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Heavyweight venture capitalists headed to local TechPoint event

August 31, 2018

Forty venture capitalists from 12 states will descend on Indianapolis Sept. 12-13 to network and hear pitches from some of the region’s most promising young tech companies.

This is the fourth year for the TechPoint VC Speed Dating event, which was originally called Winner’s Circle. Besides its new name, the event has some new twists this year.

The first two years the event was held independently and last year it was part of the INX3 conference, which also included the Venture Club’s Innovation Showcase. 

TechPoint officials decided that this year’s event would again be on its own.

INX3 officials announced earlier this summer they would not be having their event—which was scheduled for Sept. 18-19. The Venture Club of Indiana is working to reschedule its innovation showcase.

This year TechPoint is holding its VC Speed Dating event in conjunction with another newly branded event, Scale-Up Summit. 

TechPoint, a state tech advocacy group, started quarterly scale-up leadership events in 2016 with the launch of TechPoint’s Tailwind program. TechPoint ran those events for two years, and this year combined them into one event—Scale-Up Summit—which will happen on the same day as VC Speed Dating. Speed Dating will be held in the morning and the summit in the afternoon of Sept. 13.

“We found that what these [local tech] companies needed most are capital and camaraderie and community,” said TechPoint CEO Mike Langellier. “We thought if we could bring these two event together and provide both of those things at the same time, all the better.”

The Scale-Up Summit will feature various educational sessions, networking opportunities, and one-on-one, peer-to-peer meet-ups aimed at equipping scale-up company leaders with the intel and inspiration they need to grow their firms.

Venture capitalists participating in TechPoint’s VC Speed Dating will come to Indianapolis Sept. 12 for a private social event at the Salesforce Tower that evening. Of the 39 venture capitalists coming to TechPoint’s VC Speed Dating, 16 are new to the event. Last year, 35 venture capitalists participated.

On the morning of Sept. 13, the venture capitalists will gather with 40 tech companies—including Costello, DemandJump, Snapshyft, Upper Hand and WorkHere—at the Biltwell Event Center on the city’s near southwest side. 

The investment groups are no lightweights. “These venture capital firms represent billions of dollars,” Langellier said. They include Boston-based Battery Ventures, San Francisco-based Decathlon Capital, New York-based Warburg Pincus and Steve Case’s Washington D.C.-based Revolution.

The participating investment groups and tech companies are “hand-picked,” Langellier said.

After a networking period to kick-off the VC Speed Dating event, investors will be given one minute each to introduce themselves followed by one-minute speed pitches from the participating companies.

Following that, the venture capitalists will set up at tables and the participating companies will receive the opportunity to make 18-minute pitches to various venture firms. The presentations will be in rapid-fire succession with two minutes in between. 

Beforehand, TechPoint will gather detailed information from the participating venture capitalists and companies and play the matchmaker role, designating which companies will meet with which investors. On average, each company will give their pitch to five to eight venture capital groups, many of which already have relationships with TechPoint.

“We want to be sure this is efficient and intentional,” Langellier said.

TechPoint officials noted that several high-profile deals have been made as a result of its previous speed dating events, including Sigstr’s deal with Michigan-based Grand Venture, Canvas’ deal with Innovate Indiana Fund in 2017, and Kinney Group’s deal with Michigan-based Plymouth Growth Partners in 2016.

The speed dating event has drawn sponsorships from Ice Miller, BKD, Elevate Ventures and Human Capital Concepts.

The Scale-up Summit, which is sponsored by Faegre Baker Daniels, convenes in the afternoon and goes into the early evening of Sept. 13 at the Biltwell.

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