Showcase highlights local businesses, Indy tech scene

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) — Hundreds of people will be in Speedway Thursday for a chance to see Indiana’s most innovative businesses and startups.

The Innovation Showcase is at the Dallara Indycar Factory Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Investors, entrepreneurs and even curious tech-lovers will fill the building.

The event is a chance for local businesses to share their stories, show off what they do and win over investors.

24-Hour News 8 caught up with one of the companies pitching to investors at the Innovation Showcase, called Y!kes. Y!kes aims to make travel easier. With its app, users can skip the hotel check-in line. Users won’t need a room key. Bluetooth technology notifies the hotel when the guest is on the property. The guest can then go to the room and walk inside. Through Bluetooth technology, the smartphone will unlock the door as soon as the guest touches it.

Y!kes said it is in one hotel in Indiana, two in Michigan and one in New York, but the company has bigger plans.

“There’s a lot of different things we have on our strategy road map, from transportation, whether it be airlines — all sorts of things that we can do better for people in our lives,” said Ben Robertson, Y!kes founder and CEO.

The Innovation Showcase is an opportunity for companies to not only pitch to investors and hear leaders in the local tech industry speak, but there are also prizes up for grabs. Investors will vote, and the winner will receive $72,000 in cash and services for their company.

Robertson said he’s excited about the potential investors and prizes, but building relationships in Indy’s growing tech scene will be even more valuable.

“It’s really the connections and the community that I’m excited about. Exact Target and great success stories of Indianapolis — we want to be a part of that. And we realize that we need community to actually make that dream come true. The prize money is great, but the big thing is the actual relationships that we’ll be able to garner through our interaction there [at the Innovation Showcase],” said Robertson.

This event has gotten bigger every year since it started in 2009, and it has already outgrown two other venues.

Tickets are $150 at the door. To learn more click here.

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