2015 TOP STORIES: Tech companies scoop up tens of millions in funding

Venture capital investments in Indiana companies surged in 2015, suggesting local and out-of-state investors were increasingly interested in high-growth outfits here.

Through the end of the third quarter, Indiana firms landed $49 million in venture capital, according to The MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. That’s just a hair under the figure for all of 2014, and Hoosier companies notched more VC deals in the fourth quarter.

kopp-tim-mug Kopp

“The flywheel is really turning now,” said Tim Kopp, who heads the Indianapolis office of Hyde Park Venture Partners.

IT-infrastructure firm Scale Computing raised $18 million in July, and digital marketing company SmarterHQ announced an $8 million raise that month, too. In October, health care software firm HC1.com raised $13 million, and sales software upstart TinderBox closed a $7 million round.

For context, the two biggest deals in 2014 were for $10 million (Precision Hawk USA Inc.) and $7 million (SmarterHQ). Venture capitalists poured $23 million into Indiana companies in 2013.

Zionsville-based MOBI Wireless, whose software helps manage companies’ cell phones and tablets, landed the biggest outside infusion so far this year, securing $35 million from New York-based Bregal Sagemount.

The MOBI deal was not included on the MoneyTree list, a spokeswoman said, because surveyors viewed it as “more akin to a minority buyout than a venture capital investment.”

MOBI CEO Scott Kraege said the investment, which is being used to fuel global expansion efforts, “was a private equity deal for a minority stake in our company—not sure how else to describe it and feel it should be included in [IBJ’s] tally.”

Venture capital made its way into the local tech ecosystem in other ways not tracked by MoneyTree. For instance, Indianapolis-based venture studio High Alpha secured $35 million in May, and it has already begun reinvesting that money in local tech startups.
 

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