Top 10 tech startups racing forward in Indianapolis Indiana
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The second largest city in the Midwest has all the major sports teams and multiple major startups

Say “Indianapolis” and racing fans the world over answer “500” before the starting flag waves. Sure, the city is the county seat and state capitol and largest city in Indiana, but when the largest single-day sporting event has your city’s name on it, that tends to dominate the conversation.

Founded by the White River in 1821, laid out as a planned city to be the state capitol, Indianapolis became a transportation hub (remember the river) and then lead the area in manufacturing. The area has nearly 2.4 million souls including 855,000+ inside the city limits.

Global pharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly started in Indianapolis in 1876, now one of three Fortune 500 companies in town, and has long been a leader in business and philanthropy. There are multiple colleges (a large city campus is a mashup of Indiana University and Purdue) in the area. As usual, the mix of state government, money, education, and hard work create a fast track for startups.

Scale Computing

Photo courtesy: Scale Computing

Scalability via virtualization, long the playground of the Fortune 100, is now affordable for thousands more midsized companies thanks to Scale Computing. Virtualizing a variety of computing resources to look like a single, easy to use server, their HC3 product runs faster and cost less than smaller companies can build themselves.

Beginning back in 2006, Scale worked on the new world of virtualization without much attention until 2009. In May that year they received $3 million in Series A funding from three investors, and in June another $2 million arrived. 2010 brought another 26 million in Series B and C from 11 different funding groups. First Analysis and another investor put up and undisclosed amount in August 2014, followed by $18 million in Series E bucks in July 2015. That adds up to a healthy non-virtual $61 million plus.

NICO Corporation

Photo courtesy: NICO Corporation

Modern medicine can do some amazing things, and improved brain surgery is one of them. Say hello to NICO Corporation, developer of patented neuro surgery tools. Stroke treatment also has multiple patented tools available from NICO, as the more traditional tumor removal.

NICO began working to utilize the folds and pathways of the brain to minimize damage during surgery in 2007. Series A funding of $1.7 million appeared in January 2008, followed just a bit more a year later. $10 million in Series C cash arrived in July 2009, followed by venture totals of $6.57 million (July 2012) and $15.07 million (February 2016). Later that month another %15 million rolled in, followed by $8 million in debt financing. All that adds up to a smart total of over $58 million.


Photo courtesy: SmarterHQ

Who wants to be smarter? Marketers for one, and SmarterHQ helps them by providing tools for B2C companies to make each customer feel unique. This takes cross-platform monitoring, data collection, regular contact management, and analysis, but results in more sales and happier customers.

Email was big by 2010 when SmarterHQ started but a scientific approach to Internet marketing was just starting. $3.33 million in venture funding helped in November 2012, and Battery Ventures chipped in $7 million in February 2014. Series B of $8 million in July 2015 and Series C of $13 million from Spring Lake Equity Partners pushes the total well over $38 million.

Orbis Education

Photo courtesy: Orbis

Every news story about healthcare eventually mentions a serious shortage of skilled nurses. Orbis Education manages collaborative nursing education services to help fill those critical gaps in skilled nursing support. If you know hospitals, you know doctors are great but nurses do the real heavy lifting, and every hospital needs more of them.

Late in 2003, Orbis began their coursework development and outreach. An undisclosed amount of Series A money in September 2005 showed they were on the right track, as did some deb financing in April 2009. Even better health new arrived in January 2019 when Lightspeed Venture Partners brought $8 million in Series B money. After more debt financing, LLR Partners provided $24.33 million in venture funding in September 2012.

Mobi Wireless Management

Photo courtesy: Mobi

How hard is it to manage your wireless devices? Not too bad. But when you’re responsible for thousands of employees and their smartphones, tablets, and every other wireless devices, it gets tough. Enter Mobi Wireless Management and their cloud-based tools to make mobile device management, well, manageable.

Starting in 2009, not long after the iPhone dropped in 2007, Mobi self-funded and kept development nose to grindstone. Then Bregal Sagemount appeared in July 2015 with a venture check for $35 million.


Photo courtesy: Odyssey

Universities mean young people and that means social media, and one loud voice is Odyssey, started by two Indiana University students. Most media execs live on one of the coasts and have no clue about people in “flyover-ville.” Odyssey gives voice to millions (well over 100 million regular users), often with a bit of Millennial snark.

Starting development back in the middle of 2009, Odyssey went live in 2014 with $1.55 million in debt financing, followed by another $900k 11 months later. Later that same month, $3 million in venture money clicked in, followed by another $3 million in December 2015. Success built upon success, and two investors logged on iwht $25 million in Series B money in April 2016. That means $33+ million in total.

Photo courtesy: Blue Pillar


Take something old, energy, and something new, the Internet of Things, and mash them together and you get Blue Pillar. They call it their Energy Network of Things, and they monitor equipment, automate responses, and optimize energy savings.

Starting in 2006, early on in the IoT timeframe, Blue Pillar stayed under the radar as industrial startups often do. By the middle of 2010, however, $1+ million in Series A money found them, as did $7 million in Series B funds in May 2012. March 2015 brought $14 million from EnerTech Capital and two others, and six investors pitched in $10 million in venture money in January 2017. That makes a nice total of nearly $36 million, all networked together.

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Cloud-based Customer Relationship Managers aren’t new, but applying this model to medical laboratories was when opened up in 2001. Actually, that was still new for cloud-based anythings, since only launched in 1999. But medical labs and other facilities need CRMs, as shown by the success of

Bootstrapping for over a decade, landed $1.58 million in seed funding in January of 2013. April that same year brought a venture round of over $3 milion, followed by $1.05 million in June 2014 and $1.4 million in March 2015. $5 million in debt financing, followed by $13.2 million in venture money, made October 2015 a good year. Total? Well over $33 million.

T2 Systems

Photo courtesy: T2 Systems

What’s high tech about a parking space? Nothing, but controlling access to and maximizing revenue from said space takes smarts, and T2 Systems is one of the leaders in parking tech. Digital parking permits and RFID tags are just two of the many ways parking has become more than a place to put a car.

Working to improve parking since 1994, T2 Systems took a big tech stop forward in 2007 when Petra Capital Partners parked $3 million in venture money in their spot. In September 2011, Pamlico Capital joined the lot with $8 million in venture funding for a total of $31 million.


Photo courtesy: BidPal

Non-profits live and unfortunately die based on generosity of supporters. BidPal has a slogan of “Technology for Good,” and they are the top mobile bidding and online fundraising platform for non-profits. Old-fashioned giving, meet modern technology and mobile-focused contribution management.

Beginning in 2008 (after the iPhone), BidPal got $1.28 million in debt financing in April 2009, followed by $1.59 million in Series A funding in August of that year. Several more rounds of debt financing from 2010 to 2016 helped, as did $5.6 million in Series B bucks in September 2011 and $3.5 million in venture money in December 2016. The bid total for BidPal so far? Nearly $23 million.

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James Gaskin

About James Gaskin

James writes books, articles, and jokes about technology, and consults for those who don’t read his books and articles.

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