21 Mar IU Ventures, TechPoint explore shared pathways to strengthen Indiana’s tech ecosystem
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2022
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — For 2022 to see further advancement of Indiana’s evolving technology ecosystem, the state’s leading venture firms and accelerator programs must continue to work together to build the talent, capital and connections to fuel that growth.
That was among one of the key messages delivered at a recent Founders & Funders Networking event hosted by IU Ventures, Indiana University’s early-stage venture and angel investment arm. During the event, Mike Langellier, president and CEO of TechPoint, an Indianapolis-based, nonprofit growth accelerator that has helped turn central Indiana into a nationally recognized tech hub, described the increasing impact that IU Ventures and TechPoint are having on Indiana’s tech community through a number of key strategic initiatives. These initiatives, he said, are helping the state attract and retain qualified talent, boost venture capital investment, support early-stage and scale-up companies, and establish a close-knit community of entrepreneurs and innovators who want to help each other succeed.
Langellier also introduced members of IU Ventures’ Founders and Funders Network — which includes IU-affiliated entrepreneurs, investors and innovators — to several TechPoint-led programs that could help them push their businesses forward and that are helping to strengthen a culture of tech entrepreneurship and innovation across central Indiana.
Access to investment. As TechPoint seeks to encourage more venture capital investment in Hoosier companies, it continues to host “VC Speed Dating” events that introduce investors from Indiana and beyond to entrepreneurs seeking support for high-potential ventures. These events typically consist of between 30 to 50 venture capitalists and 50 different companies that take part in around 250 short (20-minute) curated meetings.
Access to talent. Through its technology “Xtern” program, TechPoint is helping fuel the state’s talent pipeline by enabling students to work alongside industry leaders at some of the fastest-growing tech companies in the state. This program has recruited more than 1,000 top college students for internships.
Access to growth and relocation support. TechPoint has developed a “playbook” for helping companies advance their business ventures in — or relocate to — Indiana. IU alumnus Ravi Bhatt is among several successful entrepreneurs who have brought their businesses back to Indiana. Bhatt is the co-founder and CEO of Folia, a fast-emerging company that is helping modern enterprises streamline their research, analysis and idea generation practices. He recently moved Folia from Chicago to Bloomington, where he has plans to significantly expand his team of employees and add news tools and services to the company’s portfolio.
“Having a coordinated and well-led effort like Techpoint as a resource to our portfolio and the greater IU Founders and Funders Network is helpful as we encourage founders from across the country to return home to Indiana to scale their businesses,” said Jason Whitney, vice president of venture development at IU Ventures and executive director for the IU Angel Network. “Their efforts in supporting talent attraction and access to capital stand out as programs that have been and will continue to be impactful moving forward.”
The networking event also illustrated how TechPoint continues to see IU Ventures as an important catalyst of Indiana’s tech and broader innovation economy.
Last year, TechPoint awarded IU Ventures its Mira Award for Investor of the Year in recognition of IU Ventures making new and follow-on investments in 15 companies during 2020 and being one of the top three most active funds in the state. TechPoint also recognized IU Ventures for its commitment to increasing opportunities for diverse and historically underserved entrepreneurs. The Mira Awards is Indiana’s largest and longest-running technology awards program.
About IU Ventures:
IU Ventures invests in and supports IU-affiliated early-stage companies. Its investment programs include the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, IU Angel Network, Shoebox Fund and Innovate Indiana Fund. It further supports IU founders through the Executive in Residence Program and IU Founders and Funders Network. Student support is provided through a variety of engagements, including the new IU Venture Fellows Program. Each program takes unique approaches to accelerate and support the positive impacts that entrepreneurs affiliated with IU already achieve across the world. IU Ventures is a recognized leader in increasing opportunities for diverse and historically underserved entrepreneurs and investing in Indiana startups with a shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.