Angels Prove to be More Selective in 2015

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The angel investor market in 2015 had a slight increase in investment dollars and in deal size according to a new report from the Center for Venture Research (CVR) at the University of New Hampshire.

The State Science & Technology Institute provides the following analysis:

In The Angel Investor Market in 2015: A Buyers Market, CVR reports that total angel investments in 2015 were $24.6 billion – an increase of 1.9% over 2014. CVR also reported that the total number of entrepreneurial ventures that received angel funding in 2015 declined by 3.1% from 2014 – in total 71,110 start-ups received funding. The result of these two trends was larger deal sizes for 2015 – an increase of 5.1% from 2014. CVR concluded that these findings, combined with yield rates and valuations data, indicate that angels were selective in their investment behavior in 2015.

While CVR contends that the angel market was robust in 2015 – approximately $24.6 billion in investments – they also believe that the selectivity of angels and decrease in valuations over the last three years indicates a continuing market correction in valuations. Other findings include:

  • Software maintained its top sector position with 18% of total angel investments in 2015
  • Other key industries include Healthcare Services/Medical Devices and Equipment (16%), Biotech (13%), Industrial/Energy (11%), Retail (10.6%), and Media (9%)
  • Angel investments contributed to the creation of 270,2000 new jobs in the U.S. – 3.8 jobs per angel investment
  • The average angel deal size was $345,390
  • The average equity received was 14.89% with a deal valuation of $2.3 million
  • Angel investment in the seed and start-up stage (28% of deals) was largely unchanged from 2014 (25% of deals)
  • Fort-five percent of all angel deals were early stage investments (46% in 2014)
  • Expansion and late stage investments also remained consistent with regard to percentage of total deals

Interested in the health of Indiana’s tech community? Get involved in the new Indiana Technology and Innovation Council. First open discussion is August 9! Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com to learn more. 

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Jasper’s Matrix Integration Earns National Recognition

Matrix-Integration-logoMatrix Integration, an Indiana Chamber member based in Jasper, illustrates just some of the tech innovation found throughout the state. Today, the company celebrates five national awards. (And if you’re interested in enhancing the tech climate and are affiliated with an Indiana tech company, consider participating in the Indiana Technology & Innovation Council. The first open discussion is August 9.)

A press release has more on Matrix Integration:

Matrix Integration LLC, expert technology advisors based in Jasper, Indiana with locations in Fishers, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky, wins multiple national awards including making the Diversity Business Top Business for 2016, the Top 30 Women of the Channel List from CRN- a leading magazine in the business-to-business computer industry – and Matrix was also named to CRN’s Tech Elite 250, the Elite 150 of CRN’s 2016 Managed Service Provider 500 (MSP500) list, and Solution Provider 500 (SP500) list.

“It is always a huge honor that we’ve won several of these awards year over year,” said Brenda Stallings, co-founder and CEO of Matrix Integration. “We pride ourselves on our highly trained, innovative workforce that builds lasting relationships, while we design and implement technology solutions that give our customers an edge, and the industry has recognized that.”

The awards recognize various aspects of Matrix Integration’s business.

  • As one of Diversity Business “Top Business for 2016” Matrix Integration represents a growing class of innovators and visionaries that continue to go beyond expectations in producing products and services that transform the way we live. Contributions also have created an important cycle of reinvigorating the nation’s and global economic vitality. www.diversitybusiness.com.
  • CRN’s 2016 Women of the Channel list honors 340 female executives who are making their mark in the technology industry with Matrix Integration’s co-founder and CEO, Brenda Stallings, ranking in the Top 30 List.
  • Companies on the CRN 2016 Tech Elite 250 list represent an elite group of North American IT solution providers that have invested in the training and education needed to earn the most advanced technical certifications in the IT Channel for data center or cloud.
  • The Elite 150 of CRN’s 2016 Managed Service Provider 500 (MSP500) list. The MSP500 is an annual list which recognizes the top technology providers and consultants in North America whose cutting-edge approach to managed services puts end-user customers in the best position to improve efficiencies, cut costs and speed time to market for their own products and services.
  • Awarded by The Channel Company and CRN for placing #294 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500 (SP500) list. CRN’s staple SP500 list recognizes the top channel partners in North America each year since 1995. This acclaimed annual ranking is an industry-recognized guide to the most accomplished partners in the channel.

Seeking Government Answers

If you are not receiving timely responses from written queries to the federal government, join the crowd. Washington is not known for being nimble, but agencies respond differently according to the Center for Effective Government. Here’s a brief breakdown:

  • Especially slow: Department of Veterans Affairs, State Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • High marks: Agriculture Department and Social Security Administration
    Congress will try to move the biggest offenders, but Kiplinger reminds that “the bureaucracy, after all, is still the bureaucracy. Making agencies more responsive is sure to take time.”

Tech Thursday: Don’t Worry; Just Be Successful

EDITOR’S NOTE: BizVoice® has featured technology/innovation stories throughout its 18-year history. Look for these flashbacks each Thursday. Here is a 2015 favorite.

Max Yoder talks – a lot. He is the first to admit that. But the 27-year-old CEO of Lesson.ly (the 2015 Mira Award winner as Tech Startup of the Year) has a great deal to say. And many people are paying very close attention to his words.

In the first five minutes of a 55-minute conversation, Yoder says he is a worrier. When asked to explain that seeming contradiction with leading an entrepreneurial venture, he clarifies:

“When I say I’m a worrier, that doesn’t necessarily mean I worry about everything. I don’t worry about my abilities. I often worry about things I can’t control; there are a lot of them,” he shares.

Read the full story online.

And learn more about the Indiana Chamber’s new Technology and Innovation Council. Want to participate? Contact Mark Lawrance at mlawrance(at)indianachamber.com and look for the #TIC4TECH hashtag.

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Global Woes Could Haunt U.S.

GKiplinger projects 2% economic growth for the United States in 2016. While not outstanding, there could be a sudden shift in the other direction if trouble occurs elsewhere. These are identified as the countries worth watching:

  • Venezuela: “Its economy is near collapse, as is its political system. If its oil flow stops, even for a short time, global prices will spike, putting pressure on major industrialized nations that need imports (including the U.S.) and likely shaking the confidence of investors.”
  • Brazil: “South America’s largest economy is in the second year of recession, its government is in disarray and its burgeoning middle class is being squeezed. A full meltdown isn’t likely but a less-than-spectacular Olympics and the spread of the Zika virus could unnerve trading partners and investors.”
  • Saudi Arabia: “Like others, the Saudis were stung by falling oil prices. But the big unknown is how the ruling family will respond if Washington decides that the kingdom can be held legally liable for the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. One possible Saudi response: Selling off as much as $750 billion in U.S. Treasuries and other assets as a form of political retribution.”
  • China: “Slowing growth there causes ripples in everybody’s pond, threatening to slim trade in Europe, Asia and the Americas. China won’t be derailed, but its stumbles will keep global expansion muted.”

Don’t Burn Those Bridges

9990321It’s not uncommon for employees to return to a previous employer at some point in their career. It’s sometimes referred to as a boomerang effect. We’ve seen and benefited from more than a few of those occurrences at the Indiana Chamber.

But even more typical is former employers being asked for references about your job performance. Allison & Taylor, which refers to itself as the nation’s oldest professional reference checking firm, offers the following 5 Golden Rules of Job Reference Etiquette:

  1. Call your former bosses and ask them if they are willing to be good job references for you. Be sure to thank them for supporting you in your job search if they agree.
  2. Let them know each and every time you give out their name and email address.
  3. Keep your former positive references informed of your experiences in climbing the corporate ladder and your educational progress. Provide them with career updates. He/she will be more inclined to see you in a stronger light as you progress.
  4. Remember that spending time with a potential employer takes valuable time out of your former bosses’ day, so try to give something back. For instance, after receiving a good job reference, write a personal thank-you letter or (at a minimum) send an email. Better still, send a thank-you note with a gift card, or offer to take your former boss to lunch/dinner.
  5. If you win the new position, call or email your former boss and thank them again for the positive references. At the same time, you can provide your new professional contact information.

Making the Most of the Middle

Business direction background with two people

The Indiana Chamber Foundation conducted research on Indiana middle-market firms nearly a decade ago and initiated programming efforts (that continue today) to help grow those companies.

Now, American Express and Dun & Bradstreet offer the Middle Market Power Index.

The latest report rates Indiana fourth for growth in the number of middle market firms – defined as between $10 million and $1 billion in annual revenues) from 2011 to 2016. The current 3,916 firms in this category constitute an increase of more than 101% from five years earlier.

While small businesses (less than $10 million in revenues in this case) comprise more than 98% of all businesses, Indiana is one of 10 states – in a somewhat Midwest-dominated category – in which middle market firms comprise a greater than average share of companies. The numbers: Illinois and Wisconsin, 1.5% share; Michigan and New Jersey, 1.3%; Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, North Dakota, New York and Ohio, 1.2% each.

Maybe part of the explanation for the above is that middle market firms are much more likely to be found in manufacturing (18%) and wholesale trade (17%).

Just as the Chamber found previously, these firms makes an outstanding economic contribution. While comprising just less than 1% of all businesses, they employ more than one in four workers (27%) in the private sector and contribute 26% of revenues.

BizVoice: A Focus on Construction

What makes the construction industry special? Brad Skillman of The Skillman Corporation (Indianapolis) responds.

Skilled workers, technology changes, signature projects and more are in the spotlight as industry leaders discuss construction today and tomorrow.

Read the full BizVoice story now (which includes a QR code link to more video).

ChamberCare Solutions Program Provides Health Care Answers

More than six years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, it’s still not an easy process for companies to determine the best health care choices. Important assistance and options are now available through the ChamberCare Solutions program.

The Indiana Chamber has partnered with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield since 2004 on ChamberCare – an insurance discount offering for businesses with between two and 99 employees. More than 25,000 employee lives (and 50,000 lives when spouses and dependents are included) were covered through ChamberCare.

Now, ChamberCare Solutions takes that partnership to an even higher level with a suite of solutions to help meet insurance needs.

“The Indiana Chamber-Anthem partnership has been an excellent one for our member companies, as well as their employees and families,” says Jennifer Elkin, Chamber senior vice president of marketing. “There have been more questions than answers since the Affordable Care Act was signed. We’ve been listening, discussing and searching for the right tools and products – and we’ve found them in this evolution to ChamberCare Solutions.”

The ChamberCare Solutions options include:

  • ChamberCare Savings: This is the previous ChamberCare discount program – now available for companies with between 51 and 99 employees. This was made possible by the late 2015 signing of the PACE Act (Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees), which returned the definition of a small business back to one with fewer than 100 employees.
  • ChamberCare Exchange: For companies with fewer than 50 employees and a potentially unhealthy, higher-risk population, the exchange might be the best alternative. Important guidance and navigation is available through Anthem.
  • ChamberCare Business Resources or a PEO (Professional Employer Organization): This is an attractive option (available July 1) for companies that, in addition to a competitive health care product, are looking to outsource some of their human resources functions. The multiple employers in the PEO allow the advantage of using a company’s experience rating compared to the generally more volatile community rating.

The Indiana Chamber and Anthem are teaming with Indianapolis-based Human Capital Concepts (HCC) on the PEO. Harlan Schafir, CEO of HCC, started the state’s first PEO in the early 1990s; he and his team have more than 125 years of experience in the industry.

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented talent war,” Schafir explains. “A PEO allows companies to attract and retain talent by improving employee benefit offerings and helps these organizations mold an attractive culture. Working with a PEO allows companies to focus on their core mission. The PEO takes care of compliance with ever-complex laws and regulations; company leaders focus on running their business.”

  • ChamberCare Shared Savings: This is a future offering under development by Anthem. It is expected to allow for self-funding for employers with as few as 25 employees. To date, such plans have only been available for organizations with at least 100 employees.

“The Indiana Chamber has advocated and educated on health care issues for many years. We’re pleased to add this in-depth navigation benefit,” Elkin adds. “Being able to offer these choices – with more to come – will save members money and allow to further invest in their people and businesses.”

Learn more or contact Nick Luchtefeld at (800) 824-6885.