State's latest startup: Startup Indiana

April 20, 2012
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Indianapolis’ startup community has emerged from the coffee shop and exploded into the mainstream, proving the American dream is alive and well despite our recent economic nightmares.

Case(s) in point: Networking group Verge draws hundreds of young tech entrepreneurs to monthly meetings where they exchange business cards and ideas. The 5,750-square-foot Speak Easy venue—billed as a “Moose Lodge for geeks”—serves as a gathering space for the in crowd. And business-ownership classes offered in community centers around the city are attracting more participants than ever before.

Now entrepreneurs have another tool at their disposal. On April 25, local organizers will launch Startup Indiana, a regional affiliate of the Startup America Partnership.

The national initiative aims to “dramatically increase the development, prevalence and success of innovative, high-growth U.S. firms,” White House officials said in announcing the project in January 2011.

Startup America is led by Scott Case, founding chief technology officer of Priceline.com. The partnership brings together entrepreneurs, funders and other leaders to help promising startups succeed.

Business owners apply for membership and then gain access to an array of resources, including more than $1 billion in funding and services donated by national partners like Intel Capital and IBM.

“It’s a national voice for the startup community,” said Matt Hunckler, president of Verge and the chief organizer of Startup Indiana.

The regional offshoots—Indiana will be the 20th after Kentucky launches Friday—serve the same purpose on a local level, nurturing startups and uniting the state’s entrepreneurial community.

The state already has plenty of success stories to emulate, Hunckler said, citing newly public tech firm ExactTarget and consumer ratings agency Angie’s List. But obstacles nevertheless remain, and he wants Startup Indiana to help entrepreneurs navigate them.

“What are the biggest pain points?” he said. “I have some ideas, but we need to map the startup landscape and figure out what the main issues are. From there, I hope our team will be able to find solutions.”

Although Verge focuses on tech startups, Hunckler said Startup America is more inclusive, targeting “any small business that has potential to be a big business.”

Finding funding and talent can be challenges in all kinds of businesses, and Hunckler said Startup Indiana’s ties to the national initiative will provide a deeper pool of resources for local entrepreneurs.

The connection to other startup regions also could give organizers a feel for the issues other communities are facing—and how they’re resolving them. Such “coop-etition,” as Hunckler calls the friendly rivalry, provides valuable insight.

“Ultimately, we want our community to be the nation’s premier startup community,” he said.

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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