I attended the Innovation Showcase yesterday at the Dallara headquarters in Speedway Indiana. Aside from the event itself, we were all surprised to be a part of the breaking news when Governor Mike Pence showed up to deliver a speech to announce a new $1B investment in the Indiana entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. Big news for the state that can only help to propel new technology and new startup company formation in Indiana. There were 75 exhibiting companies at the event consisting of pre-commercialization startups and scale up companies in software, technology and life science sectors. There were also scores of venture capital groups and investors attending the event to make connections and watch the pitch events. Fantastic panel discussions and advice from venture capital leaders like, Tim Kopp, Bill Godfrey and Don Aquilano added substance and real world experience that many of the startups in the room were craving to hear. Ben Pidgeon, Joana Milliken and Ting Gootee did an excellent job to bring this event all together. All in all, an incredible turnout for a mid-week event which really underscores the activity level and momentum that central Indiana, and the state as a whole, has been building in 2016. The appetite for deals, new companies, top notch technology and venture capital has really been building as of late, spurring new investment, corporate relocations, jobs and economic announcements that seem to happening daily.
So what does this all mean and why is this happening in Indiana. I think that answer is a multi-part answer, but goes something like this:
- We have fantastic research and talent coming out of our universities (particularly Purdue via the Purdue Foundry folks)
- We have a growing entrepreneurial mindset to start and grow new companies (thanks in part to companies and success stories like ExactTarget, now Salesforce)
- We have state and regional programs creating an infrastructure platform and resources to support startups (recent $1B investment most recent example of that)
- We have seasoned leaders to help lead and advise our startups
- We have venture capital ready, willing and able to help finance startup companies (as evidenced by the turnout at the Innovations Showcase)
Seems like a perfect recipe to succeed. Next steps: Rinse, lather and repeat.