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. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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