New (Ind)Venture collaboration features three local VC events

A trio of separate but related back-to-back events in Indianapolis next week will bring Hoosier startups into contact with investors from around Indiana and beyond.

The series of events Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, collectively called (Ind)Venture, includes a venture capital summit, a pitch contest and a networking event for founders and investors. (Ind)Venture represents a new partnership between four local organizations: the Venture Club of Indiana, 50 South Capital, Elevate Ventures and TechPoint.

“It’s all about networking. It’s all about who you know and then circling all these entrepreneurs to help them grow their business,” said Sandy Wilcox, a Venture Club board member.

None of the three events is new, but previously they had mostly existed as separate standalone events. (The Venture Club’s pitch contest, the Innovation Showcase, was held in connection with 50 South Capital’s Next Level Fund Annual Summit in 2019, but the parties were unable to collaborate for the past two years because of the pandemic.)

This year, the entities decided that by teaming up, they could gain more traction and do a better job of showcasing Indiana and its startups to the investment community.

The idea to include TechPoint’s VC Speed Dating event came from TechPoint CEO Ting Gootee, who previously served as Elevate Ventures’ chief investment officer and who also serves as a Venture Club board member.

“Post-pandemic, the importance of collaboration becomes even more paramount to promote more connectivity amongst organizations, communities and stakeholders and to showcase the best that Indiana has to offer,” Gootee said in an email.

Some details on each event:

Fifty South Capital, which administers the state of Indiana’s startup investment fund, the Next Level Fund, will host the fund’s annual summit from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 31 on the corporate campus of The Heritage Group in northwest Indianapolis. This event includes a keynote address by Gov. Eric Holcomb, plus programming featuring a range of funders and founders.

Admission to the Next Level Fund Summit is free, though advance registration is required.

The Venture Club’s Innovation Showcase takes place from 11:15 a.m. to 6 p.m., also at The Heritage Group. It features pitches from 21 selected Indiana-based startups, each of which has already successfully attracted funding.

“These are companies that are not “back-of-the-napkin”—they’ve already garnered some investment,” Wilcox said.

Based on these pitches, three companies will receive a total of $20,000 in prize money—$10,000 for the top winner, and $6,000 and $4,000 for the second- and third-place contestants.

The Innovation Showcase also includes a lunch and expo, plus talks from Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers as well as investors, entrepreneurs and tech executives.

Innovation Showcase tickets are $100 for Venture Club members and $150 for nonmembers, and can be purchased at the door or online.

On Sept. 1, TechPoint will host a breakfast for the (Ind)Venture startups and investors at the Biltwell Event Center downtown, followed by an invitation-only VC Speed Dating networking event.

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