The FUSE Business Innovation Awards are an annual event rebooted by The Mill to recognize the accomplishments of both companies and individuals in Bloomington’s incredible technology and innovation community.
2018 FUSE Award Nominees and Winners
Bill & Gayle Cook Entrepreneur of the Year
- Jay Baer, Founder, Convince and Convert – Jay Baer is the founder of Convince and Convert. He is also a New York Times Bestselling Author, and one of the few living speakers to be inducted into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame.
- Adam Quirk and Jeff Wuslich, Co-Founders, Cardinal Spirits – Adam and Jeff are co-founders of Cardinal Spirits, one of the premier distilleries in the state. Founded in 2015, Cardinal Spirits has quickly become one of Indiana’s top distilleries. In only 3 short years, Cardinal Spirits can be found in over 10 states and Washington D.C.. Cardinal Spirits products have both local and national recognition, having their Terra Gin featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Wine Enthusiast.
Winner: Reuben Vandevender, Co-founder, Data Clairvoyance and ZIO
Reuben has been at the forefront of data governance and finding new and innovative ways to use data as an asset to companies for more than a decade. He has been in consulting leadership roles for Fortune 500 companies through Data Clairvoyance, a company that he founded. He is currently the Chief Data Officer for ZIO and the President and CDO in residence at Infogix.
Mentor of the Year
- Jason Whitney, IU RTC and IU Philanthropic Venture Fund – Jason takes a “yes, and…” approach always looking for a way to help and provide introductions to resources even when they are not a match for us. He spends the time with individuals to mentor and help them even when it is well outside his formal remit for the fund or IURTC.
- Teri Willey, IU Philanthropic Venture Fund – Terri has been a B-Start Mentor for 2018 and is a Cohort Fund Manager for the newly launched IU PhV – exploring opportunities to invest in IU and IU alumni founded companies. She’s also been a panelist for several educational activities geared towards budding entrepreneurs. In addition to her duties serving the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, she’s also a prominent statewide advocate for Bloomington in assembling investment syndicates.
Winner: Brad Wisler, CEO, Periodic
Brad’s advice has provided an enormous amount of clarity to his mentees on a variety of topics from fundraising strategy to recruiting a tech co-founder to negotiating with potential partners. Brad has gone beyond simply providing advice—he also made some incredibly valuable introductions. Brad was instrumental in bringing about these connections that open doors and possibilities for companies.
Company of the Year
- Secretly Group – Secretly Group’s affiliated companies form a constellation of most facets of the music industry. With the four proprietary labels at its core – Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, Dead Oceans and the Numero Group – the group counts Bon Iver, The War On Drugs, Angel Olsen and Yoko Ono amongst its artist alongside noteworthy comedy stars like Tig Notaro. In addition to its labels, Secretly Group’s affiliated companies include Secretly Distribution, artist management company Fort William Artist Management, and Secretly Publishing. Secretly Group is headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, with offices in Brooklyn, London, Chicago, Los Angeles and Austin.
- The Bee Corp – The Bee Corp started as an idea for a business plan competition and evolved with input of excellent mentors and advisors. Their team has served as an ambassador for new ventures in Indiana. The Bee Corp is doing something that matters to the world and in doing so teaching us not only about the importance of well managed bee hives but about the importance of data analytics and their application to software.
Winner: Cook Pharmica
Formerly Cook Medical’s biopharmaceuticals manufacturing arm, Cook Pharmica specializes in the manufacturing of in liquid and lyophilized vials, prefilled syringes, cartridges, and cell line development pharmaceutical products from start-to-finish. Housed in what was once a television factory, Cook Pharmica quickly grew to be a formidable one-stop-shop for contract pharmaceutical manufacturers looking to produce high quality products from start to finish. In 2017 Cook Pharmica was acquired by New Jersey-based Catalent Pharmaceuticals for $1 billion.
Rising Star of the Year
- Content Cucumber – Content Cucumber was started in February of this year in a dorm room by Sam and Isaac Morey and Chris Chasteen. Since its founding, Content Cucumber has presented at this year’s Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, and have grown to fill over 2,000 requests for content, from a variety of companies and are attracting the attention and dollars of firms looking for an outsourced content solution like RawMate, Wagento, and Payflic.
- Zoro – Zoro has three full-time co-founders. In 2018, they’ve confirmed the viability of providing a credit card that acts like a debit card and have secured the necessary banking and API partnerships. They’re are on track to launch a Beta version of our platform by March 2019. On a shoe-string marketing budget, their pre-launch waitlist at zorocard.com has garnered almost 10,000 signups (unique U.S. phone numbers) in under two months.
Zipility was founded by Tyler Henke, a serial entrepreneur and a bloomerang! Tyler Henke started out with a software consulting business and becoming part of the entrepreneurial community. He also founded Cowork, and is a member of the Indiana Small Business Development Center, as well as leading the charge with Ziptility. Ziptility tackles an important problem with a SaaS and data analytics solution for addressing geographical information systems data quality, asset managements and capital investments decisions for water and gas utility markets.
Bill & Gayle Cook Entrepreneur of the Year
- Ben Swanson – Ben has been a prolific entrepreneur in the music industry. A founder of Secretly Canadian, he now is the CEO of Secretly Group, a family of record labels headquartered in Bloomington that count Yoko Ono, Foxygen, Bon Iver, The War On Drugs, and hundreds of other independent musicians.
- Jeff Schwegman – Jeff runs AB BioTechnologies, a small, privately held pharmaceutical company specializing in injectable drug products, diagnostics, and vaccines. His company has grown to house have a full service lab that can develop formulations, lyophilization cycles, and manufacturing processes for pharmaceutical products.
Winner: Doug Dayhoff, Fromer President, Upland Brewing
In 2017, Doug stepped down from his position as President of Upland Brewing. Under his leadership, the company grew from 20 employees to 200 employees, opened multiple restaurants in Carmel, Broad Ripple, and Columbus. Upland also expanded its beer library and began brewing more experimental sour ales, in addition to its vast catalogue of beer varieties.
Mentor of the Year
- Gerry Hays, Managing Partner, Slane Capital Partners – Gerry is a senior finance lecturer at Indiana University, and has served on the boards of multiple companies most recently becoming a Managing Partner at Slane Capital. Gerry has been able to provide budding entrepreneurs with the knowledge and knowhow of starting up their own business with his years of experience.
- Brad Wisler, CEO, Periodic – A longtime member and fierce advocate for innovative companies in the Bloomington area, Brad’s mentorship has provided an enormous amount of clarity to his mentees on a variety of topics from fundraising strategy to recruiting a tech co-founder to negotiating with potential partners. Brad’s mentees consistently tout his ability to not only give advice, but to be an aggressive cheerleader for the people and companies he offers advice to.
Winner: Jane Martin, Retired Venture Capitalist
Jane has been an instrumental luminary and mentor in Bloomington and Greater Indiana’s entrepreneurial community. While she often describes herself as a “retired venture capitalist,” such a title does not do her justice. A remarkable fundraiser, and a fierce advocate, Jane has not only mentored entrepreneurs of all stripes, but has been a fierce advocate for The Mill, not only chairing The Mill’s board, but also serving on multiple boards of multiple organizations.
Company of the Year
- Hanapin Marketing – Co-founded by Pat and Jamie East in their spare bedroom. Hanapin Marketing has quickly grown into one of Bloomington’s most successful innovation-driven companies. Hanapin Marketing has become one of the leaders in the digital marketing industry, specializing in the pay-per-click market and running an industry-wide conference in both the United States and London, HeroConf. Hanapin also has consistently won Indiana’s Best Places to Work Awards multiple years running.
- Secretly Group – Secretly Group’s affiliated companies form a constellation of most facets of the music industry. In addition to its labels, Secretly Group’s affiliated companies include Secretly Distribution, artist management company Fort William Artist Management, and Secretly Publishing. Secretly Group is headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, with offices in Brooklyn, London, Chicago, Los Angeles and Austin.
Winner: Envisage Technologies
Envisage, founded in 2001, provides solutions automating complex training operations for first responders, law enforcement, and the military with a core mission to improve the readiness of our nation’s public safety professionals to ensure they come home alive. The company’s Acadis Readiness Suite training and compliance software platform is the training management system of record for agencies within the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and many state law enforcement and public safety organizations.
Rising Star of the Year
- Future Wonder – Founded by Simon Beverton, Future Wonder provides IT consulting services to developing companies looking to bring their products to market. Future Wonder is bolstered by Simon’s experienced team and extensive and robust experience in the finance sector.
- The Bee Corp – The Bee Corp is doing something that matters to the world and is pushing the envelope with its innovative technology regarding beehive management.
Cheddar, a company whose usage based API simplifies billing for software companies, announced $1.25 million in seed funding led by M25 Group in 2017. Cheddar is one of the first technology companies based in Bloomington, Indiana to raise institutional venture capital from outside sources. Marc Guyer and Mike Trotzke founded Cheddar in 2009 as part of their venture studio, SproutBox. While initially built to speed the development of startups at SproutBox, Cheddar has grown organically to bill millions each month.