Experience the Entrepreneurial Energy at Innovation Showcase

innovIndiana has a growing number of events that connect entrepreneurs with resources. One of the biggest is the Innovation Showcase, returning for year seven this summer.

The lead of the conference web site says it all: “A conference where fundable companies connect with capital sources and attendees connect with the entrepreneurial energy in Indiana.”

More than 1,000 innovators, entrepreneurs and investors are expected to attend the event (July 8-9 at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway), where more than 70 high-potential enterprises will exhibit and pitch to investors. Companies interested in exhibiting at the Innovation Showcase must submit their applications by midnight on May 18.

During the two days, participating entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their start-up, competing for prizes of cash and services that last year totaled over $120,000. Educational sessions will provide programming for investors as well as entrepreneurs. Investor and entrepreneur panels will discuss key milestones, barriers and techniques for survival and prosperity.

This year’s scope will include not only the early stage entrepreneur and investor, but also a component on growth ventures and funding.

Launch Fishers, the Venture Club, Verge and VisionTech Partners are the coordinating organizations.

“Economic growth, wealth, and jobs are created by second stage growth ventures — those that are scaling rapidly and gaining national traction,” says Todd Saxton, president of the Venture Club of Indiana and associate professor at IU Kelley School of Business. “The Showcase is not just about startups, which are a strong and growing component of our ecosystem, but also the next Exact Targets and Interactive Intelligences — companies that really put Indiana on the map with investors and customers nationally and internationally.”

Past participants who have experienced remarkable growth after exhibiting include: Scale Computing, myCOI, Indigo Biosystems, BlueLock, Bluebridge Digital, Precise Path Robotics, Book A Coach, Curvo Labs and many others.

Full details and registration are available online.

VIDEO: Zappos CEO Speaks with Verge About Community Building

Our friends at Verge caught up with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh in Las Vegas to discuss a project underway to revitalize its downtown. The effort illustrates how start-ups are now playing a major role in changing the landscape and culture in American cities.

Visit www.downtownproject.com to learn more.

Hoosier Entrepreneurs Earn Invitation to White House as Startup Climate Warms

Indiana's strong business climate and favorable cost of living is making the Hoosier state a popular place for startup businesses. As this blog and BizVoice feature about DeveloperTown convey, Silicon Valley doesn't have much on the budding ideas and energy emanating from the heartland — especially in Central Indiana. Tuesday, five Indiana entrepreneurs are meeting with White House staff in Washington, D.C. about how to make Indiana's startup climate even better. Below is an excerpt from a press release, as well as background on Indiana's representatives as written by Kevin Hitchen of Localstake.

Startup leaders from across the country will convene in Washington, D.C. on February 5th to meet with administration officials to discuss the importance of fostering vibrant startup communities throughout the U.S. These Startup America Region Champions will also unveil their regions’ plans to push their startup ecosystems to the next level. Representatives from the Small Business Administration, Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Commerce will take part in the meeting. 
 
Participating regions include: Startup Arizona, Startup Colorado, Startup DC, Startup Indiana, Startup Iowa, Startup Maryland, Startup North Carolina, Startup Nebraska, Startup Tennessee, Startup Texas and Startup Virginia. This meeting will be preceded by the Kauffman Foundation’s State of Entrepreneurship luncheon and followed by a reception hosted by Startup DC at the brand new D.C. startup hub 1776.

Indiana's representation includes:

  • Michael Coffey, who raised $2.5 in 60 days in 2010 and started a niche marketing company, moved from Napa Valley to Indianapolis because he is so impressed with Indiana's startup scene. In 2012, he became partner at DeveloperTown.
  • Kevin Hitchen is one of the founders of Localstake, a new investment marketplace that allows individuals to invest in local private businesses.  Localstake recently registered as a broker-dealer with the SEC and FINRA, so it can offer private business investing before the JOBS Act is implemented.
  • Matt Hunckler is the founder of Verge, a 2,000-member platform for software entrepreneurs in the Midwest. He leads startup efforts at Social Reactor, a premium social engagement platform based in Carmel.
  • Michael Langellier is the new CEO of TechPoint, Indiana’s technology growth initiative. He cofounded MyJibe, which he sold to MoneyDesktop in November 2011.
  • Dustin Sapp is president and co-founder of TinderBox, the third company he has helped start in Indianapolis. He has been recognized locally and regionally for efforts in entrepreneurship.