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Hunckler steps down as head of startup group Verge

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Local entrepreneurship initiative Verge will swap leaders, organization founder Matt Hunckler said Thursday.

Hunckler, 26, and a group of friends started Hackers and Founders in 2009 as a way for young technology careerists to meet casually and talk business over sandwiches and beer.

The group, which rebranded itself as Verge in 2011, has grown to almost 2,000 members, with monthly gatherings that typically draw hundreds. The organization also orchestrates smaller meetups, as well as larger affairs, such as this week's Innovation Showcase and the Powder Keg conference in October.

Leading Verge as executive director became a full-time job for Hunckler.

However, earlier this year he went to work for tech entrepreneur Scott Jones by spearheading Social Reactor, a social media startup within Jones’ question-and-answer service ChaCha Search Inc.

Hunckler told IBJ on Thursday he needed more time to dedicate himself to his latest project.

“Last year I was working on Verge full time, so I was going 50- to 80-hour weeks,” he said.

He will hand the reins to Alec Synnestvedt, 24, who is product marketing manager for parking software developer T2 Systems Inc.

Synnestvedt wants to maintain existing programs and events while determining what else to add.

Recruiting new cities could also be on the to-do list. Verge has hubs in Indianapolis, Bloomington and West Lafayette, with a fourth beginning this fall in Terra Haute. Synnestvedt and Hunckler both said they would like to see more members, including from out of state.

“I want to bring that value to more entrepreneurs. That requires a lot,” Synnestvedt said. “My goal is to spend all the time I can in, kind of, perfecting the Verge model and bringing those values to a wider audience.”

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