#IBJtech — April 14, 2017

April 14, 2017

Music-marketing startup catches ear of customers, investors
It's really, really hard for marketers to get people's attention on mobile devices, let alone compel them to spend. Consumers these days are inundated with emails, social media ads, pop-up videos, push notifications and more, and it often takes luck and precise timing to squeeze a dollar out of people. Last year, high-end car wash chain executive Brent Oakley was determined to find a way to cut through the noise, so he figured he'd abandon the phone screen and go after customers’ ears. The concept became the foundation for music-marketing company Fuzic, which has won more than 100 clients and has the backing of former Salesforce executive Scott McCorkle. More


>TechPoint CEO Mike Langellier put on his tech advocacy hat this week, penning a piece on where state legislators need to act in the waning days of the 2017 General Assembly session to improve the state's entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. He said there are four main objectives: creating the $250 million Next Level Fund; making the state's venture capital tax credit transferable; maintaining the $30 million annual appropriation to the 21 Fund; and incentivizing more direct airline flights. "If we accomplish one thing together this legislative session it should be passage of the Next Level Fund," he wrote. The fund would target mature, high-growth companies seeking later-stage capital. Mark Lawrance, the vice president of engagement and innovation policy at the Indiana Chamber, said there's been a robust level of conversation with legislators on those items, but it's tough to gauge where each will land in the final budget bill at the end of next week. "I do think they want to give the governor a win," he said about Gov. Eric Holcomb's push for the Next Level Fund. "The amounts may differ, but I do think they want [that]."

>TechPoint this week named Plymouth Ventures as its 2017 Investor of the Year, an award that will be bestowed to the Michigan-based venture firm at TechPoint's Mira Awards April 29. Plymouth has invested more than $10 million in Indiana tech companies, including $5.75 million in 2016. Last year’s Indiana funding went to ClearObject and Kinney Group.

>Broad Ripple-based tech-product marketing agency InnovateMap recently moved. The 14-person company had been in about 1,500 square feet at 6340 Westfield Blvd. but now occupies 3,000 square feet in an office several blocks southwest at 6053 N. College Ave. The 3-year-old company, led by Aprimo alumnus Mike Reynolds, started out in the Speak Easy Broad Ripple before setting up shop on Westfield Boulevard in the summer of 2015.

>Indiana University received a $255,000 grant for a pilot program aimed at assisting women and minority entrepreneurs. The program is called "AWARE:ACCESS: Building Innovation Capacity through Diversity," the school said.

>Software subscription-management company Zylo said it's now integrated into Slack, allowing companies to survey software users right in an app where they already spend a lot of time.

>ICYMI: IT consulting firm Gadellnet eyes 30 new jobs in Carmel; Indiana sees few big VC deals in Q1; Indy Chamber launches 1 Million Cups in Indy; email-software firm 250ok plans to add 53 jobs; and tech-services firm Brookfield is investing $7M, adding up to 31 jobs.


Government Technology caught wind of Indianapolis' municipal effort to overhaul how it engages with residents digitally, an initiative called "Shift Indy."


For all the talk about the Midwest needing to embrace failure a la Silicon Valley, Ohio-based Drive Capital's Robert Hatta thinks otherwise. In a Venture Beat column, he argues that the Midwest's fear of failure isn't holding it back, but that it's a "highly effective filter that ensures only those who are committed get through." (Bonus: the Midwest needs to stop trying to be like Silicon Valley, another Venture Beat columnist opined.)

Tech has fueled innovation in a number of industries over the past several years, from ground transportation to music. But for the airline industry, a New York Times columnist notes, tech has fueled its race to the bottom.

Food-delivery startups in San Francisco are testing sending meals via sidewalk-bound robots, The Wall Street Journal reported. And, at least for the time being, they're accompanied by "robot babysitters."


Startup Study Hall featuring Sticksnleaves co-founder Yaw Aning
Presented by The Startup Ladies
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., April 19, Elevate Ventures Inc., 50 East 91st St., Suite 213, Indianapolis
Cost: free



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