08 Mar Hoosier hoops great Alan Henderson set to bring his new venture game back to Bloomington
Alan Henderson will bring both his Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame stature and entrepreneurial prowess back to Bloomington this spring when he joins the best and brightest Indiana University innovators and investors from the Hoosier state and beyond at the annual IU Founders & Funders Network Venture Summit.
The summit, hosted by IU Ventures, IU’s early-stage venture and angel investment arm, will be held May 18-19 at the Indiana Memorial Union. Summit attendees will have the opportunity to connect with industry experts, educational content, talent, investor partnerships, mentorships and other resources they might need to advance their high-potential business startups.
As one of the best IU basketball players of all time, Henderson dominated in nearly every facet of the game. He started as a freshman on IU’s 1992 Final Four team, led the Hoosiers in rebounding for four straight years, and finished his four-year college career in 1995 among IU’s all-time leaders in scoring, field goals made, rebounding, steals and blocked shots.
But cream-and-crimson diehards may not know that Henderson, who played 12 years in the NBA, excelled equally off the court. He graduated from IU with a bachelor’s degree in biology and was accepted to IU’s School of Medicine in 1995. He was also a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. During his NBA career, he earned a master’s degree from IU’s Kelley School of Business in 2010.
Now, Henderson is scoring as a successful entrepreneur and inventor. In 2020, he founded Henderson Spirits Group, which honors little-known African Americans who have made significant contributions to the world of fine spirits. With a mission to “Diversify the Bar,” the Indianapolis-headquartered company has already created two award-winning brands, Tom Bullock’s and Birdie Brown, which are distributed in nine states.
As part of the Venture Summit, Henderson will be part of a “Founders Panel” on May 19 that will explore a number of venture-related topics, including finding product market fit, developing a minimally viable product, fundraising, corporate governance and the importance of “failing fast.” He’ll be joined on the panel by fellow IU alums and venture leaders Erica Anderson, co-founder and CEO at The New Savant, Ravi Bhatt, co-founder and CEO of Folia, and Karen Wurster, chief executive officer at Adipo Therapeutics.
Henderson’s participation will further increase the quotient of Hoosier spirit at this year’s summit, which will include a keynote session featuring IU head football coach Tom Allen and hosted by Scott Dolson, IU vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics. The summit will also include a lunch session with two leaders of IU’s name, image and likeness movement, Tyler Harris, who spent the last four years with the IU Athletic Department, most recently as associate athletic director, and Collin Hartman, a five-year letter-winner for the IU men’s basketball team and member of the 2016 Big Ten Champion Hoosiers.
Registration for the summit, which is limited to 185 attendees, is now open on the IU Ventures website. Registration is $100 and includes all summit programming and special networking opportunities. IU Ventures will also offer a limited number of “first come, first served” full scholarships for current IU students to attend all Venture Summit activities.