IBJNews

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."
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
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
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

ADVERTISEMENT