Last Thursday was a huge day for the Indianapolis tech community. AOL co-founder Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest tour bus stopped by, and ten high-growth startups competed for a chance to win a cool $100,000. In the end, the grand prize went to the water-testing company 120WaterAudit. The company’s CEO, Megan Glover, was among our panel of guests on last week’s episode of the Powderkeg Podcast, which you can check out here if you missed it.

Even though Rise of the Rest Indy is over, the founders who pitched at the event can still provide invaluable lessons and examples for fellow entrepreneurs to follow. In this second part of our RotR Roundtable, which was recorded two weeks ago, I speak with leaders from the final five companies that pitched on stage last Thursday.

Our conversation touches briefly on the innovative work these company are doing in their respective spaces before diving deeper and exploring the inspiration behind each one. The real meat of the discussion centers on some of the unexpected benefits of starting up in Indiana—a state that most people don’t traditionally associate with tech innovation—and the ways that a commitment to diversity and inclusivity have given these founders a decisive edge in their industries.

In this episode with the final five RotR founders, you’ll learn:

  • The innovative work each company is doing in its space
  • What inspired each founder to start their business
  • How Indiana’s tech ecosystems and universities have given these startups an edge
  • The critical roles diversity and inclusivity have played for their companies
  • How they like to prepare for an important pitch

Please enjoy this conversation with the second five of RotR finalists!

If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. You can also follow us on Soundcloud or Stitcher. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Tuesday here on the Powderkeg Podcast.

Quotes from This Episode of Powderkeg:

“At the end of the day, we all want to see each other succeed.” — @despiross on @PowderkegCo 

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“I think what we have going for us is just how competitive but supportive the technology community is here.” — @amanbrar on @PowderkegCo

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“Central Indiana is awesome when it comes to engineers.” — @laughgoelectric on @PowderkegCo

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“We want to put Indiana on the map as the all-natural soap capital of the world.” — Mohammed A. Mahdi on @PowderkegCo

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“Over the next few years, I think we’ll start to see more and more support for Indy scale-up businesses.” — @myCOItracking on @PowderkegCo

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Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Companies and Organizations:


Soapy Soap Company

Go Electric



Rise of the Rest

Edge Media Studios

Site Strategics




Bloomington Economic Development Corporation


Studio Science





Startup Ladies

Indy Women in Tech


Angie’s List

Venture Capital Firms:


High Alpha

Startup Accelerators:


Coworking and Office Spaces:

Flagship Enterprise Center

Cowork Btown



Disrupt Indy



Purdue University

University of Notre Dame

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Indiana University

Ivy Tech Community College

Anderson University


The New New Thing Podcast

Powderkeg Podcast #46 with Aman Brar and Mike Reynolds

Powderkeg Podcast #47: Rise of the Rest Part 1


Despi Ross (@despiross)

Mohammed A. Mahdi

Lisa Laughner (@laughgoelectric)

Aman Brar (@amandbrar)

Kristen Nunery (@myCOItracking)

Steve Case (@SteveCase)

R.J. Talyor (@rjtalyor)

Kristian Andersen (@kristianindy)

Kristen Cooper (@KristenCooper23)


What stood out most to you about what these entrepreneurs share in this podcast?

For me, it’s the critical roles diversity and inclusivity have played for their companies.

You? Leave a comment below.


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