24 Feb Summit will bring together best of IU’s venture community, innovation leaders
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 23, 2022
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Leading Indiana University-affiliated entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and others driving the development of the university’s global venture ecosystem will come together this spring for a summit hosted by IU Ventures, the university’s startup investment arm.
The IU Founders & Funders Network Venture Summit, which will be held May 12-13 at IU Bloomington’s Indiana Memorial Union, will gather the “best of IU’s venture community,” allowing members of this group to connect with and learn from like-minded industry leaders and find investment, expertise, mentorship and other resources they need to build their businesses. The summit will be presented by Bridge Bank, a division of Western Alliance Bank.
“IU’s ever-expanding community of founders and funders, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university, continues to strengthen our state’s pervasive culture of entrepreneurship and innovation,” said IU Ventures President and CEO Tony Armstrong. “This summit will offer IU’s brightest minds the opportunity to come back to the place that nurtured their ideas, to network with their peers, and to discover access to funding, expertise and talent.”
Registration for the summit is now open on the IU Ventures website. Registration is $95 and includes all summit programming.
Todd Yeagley, head coach of the IU men’s soccer team, will help launch the summit by delivering a keynote address on Friday morning, May 13. A four-time All-American at IU (1991-1994), Yeagley took the helm of IU’s storied soccer program in 2009. In just his third season as head coach, he led IU to the 2012 NCAA title, the eighth championship in IU’s history. He is a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year winner.
The opening keynote will be followed by a number of “breakout” and other sessions featuring strategies and insights from both experienced founders and funders of startup businesses and other new ventures. These sessions will explore a wide range of topics, including developing a viable product; scaling up new ventures; developing a robust go-to market strategy; achieving key milestones that potential investors are looking for; realizing the importance of “failing fast”; building a winning culture and positioning for a successful exit.
These sessions will feature the founders of several companies that are part of IU Ventures’ growing investment portfolio, as well as representatives of the new IU Ventures Fellows Program, which is exposing IU students to the world of venture capital; the Executive in Residence Program, which is advancing the development of early-stage companies through the insights and experiences of its seasoned members; and the IU Innovation and Commercialization Office, which works closely with faculty, industry and the Hoosier entrepreneurial community to take IU innovations to market.
IU alumna Ellie Symes, co-founder and CEO of Indianapolis-based The Bee Corp, will participate in a breakout session on Friday about ways to scale up new ventures. An ag tech company, The Bee Corp recently received a second major investment from IU Ventures to advance the pioneering technology it provides to commercial growers and beekeepers who rely on honey bees to sustain healthy crop production.
“I’m very excited for this summit and the opportunity to meet with and learn from other successful Indiana University-affiliated founders and funders,” said Symes, who founded The Bee Corp in 2016 with fellow IU graduate Wyatt Wells when she and Wells were students at IU Bloomington. “IU Ventures is hosting this event at a time when many of us are seeking support to launch new venture ideas or to take the next big step in our business development. This event also reflects the spirit of its participants, who are determined to succeed commercially, of course, but who also aspire to make a positive impact on our economy and our society.”
The summit, which is being sponsored by Innovate Indiana, will conclude with an awards dinner featuring a keynote address by veteran technology entrepreneur and IU alumnus Scott McCorkle. McCorkle, the former chief executive of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and current CEO of MetaCX, is expected to share wide-ranging remarks about building a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, the state of venture capital and insights for building a successful tech venture.
During the dinner, IU Ventures will also announce the newest recipients of the Spirit of Venture Award, which is given to members of IU’s network of founders and funders who exhibit success in entrepreneurship and innovation, provide mentorship and support to IU affiliated founders and funders, and demonstrate noteworthy service to IU. Two of last year’s inaugural award winners, Ting Gootee, chief investment officer at Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures, and Cy Megnin, Elevate’s entrepreneur-in-residence, will be among the summit’s event speakers.
Activities at the summit will also underscore several of IU Ventures’ key investment initiatives to support early-stage startup activity. These include:
- the IU Angel Network, which connects qualified investors with an IU affiliation to early-stage startups led by members of the IU community;
- the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, which bridges the gap in startup funding by making equity investments in high-potential early-stage companies with IU affiliations;
- and the Shoebox Fund, which supports student startups that have been built in the startup incubator known as the Shoebox within the Shoemaker Innovation Center at the IU Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.
On Thursday, May 12, attendees will have the opportunity to tour IU’s iconic Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, which is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, and participate in a networking event at Nick’s English Hut, one of Bloomington’s famed restaurant traditions.
A complete list of events and speakers, as well as information about travel and lodging, can be found on the IU Ventures website.
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.