INDIANAPOLIS – When Paul Dreier, CEO of Novilytic, took the stage in The Innovation Showcase’s 2022 Pitch Competition, his startup company, which had technology aimed at the pharmaceutical company, was still in its infancy. While he didn’t win the highly competitive pitch competition, Dreier says he walked away with something perhaps more important at that stage of the game: connections.

“As CEO of a young company, The Innovation Showcase was invaluable as it gave me the opportunity to connect with venture capitalists who were interested in investing in our future investment rounds,” Dreier says. “The exposure we got from the Showcase in the media and with other startups was priceless. Being invited back this year to pitch is exciting because we’re a totally different company with a product in the market, three more set to commercialize and orders from three major customers.”

Dreier’s enthusiasm is echoed by the 19 other startup companies from across Indiana preparing to compete for prizes and introductions to investors during the 15th Annual Innovation Showcase’s pitch competition, the only one in the state that features only Indiana startups. Set for Thursday, July 13, at the Biltwell Event Center in Indianapolis, the annual event features great speakers, exhibit hall, pitch competition, and celebratory social hour after winners are announced. It attracts venture capitalists from across the country eager to discover what Hoosier startups have to offer. See complete Showcase schedule here.

Anna Lynn Dorris just may be the next “it” girl. She is the founder and CEO of Everewear, a tech startup re-imagining “thrifting,” a fast-growing fashion category that involves used rather than new clothing. The segment is very popular with young women who are typically on a budget, enjoy vintage or gently used clothing, and are environmentally conscious. Dorris, a recent graduate of Indiana University (IU) had a traditional thrift store business in high school and college before pivoting to her now AI and machine learning-powered approach.

“I knew there had to be a better way to shop thrift stores so leaned into two professors at IU, Kim Saxton and Barb Cutillo, as mentors. They encouraged me to enter my first pitch competition, JagStart at IUPUI. I won that and everything started snowballing,” she says.
Dorris now has a strategic partnership with a national brick-and-mortar clothing resale retailer and is looking to The Innovation Showcase for high-level networking. “I’m finishing a pre-seed round and would love to meet investors.”

Speaking on behalf of The Venture Club of Indiana, Chairperson Sandy Wilcox anticipates judges will have a tough time deciding the top startups. “The Innovation Showcase is open to Indiana-based, early-stage startup companies nominated by the state’s venture capital community. Those selected are truly representative of the diversity of talent and industries in Indiana. We have startups that are commercializing technology developed at our great research universities, Purdue University, IU and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology like Paul at Novilytic, while others were founded by innovative entrepreneurs like Anna at EvereWear solving unmet needs with their own ideas.”

The pitch competition includes four sessions throughout the day. Each startup CEO has three minute to make their case. Winners will be announced at 5 p.m., with prizes totaling $25,000 going to the top finishers in two categories, Life Sciences/Agtech and Digital Technology. All pitch competitors will have the opportunity to meet and talk with investors throughout the day.

Judging the Pitch Competition are Kelley Rich, interim vice president and associate provost for Innovation, University of Notre Dame; Sherry Aaholm, chief digital officer, Cummins, In.; and Patrick Henshaw, managing director, Render Capital. The startups they must judge are:

Pitch Companies

Contango, West Lafayette, Nominated by Purdue Innovates
Eclipse Orthopedics, Warsaw, Nominated by Elevate Ventures
Everewear, Indianapolis, Nominated by IU Ventures
FiberX, West Lafayette, Nominated by Elevate Ventures, Indianapolis, Nominated by Allos Ventures
GemViz, Warsaw, Nominated by Elevate Ventures
GEOH, Indianapolis, Nominated by Boomerang Ventures
My Habits, Indianapolis, Nominated by Techpoint
Here Here Market, Hammond, Nominated by 50 South Capital
Laxis, Evansville, Nominated by the Flywheel Fund
Navigate Maternity, Fort Wayne, Nominated by 50 South Capital
Novilytic, West Lafayette, Nominated by Purdue Innovates
OmniVis, West Lafayette, Nominated by Purdue Innovates
OuroBio, Indianapolis, Nominated by Elevate Ventures
Quantum Research Sciences, Lafayette, Nominated by Elevate Ventures
Razor Medical Instruments, Warsaw, Nominated by Elevate Ventures
SecondSight, Bloomington, Nominated by Render Capital
StoryBolt, Hammond, Nominated by 50 South Capital
TitleWise Clarksville, Nominated by IU Ventures
Toolsey, Fishers, Nominated by IU Ventures

Sponsors of this year’s Innovation Showcase include Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Elevate Ventures, Barnes & Thornburg, 50 South Capital, TechPoint, Gener8tor, Allos Ventures, High Alpha, Hyde Park Ventures, Katz, Sapper & Miller, Purdue Innovates, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Sawmill Society, IU Ventures, Armory Square Ventures, The Mill, and VisionTech Angels.
Those with a passion for Indiana startups, venture capital, innovation, and economic development are invited to attend Indiana’s premier event where “Capital Meets Innovation.” Purchase tickets to the Innovation Showcase and find additional information here. Ticket includes lunch, all sessions, networking, and celebratory happy hour following the announcement of the pitch competition winners.


For more information, contact Sandy Wilcox, 317-508-8885.