BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — IU Ventures, Indiana University’s early-stage venture and angel investment arm, has awarded two IU alums and prominent economic development leaders, Kathy Fields and Bill Stephan, with the Spirit of Venture Award.
The award, which is presented annually in partnership with Bridge Bank, celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation across the entire IU community.

Fields, a graduate of the IU Kelley School of Business, is a technology executive, board member and dealmaker with more than three decades of experience structuring and executing transactions for companies and investors that range from seed rounds to billion dollar liquidity events, leading companies and investment funds through financings and acquisitions, and advising business leaders on growth and liquidity opportunities.

From 2013 to 2022, she served in various leadership positions, including partner, general counsel, chief compliance officer and senior advisor, at JMI Equity, a growth equity firm focused on investing in leading software companies. Last year, she founded STACCS to offer transaction consulting services to companies and executives as they evaluate and execute investment and liquidity transactions. Fields is also an executive in residence and member of the investment committee at IU Ventures.

“I am honored to receive the Spirit of Venture award and am excited to be part of IU Ventures’ mission to support IU-affiliated startups and founders,” Fields said. “I am enthusiastic about the opportunities created by IU’s focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development.”

Stephan retired last year from a full-time role with IU after 20 years of service to the university. IU’s former vice president for government relations and economic engagement, he led the university’s efforts to connect its intellectual and creative resources with strategic opportunities that fostered Indiana’s economic growth, while also directing its government relations activities at the state and federal level.

A graduate of IU’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Stephan directed a range of major economic engagement activities at IU focused on supporting the state’s talent strategy, turning the innovations of IU researchers into new services, products and treatments, and connecting the business community in Indiana and beyond to IU. He also continues to serve as chair of the board of directors at IU Ventures.

“I am especially honored to receive this award from IU Ventures,” Stephan said. “It has been a distinct privilege to associate with the visionary leaders of this enterprise and the remarkable alumni of Indiana University — all of whom continue to distinguish our institution as a leader in entrepreneurship and innovation.”

The Spirit of Venture Awards were presented during the second annual IU Founders and Funders Network Venture Summit, which was held May 18-19 on the IU Bloomington campus.

The awards are given to IU faculty, staff, alumni or student founders and funders, or friends of IU, who have exhibited success in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, provided mentorship and support to IU Founders and Funders, and demonstrated noteworthy philanthropy and service to IU.

After graduating from IU’s Kelley School and Stanford Law School, Fields spent over 20 years as outside counsel for technology and life sciences companies and the investors and executives that fund and grow them. She then spent the next 10 years at JMI Equity, where she led structuring and executing for more than 75 investments and more than 50 successful exits.

In addition to operating her own transaction consulting firm, she sits on several boards, including the America Online Giving Foundation, a donor-advised fund that powers billions of dollars of employer-matched charitable contributions each year at companies seeking to engage their employees and improve their communities. She also teaches at the Boston University School of Law.

During his IU tenure, Stephan oversaw multiple key areas of the university, including government relations, economic development, technology commercialization, corporate relations, and marketing and communications. An Indiana native, he is an attorney who served for six years as chief magistrate at the Marion Superior Court Juvenile Division. He then joined the administration of former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, where he helped direct social and workforce development policy, served as president and CEO of the Indianapolis Private Industry Council, and later became chief of staff and special counsel to the mayor.

Upon joining IU in 2000, Stephan led initiatives and activities designed to meet the interests and needs of the university’s key external constituents and stakeholders. He also worked with the university’s health care partner, IU Health, as senior vice president for communications and community relations.

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.

Media Contact:
Ryan Piurek