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.
“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.