More than 350 budding entrepreneurs, community partners, and investors hobnobbed over pizza and beer on Wednesday in testament to the burgeoning pursuit of that next Big Idea.
The sold-out crowd convened in a two-story 100,000 square-foot vacant office building on Indianapolis’ northwest side to launch Startup Indiana, the 20th regional affiliate of Startup America Partnership. The venture seeks to facilitate young companies—a primary creator of jobs in the Great Recession emergent economy—with resources, investment, and corporate partners.
“The startup economy drives the overall economy, and high-growth startups make up the success and create the new markets,” said Startup American Partnership CEO Scott Case as he christened the ship with his keynote. “Over the past 30 years, all the net new jobs created in the United States were created by companies less than five years old.”
Case, the founding CTO of Priceline, remarked how impressed he was with the Indiana’s startup culture while visiting during the Super Bowl a few months ago. The venture aims to supply resources and connections for young companies and support in the form of “regional startup ecosystems throughout the country.”
Case’s remarks also focused on how the passage of the new jobs bill in Washington will spur small ventures from small investments.
The evening possessed all the chatter, networking, booths, and multimedia presentations of a compressed convention. Localstake manned one of those booths with an interactive illustration of how crowdfunding works. On a board titled “Invest Local” people could affix tiny dollar bills to the business—Rusted Moon Outfitters, Patachou Inc., or One Click Ventures—they most wanted to “fund.”
Verge founder and host Matt Hunckler continued the program in a fireside chat format with Chris Baggott, co-founder of Chief Marketing Officer of ExactTarget. The two discussed the early days of starting a company in a windowless office in Greenfield, the importance of support throughout the process, and the experience of a $1.5 billion plus IPO. Baggott’s best advice came when talking about bucking the conventional wisdom of keeping business separate from family, friends, and neighbors.
Hunckler ended the program with a procession of roughly 25 people who each mounted the stage and pitched their ideas in one-minute elevator speeches with Case serving as the official timer. Pitches ran the gamut: from a site for farmers markets to a social network for fishing.
Tony Unfried made a pitch on behalf of his local company, Archon Apps. ”I am very excited for Startup Indiana,” he commented, “not just because it exposes startups to other people from the state, but because it shows the country that Indiana, and Indianapolis, is a great place to live as well as start a business. When someone like Scott Case shows up, it tells you something: Not only are we a great group of startupers but, as Mr. Case pointed out, we have a great deal of community and government backing.”
With Indianapolis’ runaway success in hosting one of the world’s largest sporting events, the ground stands very fertile for big ideas to germinate and blossom with better support and guidance. As Startup Indiana begins to tend that garden, IndySphere will keep you posted on what sprouts.
Disclosure: Localstake is a community partner of IndySphere
More info: #StartupIN