Another year in tech, another year of impressive new tech products.
The annual TechPoint Mira Awards are right around the corner. Just like last year, I’m going to break down the Best New Tech Product category because, well, digital products are my thing and it never hurts for Indiana tech to show off a bit.
There are a few repeats from last year’s nominees, but many new entrants in one of Mira’s most competitive categories. This year’s nominees are diverse, with some selling physical products and others creating massive platforms with billion-dollar market potential.
The Mira judges will have a hard time deciding a winner, but for the rest of us, let’s just sit back and celebrate their impressiveness.
And for those of you in Indiana, it’s ok to feel some home-state pride.
120WaterAudit is poised for a breakout year fresh off their win at the Rise of the Rest competition in Indianapolis last year. They have a hybrid physical and digital product solution aimed at increasing the health of the nation’s drinking water. Through home water collection kits, consumers can easily test their drinking water, while school districts and utility companies can ensure their water programs are executed effectively. A brilliantly simple solution to a very serious problem.
Boardable makes software to support non-profit boards and committees. I’ll be honest, I did not initially see a market for this because my stereotype of a “board” was some cabal of wealthy CEO’s—surely they aren’t in dire need of software. Then, my wife joined what feels like a hundred different boards to support my children’s education and I realized just how big of an opportunity this is. Boards are diverse, which often means multiple tools and inefficient communication. Boardable’s product looks to become the hub to solve this problem.
Canvas is approaching HR in a much different way than most competitors in the space. Most claim they are trying to disrupt HR. Instead, Canvas is blanketing the HR space with a solution for recruiters to handle their first interview over text. Simple, right? The candidate interacts with interviewers via text, and the interviewer gets a control panel where they can manage hundreds of ongoing conversations. This allows interviewers to talk to more candidates, and gives the growing generation of emoji-loving communicators a new way to interview. With this laser focus, Canvas will open up endless opportunities to grow.
Crossroads Education has a mission to “innovate education”. What is particularly striking is how they position and sell themselves. Instead of an app, or a picture of kids using iPads, their site has bean bags, tables and rolling whiteboards. They’ve built a digital solution based on the learning commons model that facilitates face-to-face learning through their Nexus product. I’ve seen this in action at IUPUI and can attest that the students were more engaged than I’ve ever seen before.
DemandJump has taken home multiple Mira Awards in the past and looks to add another this year with their Traffic Cloud product. Indianapolis has a rich history of marketing tech and DemandJump is continuing this legacy by helping marketers tie their efforts to revenue in ways they never could before. Traffic Cloud brings data science to the world of marketing by helping marketers find untapped areas of revenue and projecting ROI more accurately. DemandJump continues to innovate every year, and 2018 is no different with Traffic Cloud.
Greenlight Guru has a very serious mission to reduce the amount of time spent getting medical devices to market to ultimately save more lives. This is an industry that is way behind the times (remember paper?), so Greenlight Guru faces a tall order disrupting the medical device industry. Their quality management solution (QMS) helps pre- and post-market device manufacturers replace paper-based systems, bringing the focus on improving device quality and not just government compliance. QMS has the potential to become the de facto standard in an industry desperate for a digital product.
Heliponix was featured last year when they were still known as Hydro Grow. Since then, their young team of Purdue graduates has been iterating on their at-home hydroponics growing appliance, GroPod. With GroPod, you can grow leafy greens right in your kitchen. Their previous product was about as large as a refrigerator, but the latest iteration is closer to a wine cooler (and being associated with wine never hurts). The smaller footprint and lower price point creates a compelling case for Heliponix to have a breakout year. And for those of us tired of recalled produce that seems to expire before we make that salad we promised to eat, we may see the GroPod become just as essential in the kitchen as a refrigerator.
RestUp helps connect caregivers with the families who need assistance caring for elderly loved ones. It’s well-documented that our population continues to age, and as a result, nursing continues to be one of the most in-demand professions in the US. At the same time, we all want to find ways for people to stay in their homes as long as possible. RestUp is capitalizing on this opportunity by creating a platform to build trust and connect people with the most highly-rated caregivers.
Viral Launch recognizes that Amazon continues to be the dominant marketplace, and with that comes opportunity to help sellers perform more effectively on the platform. With their three-pronged approach (Source, Launch, Dominate), Viral Launch is helping Amazon sellers figure out what products to sell, how to launch them effectively, and how to optimize pricing.
Zylo is betting that people who manage software subscriptions are as miserable as I am when doing it for my 17-person agency. I’m the unwitting IT person and can attest that managing dozens of subscriptions—while much better than the days of ordering new CD-ROMs every year—is a huge headache when it comes to managing users, software updates, and product billing. Zylo is fixing this on a grand scale with a product that can help larger IT organizations optimize their spend. It’s going to be an exciting year to watch Zylo grow after their impressive $9.3 million Series A raise earlier this year—and maybe they’ll have a Mira to go with it.
Once again, the standard for digital product in Indiana rises again. While I’m sure every nominee wants to win, simply being included in this stellar group is an honor. I look forward to seeing how each product grows in 2018.
it’s critical to evaluate the effectiveness of a conceptual design from...
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