Launch Indy director steps down to open local office for Chicago VC firm

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Chicago-based venture capital firm M25 on Tuesday announced the opening of an Indianapolis office and the hiring of Launch Indy Executive Director Katie Birge to open the office.

Birge, who has been executive director of Launch Indy since its founding in June 2017, stepped down from her position at the entrepreneurship center and coworking space in downtown Indianapolis last week and handed the reins to beLithe LLC Creative Services Manager Drew Kincius.

Katie Birge
Katie Birge

Birge will take the title of associate, head of platform at M25, becoming the firm’s sixth full-time employee. She will be in charge of setting up the new Indianapolis office, which she said will be located downtown.

Before joining launch Indy, Birge was a marketing strategist at Bloomington-based software firm Envisage Technologies LLC and spent nearly five years as director of the Bloomington Technology Partnership.

“Given our expansive Indiana-based portfolio, the rapidly-growing startup environment and our strong personal connections to the state, it became obvious we would need a permanent presence in Indy,” M25 founder and Managing Partner Victor Gutwein said in written comments.

Birge is co-organizer of several startup events in the central Indiana region, including the Combine technology conference and Hoosier Women in Tech. She was named the Community Champion of the Year at Techpoint’s 2019 Mira Awards.

“Katie was at the top of our list in every criteria,” M25 partner Mike Asem said in a statement. “Already well-known across the Indiana tech ecosystem, she has a strong resume working with startups and founders, is truly known as a builder of communities, and will excel at launching our Indy office.”

In addition to supporting the Chicago office in identifying investment opportunities, Birge will work directly with companies in M25’s portfolio to grow regional events throughout the Midwest.

M25, founded in 2015, has invested in 90 early-stage tech companies in more than 24 cities in 11 Midwest states, according to company officials.

The firm has invested in 10 Indiana-based companies to date, including Pactsafe, Elate, Realync, Costello (acquired by Salesloft in November 2019) and Mimir (acquired by HackerRank in December 2019).

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