Tech 25 winner Andy Lehman fosters startup tech growth with programming
Indiana has a wealth of talented tech playmakers who are having a big impact as they build the technology and tech companies that are driving economic growth in the Hoosier state. Join us in celebrating the Tech 25 class of 2022 through this profile series and learn a bit more about each winner.
Andy Lehman is the Head of Accelerator Programming at The Mill where he helps early-stage startups prepare for applying to Pre-Accelerators/Accelerators and develops programming that grows the enterprising ecosystem. He is passionate about providing opportunities for everyone to engage in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and is focused on supporting startups from idea to execution.
A native of southern Illinois, he graduated from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville in 2004 and spent several years working in Washington state before relocating to Bloomington 12 years ago with his wife and two kids.”
What led you to the tech industry and this occupation? What was your first job in tech?
The road to get here was definitely a windy one. My background is in graphic design. I worked at a small newspaper in Idaho doing ad design and page layout before getting on at Washington State University to lead design efforts for the student rec center and student union building. After a move to get closer to family, I landed at the local newspaper in Bloomington again doing ad design and page layout. While there, I was part of an innovation and product development team and that’s where I caught the entrepreneurial bug. Prior to joining the Mill, I spent 4 years leading internal innovation teams at small-market newspapers. That work translated well to the startup ecosystem here. Now I have the opportunity to help early-stage founders get their startups launched.
When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?
Activities vary from day to day, but overall, my main responsibility is to execute our mission at The Mill which is to launch and accelerate startups. That’s the focus of every program we launch – how does this program support or grow startups and the ecosystem?
No day is the same, but most include:
- Meetings with founders to help them prepare for investor meetings, pre-accelerator interviews, and get them connected to someone who can help with a particular problem.
- Prepare for whichever program is currently running – there’s a good list of those here, https://www.dimensionmill.org/events/
- Meet with partners to discuss potential collaborations and upcoming projects
- Meet with our team to coordinate roles, duties, responsibilities
Which resources would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?
The best resource I have is a network of people and partners who can support early-stage founders. I know I don’t know everything, but I can certainly get an entrepreneur connected to the right people to get them the support they need. A network of trusted people and partners is vital, and allows me to create a network of support for anyone who connects with us at The Mill.
But if reading is more your thing, these books have helped me tremendously:
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- The Lean Product Playbook by Dan Olsen, Walter Dixon, et al.
- Creative Confidence by David Kelly
- Moments of Impact by Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Soloman
- Well Designed by Jon Kolko
- Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
- Value Proposition Design by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Gregory Bernarda, and Alan Smith
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- Algorithms to Live By by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
- Lots of good stuff here too – https://blog.leanstack.com
Andy is a Tech 25 winner who is helping to grow and improve the tech landscape of Indiana. He was nominated by his Executive Director, Pat East.
Visit the Indianapolis Business Journal website to see the full listing and celebration of the 2022 Tech 25 honorees in the joint Tech Exec of the Year and Tech 25 Awards supplement.
You can also read the TechPoint Index official Tech 25 Class of 2022 Winners Story and explore, tag and share photos from the awards in the Facebook Gallery.