise organizations and startups alike, and elevate the industry by activating the community and amplifying stories of success. For more information, please visit