INDIANAPOLIS – 40 years ago, March 1984, a little-known startup called “The Venture Club of Indiana” was formed!

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, The Venture Club of Indiana began as a humble startup. Visionary leaders in the community came together to create the first “Venture Club” in the United States with the ambition to provide resources and guidance to the Indiana startup and venture capital community. Since then, thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and leaders have graced the meetings, connections, and resources of The Venture Club.

No longer is Indiana known as just another “fly over” state. Now we stand as a hot bed of entrepreneurial talent and the resources to support founders from initial launch to scale.

The Innovation Showcase will feature a great Indiana founder’s story as we welcome Max Yoder, former CEO of Lessonly who will share his journey from a High Alpha studio company to acquisition by Seismic in 2021. His insights promise to inspire and enlighten attendees about the highs and lows of the Lessonly journey and the successful exit.

Hundreds of entrepreneurs have been on the Innovation Showcase mainstage, all striving for that successful and innovative journey – be it an IPO, a merger with another company, or just long-lived success in Indiana. Truly this stage is “Where Capital Meets Innovation.”

The 2024 Showcase will be no different. In its 16th year, The Innovation Showcase, Indiana’s premier pitch event for Indiana startups, is thrilled to announce the lineup of 22 pioneering companies that will compete in the highly anticipated pitch competition on June 5th at the Indiana State Museum. Representing a diverse range of industries and groundbreaking technologies, these companies are poised to showcase their innovative solutions and contend for recognition and support from industry leaders, investors, and the entrepreneurial community.

“This year’s Innovation Showcase Pitch Competition will bring many new companies with their game changing potential to our mainstage,” said Sandy Wilcox, Program Chair. “We are thrilled to welcome such a diverse, innovative group of companies, who will pitch to a room full of investors looking for the next opportunity to invest in high-potential, Indiana-based startups. The judges will certainly be challenged to pick our winners.”

John Hanak, a founding member of the Innovation Showcase previously involved in organizing and supporting the event, is now participating as a pitch company with VinSense. This marks a unique milestone for Hanak, who reflects on the journey with a mix of irony, humility, and pride.

“Having been with the Innovation Showcase since its inception is kind of ironic for me now that I will be presenting a company – VinSense – there,” said Hanak. “It’s also somewhat humbling as I can clearly see how much effort the presenting companies put into this. Irony or humbling – the fact remains that I am very proud to be among the incredible companies that have been nominated to showcase their wares here. I am looking forward to being a part of it again…this time from a different perspective.”

Hanak’s transition from event creator to pitch company participant underscores the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship and innovation. His long experience and dedication to the Innovation Showcase and Venture Club of Indiana community brings a valuable perspective to the stage.

On June 5th, these 22 companies will have the opportunity to pitch their ventures to a panel of esteemed judges and a captivated audience. In addition to the pitches, the event will feature keynote presentations from Disruptive Innovation leader ARK Invest and TechPoint Mira “Tech Company of the Year” Authenticx. Panel discussions, Entrepreneur’s Exposition, and networking are other opportunities for insight and connection.

The pitch competition consists of four sessions scheduled throughout the day. Each startup presenter will have three minutes to present their case. The winners will be announced at 5 p.m., with a total of $30,000 in prizes awarded to the top finishers across three categories: Digital Tech, Hard Tech/Agtech and Life Sciences. Additionally, all pitch competitors will have the opportunity to engage with investors throughout the day one-on-one.

The judging panel for the Pitch Competition comprises Susan Batchelder, Clinical Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Kelley School of Business; Christopher “Toph” Day, CEO of Elevate Ventures; Vince Wong, CEO and President of BioCrossroads. Nominated companies represent the portfolios of Elevate Ventures, Boomerang Ventures, gener8tor, Render Capital, Purdue, Flywheel Fund, VisionTech and Biocrossroads. The judges must evaluate these companies pitching in the Innovation Showcase:

1. Amplified Sciences
2. Contango
3. Covert Defenses
4. Early is Good
5. Folia
6. Habit-Halo
7. Insignum
9. Mili Llama
10. Neurava
11. Paradise Spreads
12. Primary Record
13. Respiratory Health Technologies
14. rScan
15. Tactile Engineering
16. Tangler Wrangler
17. Terran Robotics
18. Titlewise
19. Torchlite
20. Uniform Sierra Aerospace
21. VinSense
22. WPR Services

And the winners are…join us for an exciting celebration of entrepreneurial talent in Indiana!

Register here:

Sponsors of this year’s Innovation Showcase include: Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Elevate Ventures, Barnes Thornburg, 50 South Capital, Purdue Innovates, Flywheel Fund, The Heritage Group Accelerator, Bridge Bank, TechPoint, Resolute Investment Managers, ARK Invest, Innovation Law, gener8tor, Armory Square Ventures, Allos Ventures, Katz Sapper Miller, Hyde Park Venture Partners, VisionTech, High Alpha, IU Ventures, IU Innovates, Sixty 8 Capital, Notre Dame IDEA Center, Graham Allen Partners, Boomerang

For media inquiries, interview requests, or press passes, please contact:

Claire Neuman, Executive Director of Venture Club of Indiana


About the Venture Club of Indiana: The Venture Club of Indiana has thrived on the ideas and efforts of its members since its inception in 1984. We are dedicated to helping investors convene to network and make an impact. Creating an entrepreneurial, business-friendly environment attractive to investors is critical to the continued success of Indiana’s emerging companies and established businesses. It’s that principle that guides the activities of the Venture Club of Indiana, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and investors succeed. Join us for the 16th year, and experience firsthand the energy and innovation shaping Indiana’s entrepreneurial landscape.