Winners’ Circle connects 35 venture capital firms with fundable Indiana tech companies

Top Left: Ting Gootee (center) meets with Rod Reasen and Phil Daniels of Springbuk; Bottom Left: Kristen Meehan and Suzanne Alaniz of Verizon Wireless; Micah Vincent of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget.

During what attendees are calling “the best Winners’ Circle yet,” TechPoint connected an unprecedented 35 venture capital and other investment firms with this year’s Mira Award winners and other select startup and scale-up companies, bringing together 75+ entrepreneurs and investors total at this unique event.

Fundable, emerging Indiana start-ups and scale-ups, including this year’s award winners, Tailwind Program members, and INX3 pitch competition finalists met with multiple investors based on mutual preferences at the invitation-only Winners’ Circle event, which was held on June 15, at the beautiful Biltwell Events Center just southwest of Monument Circle and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It was a day of relationship building through high-quality conversations between the companies and investors in attendance, as well as an investor panel and quality networking time with local tech community leaders.

It was at the 2016 TechPoint Winners’ Circle event that Kinney Group Founder and CEO Jim Kinney connected with Plymouth Ventures (now Plymouth Growth Partners), leading to millions in new investment in the Indianapolis-based cloud solutions integrator.

Winners’ Circle was made possible by presenting sponsors Ice Miller and Verizon Wireless, with additional support from underwriting sponsor BKD CPAs & Advisors.

Micah Vincent, director of the Office of Management and Budget for the state of Indiana, made a special appearance during the event’s Invest Indiana Forum to speak to the crowd of entrepreneurs and investors about the newly formed $250 million Next Level Indiana Fund and VCI tax credit.

Jared Council, tech reporter at the Indianapolis Business Journal, spoke with Vincent at Winners’ Circle and reported that a substantial portion of the Next Level Fund’s assets may take a “fund of funds” approach to investing, which implies pumping money into venture capital firms that may invest in Indiana companies — as opposed to direct investments. He stressed that the final investment approach will be determined by the Next Level board, which should be in place by July 1. “We think we’ll be in position to consider investment opportunities by the end of 2017,” Vincent said. Read more from Council’s IBJ TID-BYTES newsletter.

Also part of the Invest Indiana Forum, ClearObject CEO John McDonald moderated a panel discussion including this year’s Mira Award winner for Investor of the Year Jeff Barry, a partner at Plymouth Growth Partners; Ting Gootee, a founding member and chief investment officer at Elevate Ventures; Tim Kopp, former chief marketing officer at ExactTarget and managing partner  at Hyde Park Venture Partners; and Don Aquilano, co-founder and managing partner at Allos Ventures.

The Invest Indiana Forum at TechPoint’s Winners’ Circle was made possible by sponsors Elevate Ventures and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

Hyde Park Venture Partners streamed the Invest Indiana Forum panel discussion during Winners’ Circle, which you can watch above or visit them on Facebook.

In an email to organizers following the event, the managing director of a prominent Western U.S. growth capital firm had the following to say about his experience attending TechPoint’s Winners’ Circle.

“The Winners’ Circle program was extremely well organized and even stayed on schedule, which never happens with these events. I was very impressed with the range and quality of companies that presented at the event. As you might imagine, I attend a range of similar events around the country each year and TechPoint’s event was definitely a cut above — well done.”

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business reporter Mary-Rachel Redmond, Michigan-based Grand Ventures Principal Maitlan Cramer said he was very impressed with what he saw and he met several interesting investable companies in which he hopes to invest in the future.

Concerning his impression of what Midwest tech companies have to offer VCs, Cramer said “Everybody is impressive,” Cramer tells Inside INdiana Business, “and everyone is collaborative, so that’s another great piece.” Read the full story and watch the video interview with Cramer on Inside INdiana Business.

Mike Langellier, president and CEO of TechPoint, said that this year’s Winners’ Circle, which is the third consecutive year for the event, attracted twice as many fundable companies and more than three times the investment firms compared to the first one in 2015.

“We’re seeing cumulative success through Winners’ Circle with more interest from VCs from coast to coast who want to participate,” Langellier said. “In some cases, investors we bring in for this event are visiting Indiana for the first time and we’re making that first impression on them with the intent to turn their initial visit into a year-round relationship of meeting with and investing in Indiana companies.”

For the first time this year, Winners’ CIrcle was held in conjunction with INX3, a joint community effort that brought together several entrepreneurial and innovation-focused community events, including Venture club of Indiana’s Innovation Showcase and Indy Chamber’s Indy Civic Hack.

BKD, LLP

CATEGORY: Accounting + Tax Prep Services CITY: Indianapolis

A national CPA and advisory firm, helping people and businesses in all 50 states and internationally realize their goals.

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Elevate Ventures

CATEGORY: Financial Technology, Technology/Services CITY: Indianapolis

We believe communities and regions across Indiana can achieve more when they make entrepreneurism part of their DNA

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Ice Miller

CATEGORY: Other CITY: Indianapolis

Built on a 100+ year foundation of legal service, Ice Miller LLP is committed to helping our clients stay ahead of a changing world.

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Verizon Wireless

CATEGORY: Internet of Things (IOT), Technology/Services CITY: Indianapolis

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) employs a diverse workforce of 177,700 and generated nearly $132 billion in 2015 revenues.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joshua Hall is editor of techpoint.org. He writes about Indiana tech companies, jobs, people & events. @joshua2349