Research Foundation News

March 20, 2018

Six Purdue startups, one startup program and two faculty entrepreneurs named finalists of the 2018 TechPoint’s Mira Awards

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Six Purdue-affiliated startups, one entrepreneurial program and two Purdue entrepreneurs were announced as finalists in TechPoint’s 2018 Mira Awards. The competition seeks to celebrate expanding entrepreneurship in Indiana’s technology community.

Of the 12 categories assessing companies, products and entrepreneurs, Purdue startups joined eight finalist tracks. According to TechPoint’s chief executive officer, Mike Langellier, the overall 55 finalists have collectively hired 1,150 people and doubled their revenues to $6.8 million in just three years.

Two Purdue startups, Mimir and Skyepack, were accepted into the finalists for the Scale-up of the Year in the $100,000 to $5 million division. This category recognizes rising businesses leading the tech development.

Mimir is a startup founded by by previous Purdue students Prahasith Veluvolu, Jacobi Petrucciani and Colton Voege. The company assists computer science educators through cloud-based coursework, such as an all-in-one Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for reading, writing and submitting code.

Skyepack supplies mobile educational materials, such as textbooks, for universities, professors and students. This Purdue-affiliated startup provides a more affordable and convenient alternative to hard-print materials.

Similar to the above award, the Scale-up of the Year in the $5 million to $20 million recognizes upcoming tech startups. Purdue-affiliated Passageways was accepted into this finalist group for this category.

Passageways offers two mobile applications, OnBoard and OnSemble, designed to assist professionals in preparing for board meetings and contributing to employee intranets. In 2003, Purdue alumnus, Paroon Chadha, founded the company with the aim of developing a professional-grade collaboration platform.

Heliponix, a startup from Purdue’s Startup Class of 2017, was accepted into finalist divisions Best New Tech Product and Tech Service of the Year. The Best New Tech Product honors groundbreaking technology that became commercially available within the last year. The Tech Service of the Year acknowledges startups innovatively solving a specific problem through their professional services.

Heliponix develops hydroponic GroPods, or small in-home greenhouses, that can cultivate various produce and plants. The GroPod Beta can produce leafy greens with 95 percent less water and no pesticides. Purdue Polytechnic Institute graduates Ivan Ball and Scott Massey founded the startup.

The Rising Star praises individual entrepreneurs under 30 with many achievements and high potentials. Heliponix CEO and cofounder, Scott Massey, was also nominated individually for the Mira Rising Star Award.

Holostream, a technology developed by Song Zhang and Tyler Bell, is named as a Mira finalist in the Innovation of the Year category. The technology is shown to produce high-quality 3-D video communication on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets using existing standard wireless networks. The technology drastically reduces the data size of 3-D video without substantially sacrificing data quality, allowing transmission within the bandwidths provided by existing wireless networks. Zhang is an associate professor in Purdue University’s School of Mechanical Engineering and founded the startup xyzstream to commercialize Holostream technology.

A short video about Hydro Grow can be viewed at

The Community Champion of the Year acknowledges individuals or organizations that greatly support Indiana’s technology entrepreneurial community and development.

The Purdue Foundry, was nominated for Community Champion of the Year as an organization. The Purdue Foundry is managed by Tim Peoples, who directs the Foundry’s undertakings include allocating entrepreneurial resources and overseeing the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program.

Two Purdue professors and cofounders of Penguin Innovation were accepted into the Teach Educator of the Year finalist category, which recognizes excellence in technology educators.

Both in the College of Pharmacy, Steve Abel associate professor and associate provost for engagement, and John B. Hertig, assistant professor and associate director of the Purdue College of Pharmacy Center for Medication Safety Advancement joined forces to develop a virtual pharmacy cleanroom to assist students’ hands-on learning.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue's intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park and Purdue Technology Centers. The foundation received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at

Writer: Kelsey Henry, 765-588-3342,

Purdue Research Foundation Contact: Cynthia Sequin, 765-558-3340,

Sources: Tim Peoples, Purdue Foundry’s Managing Director,

Mike Langellier, TechPoint, Chief Executive Officer

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