Excitement is growing as the Venture Club of Indiana counts down to its premier, carefully curated startup pitch event, The Innovation Showcase on August 22 in Indianapolis. This year, a companion event joins the Showcase: The Next Level Fund Indiana Venture Summit. The Summit is designed to introduce venture capitalists and others to the exciting opportunities available through the Next Level Indiana Fund. I’ve invited Venture Club of Indiana Board Member and Program Committee Leader Sandy Wilcox to tell us about The Innovation Showcase, how the day will roll out, and the all-star line-up of speakers whose experiences as entrepreneurs, educators, and investors are legendary. VisionTech Angels is pleased to share Sandy’s inside perspective. Read on!
In planning to hold the Next Level Fund Indiana Summit the same day as the Innovation Showcase, our objective was to encourage venture capitalist from all over the country to participate in The Innovation Showcase along with our statewide investment community. We all know that Indiana has long been considered a flyover state. The Venture Club Board and our president, Aaron Gillum, who is also senior vice president with 50 South Capital, are seeking to transform this perception and reflect the excitement and extraordinary progress of Indiana’s tech-driven innovation. By inviting investors to both events on the same day and putting our startups on stage in front of those investors, we know that we are fulfilling our objective, “Where Capital Meets Innovation!”
When I volunteered to be program chair for The Innovation Showcase, I knew my committee and I had an amazing job ahead of us. Our goal was to make the Showcase a dynamic event for everyone regardless of your perspective, startup or VC, student or supporter.
When the Next Level Fund Summit ends at around 11:30 a.m. and the attendees leave their seats, they will walk out of the hall and into The Innovation Showcase’s Entrepreneur’s Expo filled with booths hosted by some of Indiana’s finest startups for a “walking lunch.”
Seeking one of the most significant pioneers in Indiana’s technology space, we asked Don Brown, CEO of LifeOmic, to be our keynote speaker. As a leader at Software Artistry, and then as founder and CEO of Interactive Intelligence, Don negotiated the successful creation and sale of Interactive Intelligence to Genesys Telecommunications for a record $1.6 billion. His new adventure is LifeOmic, an Indianapolis-based software company that leverages the cloud, machine learning, and mobile devices to offer disruptive, precision medicine solutions to healthcare providers. A serial entrepreneur, Don still calls himself, an “accidental entrepreneur.” Sharing his entrepreneurial journey as well as lessons learned, Don will also outline his bold vision for the future of healthcare with Innovation Showcase guests.
Following our keynote, the pitches begin! Two rounds of 10 of Indiana’s finest startup companies will present to Investors in the audience and to win a cash prize. Who better to serve as the emcee of this competition than Dr. Don Kuratko, the Gill Distinguished Chair and Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. Recognized among the Top 10 entrepreneurship scholars in the world, “Dr K” created one of the country’s first entrepreneurship centers at Ball State University in 1983. His love, drive, and determination to build the foundation in education to prepare and support the growth of entrepreneurship make him a stunning choice to emcee our pitch competition!
In between the two pitch segments, Jeff Ready, CEO of Scale Computing, will lead us on the “The Road… After the Showcase.” Jeff will share the impact winning The Innovation Showcase’s Venture Idol pitch competition in 2008 presented to him as CEO of an Indiana startup. Today, with 2,000 customers in 30 countries and a total capital raise of $96 million, Scale is poised for explosive growth through partnerships with much larger companies skillfully negotiated by Jeff and his team. He will also interview two other past winners to demonstrate the real impact of presenting and winning at the Venture Club’s Innovation Showcase. We ask from time to time, “Does the Showcase make a difference?” Jeff and the other winners prove that “YES,’ it absolutely does!
After the final round of pitches, Jane Martin, a retired venture capitalist, will present “Seven Decades of Venture Capital, A Brief History.” A maverick as a women investor in the venture capital world, Jane was instrumental in numerous deals, investing in the likes of FedEx, MCI, Control Data, Sun Microsystems, Gymboree, and Calloway Golf to name a few. She will further discuss what it will take to bring venture capital investors to Indiana.
The Showcase will wrap up with a dynamic panel of female VCs discussing venture investing from a woman’s perspective. At 5:30 p.m., the winners of the pitch competition will be announced and we’ll celebrate with a VIP reception. A full day to be sure, but a day that you won’t want to miss!
The Venture Club of Indiana hopes you are as excited about the outstanding program and speakers we’ve assembled for The Innovation Showcase, Thursday, August 22, 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. at The Center in Indianapolis. For more information about The Innovation Showcase, visit our website. If you don’t have you ticket yet, grab it now! Space is limited and you don’t want to miss out on Indiana’s largest pitch event.