Event merges forces of old, new venture-capital groups

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The third annual Innovation Showcase, taking place Tuesday afternoon near Broad Ripple, will be more than a major meet-and-greet for entrepreneurs and investors.

For the first time, the event will involve a partnership between a well-established force in the Indianapolis venture capital community and a fast-growing group that is one of its newest additions.

That collaboration—between the Venture Club of Indiana, a group founded in the mid-1980s for local investors, and Verge, a social group formed two years ago for the growing tech startup scene—carries significance that goes beyond the one-day Innovation Showcase. The meeting of old and new, coupled with the growth in this year’s showcase event, is a sign of the progress in the startup and fundraising landscape in the Indianapolis area, some local investors say.

“We’ve seen exponential growth in the sheer number of companies and investors that will be [at Innovation Showcase],” said Christopher Day, who has attended the event for the past two years and is a managing principal at Navidar Group LLC, an investment banking firm with offices in New York and Carmel. “That’s a testament to the momentum that’s happening. We’re starting to see that evolution.”

Organizers from both groups expect more than double the number of companies—from last year’s 25 to this year’s 55—and twice as many overall attendees, with 700 registered compared with about 350 a year ago.

Curt Hidde, president of the Venture Club, attributed the growth to the additional buzz generated from Verge’s involvement this year.

Verge, founded by a handful of 20-somethings in summer 2009, has a membership that has almost tripled to 1,100 since the beginning of this year. The group typically has to cap participation at its monthly events to 200 because of space available at its venue.

Innovation Showcase also will be hosted for the first time at the new headquarters for DeveloperTown LLC, at 5255 Winthrop Ave. DeveloperTown takes part cash, part equity to build Web-based software and mobile applications. Hidde said interest in seeing the company’s new site just south of Broad Ripple also helped pique excitement for the event.

The Innovation Showcase begins with a session for the participating companies to make one-minute pitches of their business plans to about 75 investors in attendance. After that, the event will open up to others in the startup and venture capital community for networking. More on the event can be found here.

The goal, said Verge founder Matt Hunckler, “is to make sure people get connected with the right people.” In some cases, that could mean investors—particularly those from out of state—finding the right business in which to place their cash. But it also involves deepening existing connections between businesses, service providers and investors that could lead to deals down the road.

The participating businesses, which were whittled down from a pool of 85 applicants, hail from across the state and include ventures in life sciences and alternative energy, as well as technology.

They include those in earlier stages of fundraising, such as Indianapolis-based personal finance software company MyJibe LLC, as well as more established startups with ample capital, such as Indianapolis-based search-engine optimization firm Slingshot SEO.

Investors will include local angel investors and venture-capital firms, as well as several out-of-state firms. Organizers declined to disclose names of investors prior to the event.

Both the Venture Club, with deep roots in the investment community ranging from angels to those involved in later-stage deals, and Verge, with its pulse on the emerging tech community, helped bring those parties to the table.

The Venture Club’s lunch-time meetings focus on helping members network while offering education on topics such as how to pick venture-capital partners. Verge’s evening gatherings, which typically offer party subs and keg beer, feature startups giving pitches to the crowd that often includes prominent tech-startup investors.

Organizers of both groups say they see the first-time partnership as a potential stepping stone for future collaboration, though it’s difficult to say what that will entail.

“I think it is in a way bridging a gap,” said Hunckler, the Verge founder, “But at the same time, it’s more a joining of hands and accomplishing more than either of us could have accomplished on our own."


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.