2023 Newsmaker: Day organizes 3-day Rally innovation event

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Christopher day, Elevate Ventures leader (Photo courtesy of Elevate Ventures)

Since he was tapped in 2022 to lead Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures, Christopher Day has used his experience as an entrepreneur and investor to help the firm expand its growth investing.

The not-for-profit serves as a venture capital firm of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the state’s public-private job-creation agency. Elevate Ventures’ growth investing generally focuses on what’s known as Series B funding—investments that range from about $10 million to $30 million in companies with $5 million to $10 million in annual revenue.

In March, Elevate launched Rally, a three-day innovation conference that brought together hundreds of companies, entrepreneurs, universities and investors from a range of industries. The event also included a pitch competition with $5 million in prizes and featured big-name speakers like former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, businessman and former NBA star Magic Johnson, and ESPN host Victoria Arlen.

A focal point for the conference was what Day called “creative collisions,” or the bringing together of a wide range of people from inside and outside the state to nurture innovation. Indiana has strong national rankings in areas like infrastructure, cost of living, low regulatory burdens and other elements that create ideal conditions for entrepreneurship, Day said, but outsiders often don’t know this.

Rally replaced a previous Elevate Ventures event, Kinetic, that launched in 2018. Kinetic typically drew several hundred attendees—but Day has a much bigger vision for Rally, which he hopes will draw as many as 100,000 people over the first five conferences. About 3,500 people attended the 2023 inaugural conference.

Day has co-founded eight businesses and has experience in sectors that include artificial intelligence, broadband, SaaS, entertainment, investment banking and real estate. Before joining Elevate, he served as CEO of Indianapolis-based DemandJump, a marketing-tech firm he co-founded in 2015.•

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