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re·sil·ience

char·ac·ter

per·se·ver·ance

NOUN: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

NOUN: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

NOUN: Persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.


INDIANA’S

Resilience A

s we look back at 2020, we can all agree that it was a year for the ages. Our country was affected in more ways than we could have imagined. The economic impact created hardships for both individuals and businesses. Companies small and large were faced with tough decisions regarding cash flow and talent – not to mention the increased strain of moving to a virtual setting. While navigating this new environment, Indiana experienced surprising momentum as businesses and leaders showed more tenacity than ever before. Indiana entrepreneurs proved their strength as we saw companies launch and grow despite the changing requirements and restrictions. In addition, many companies demonstrated innovation and adaptability by pivoting to new products and models as the needs of their customers changed. As Indiana’s venture development partner, who works hand-in-hand with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Elevate Ventures was prolific in helping entrepreneurs with the decisions and challenges they faced. While many businesses exemplified resilience, character and perseverance to get through this remarkably tough year, it took a special kind of determination for those experiencing their first economic downturn. Our 2020 Annual Report highlights some of the entrepreneurs and founders from across the state who overcame this year’s unique obstacles.

Yes, Indiana made it through a difficult year. However, now is not the time to slow down. Let’s invest in opportunity to leapfrog other states with a bold vision. It is imperative that we recognize the criticality of entrepreneurism and innovation in every region across the state and develop shrewd plans to position Indiana to win. We must make this a top priority so we can lift up entrepreneurs with not only critical capital, but also a robust network of talent and resources that cultivate more successful communities. We have an opportunity to lead the Midwest in the race to empower entrepreneurs and foster innovation-minded cultures throughout our state. Together, we will persevere while ensuring our hard work continues for years to come.

CHRISTOPHER LAMOTHE, CEO

RESILIENCE | CHARACTER | PERSEVERANCE


Mission Statement Elevate Ventures is a venture development organization focused on building sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship cultures in Indiana, and fostering and developing high-potential, high-growth businesses for investment and returns for our stakeholders.

CONTENTS

6

8

10

12

Indiana’s Resilience

Elevate’s Character

Statewide Character

The Entrepreneurial Journey

14

16

18

26

Elevate Metrics & Accolades

Investment Perseverance

Entrepreneurial Resilience

Team & Elevate Advisors

RESIL IEN C E | C H A RAC TER | PERSERVE R A N C E

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INDIANA’S

Resilience

Strengths of Indiana When it comes to successful businesses, Indiana’s strong leadership and valuable resources create a supportive environment that complements our incredibly talented and hard-working entrepreneurs and innovators. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99.4% of all businesses in the state and employ 1.2 million employees, making it essential to utilize our strengths to sustain and advance startups.

90.32%

of entrepreneurs start a business in Indiana out of want, instead of need, ranking us 7th in the nation. The national average is 86.86%. Source: Kauffmann Indicators of Entrepreneurship

5TH MOST TECH

JOB GROWTH

2ND

FOR REGULATORY FREEDOM ACROSS THE NATION

RANKED

Policy related to land use, health insurance, labor markets, occupations, lawsuits, cable and telecommunications, and miscellaneous areas.

IN BEST STATES FOR UNIVERSITY

BUSINESS SPINOUTS

Source: Indiana Chamber 2020 Scorecard Midwest Competitor Analysis

AMONG SMALL FIRMS

Ranked 10th nationally in cost of living in Q3 2020

One of only three states to see more jobs created over five years by firms with fewer than 50 employees. Source: Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA)® 2020 U.S. Innovation Scorecard

(Higher education research & development expenditure per university spinout: $35,996 vs. $74,643 national average) Source: Indiana Chamber 2020 Scorecard - Midwest Competitor Analysis

Source: Missouri Economic Research and Information Center

5TH

IN NET JOB CREATION IN

FIRMS 6 YEARS OLD OR OLDER

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JOB CREATION RATE & JOB DESTRUCTION RATE, PER 100 JOBS (2017) Source: Indiana Chamber 2020 Scorecard - Midwest Competitor Analysis

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Growth Potential for Indiana While it is important to acknowledge Indiana’s character through its many strengths, our state also has a lot of untapped potential that can help propel us even further. Addressing these opportunities will allow us to move forward and compete both regionally and nationally. Below are some critical areas that could be improved to drive more progress in the state.

INDIANA RANKS

35TH IN VENTURE CAPITAL INVESTED,

37TH IN PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION THAT

THREE-YEAR

STARTS NEW BUSINESSES

The median among U.S. states is $142.66 compared to Indiana at $71.15 (per worker).

(0.25% vs national average of 0.31%)

ROLLING AVERAGE*

The average for the U.S. is skewed due to a few states that do exceedingly well in raising venture capital.** *Source: Indiana Chamber 2020 Scorecard - Midwest Competitor Analysis **Source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

47TH IN STARTUP

EARLY JOB

CREATION (3.59 vs. national average of 5.16)

This indicator captures all new business owners, including those who own incorporated or unincorporated businesses, and those who are employers or non-employers.

Average number of jobs created by startups in their first year. (Per-capita figures were obtained by dividing total population into total employment created by new employer firms in their first year.)

Source: Kauffmann Indicators of Entrepreneurship

Source: Kauffmann Indicators of Entrepreneurship

RESIL IEN C E | C H ARAC TER | PERS E VE R A N C E

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INDIANA’S

Resilience

Elevate’s Character WE HAVE A DUAL MISSION; LET’S BREAK IT DOWN. We are part venture capital firm and part entrepreneurial development partner. Our venture capital mission was born from the 2010 pivot of Indiana’s 21st Century Research and Technology Fund (21 Fund) and is designed to provide capital to early stage startups in Indiana. Along with that pivot, the state recognized that startups need more than just funding. They need access to resources, guidance and regional ecosystems where they can build their businesses. That’s where our entrepreneurial development partner mission comes in. Our team has the practical experience to guide entrepreneurs while working collaboratively with regional stakeholders to ensure startups have what they need for success. Blending these missions enables us to look at entrepreneurship holistically, making our character more well-rounded and approachable. Our work is possible through our invaluable partnership with the IEDC and allows us to help Indiana focus on opportunities for growth and advancement. To get a full sense of what we do, here is a high-level overview of our programs and initiatives:

INVESTMENTS & FUNDING • Elevate Direct Investments provide funding for entrepreneurs who are launching and building companies in Indiana.

21 Fund supports early stage investment opportunities over $500K.

Indiana Angel Network Fund II (IANF) supports seed stage investment opportunities between $100K-$500K.

• SBIR/STTR Phase I Grants, typically reserved for STEEAM businesses (Science, Technology, Engineering, Education, Agriculture, and Manufacturing), are state matching dollars based on federal awards. • Smart and Advanced Manufacturing Fund (SAM Fund) was launched in 2020 and invests in high-potential manufacturers and manufacturing entrepreneurs. • Community Ideation Fund enables ideation-stage high-potential companies to move closer to a specific, measurable technology or product development milestone.

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UNIVERSITY INITIATIVES

REGIONAL EFFORTS

• Elevate Nexus* works with higher education institutions and community partners to increase the quality and number of startups launching across Indiana. • Elevate Nexus Pitch Competitions award $1.64M annually to Indiana pre-seed and seed stage startups. Nexus hosts three competitions a year: two regional and one statewide.

Elevate’s Regional Partnerships are key collaborations that nurture entrepreneurial cultures and innovation with a network of leaders and individuals dedicated to entrepreneurial growth. Each partnership region is served by an Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

• Elevate Nexus Higher Education Entrepreneurship Programming Grants* are awarded to four higher-education institutions annually and must be designated for entrepreneurial programming.

STARTUP SOUTH BEND-ELKHART

• Elevate Nexus Higher Education Matching Awards are provided to higher education institutions and community partners that support startups who win Nexus Pitch Competition awards.

3 COUNTIES: Elkhart, Marshall, St. Joseph

LAUNCHED JANUARY 2017 RENEWED JANUARY 2020

• Elevate Origins* provides virtual group learning, one-on-one coaching and live pitch practice to pre-seed and seed stage startups.

VELOCITIES

*Funding to operate these programs is made possible through a partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and U.S. Economic Development Agency.

3 COUNTIES: Bartholomew, Brown, Monroe

LAUNCHED JULY 2019

ELEVATE NORTHEAST INDIANA LAUNCHED APRIL 2017 RENEWED APRIL 2020

11 COUNTIES: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, Whitley

1804 ELEVATE SOUTHWEST INDIANA

EVENTS & OUTREACH • Kinetic is Elevate Ventures’ annual portfolio conference that brings together entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem builders across Indiana. • Events and workshops are hosted throughout the year to provide education, resources and networking opportunities. • Elevate Nexus Conference features panel discussions and best practice conversations on launching, growing and supporting startups in the current economy.

LAUNCHED JULY 2017 RENEWED JULY 2020

2 COUNTIES: Clark, Floyd

LAUNCHED JUNE 2017 RENEWED JUNE 2020

6 COUNTIES: Dubois, Gibson, Pike, Posey, Vanderburgh, Warrick

COACHING & MENTORSHIP • Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) have personal experience in launching or working for startups and understand the passion and emotional investment required to build and grow a company. • Elevate Advisors provide in-depth experience and resources to Elevate portfolio companies.

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INDIANA’S

Resilience

Statewide Character While our work supports innovation and entrepreneurship in the state, we don’t do it alone. Building an entrepreneurial-rich environment that cultivates business owners from launch to exit requires investors, community partners, universities, government and more. Each of these is an integral part of a wide network of individuals and resources that ensure the entrepreneurial ecosystem is well-positioned to compete nationally. Below, we explore each persona and how they interact with our programs and initiatives.

ENTREPRENEURS & FOUNDERS Elevate’s foundation was designed with the entrepreneurial journey in mind. As our top priority, our programs provide entrepreneurs with the capital and resources needed to grow a startup in Indiana. These individuals or teams of talent are visionaries, doers and change-makers. Engagement opportunities: • Community Ideation Fund • Elevate Origins • Elevate Nexus Pitch Competitions • Entrepreneurs-in-Residence • SBIR/STTR Phase I Grants • Elevate Direct Investment • SAM Fund

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ECOSYSTEM BUILDERS & ECONOMIC SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS Essential to the entrepreneur journey, these organizations are the boots on the ground helping entrepreneurs with the daily grind. While many of them support entrepreneurs alongside the entire Elevate process, they are extremely critical to the initial entry point into Elevate. A few of the statewide partners include AgriNovus Indiana, Conexus Indiana, Indiana Chamber and TechPoint. Engagement opportunities: • Community Ideation Fund • Elevate Origins • Elevate Nexus Pitch Competitions • Regional Efforts • Entrepreneurs-in-Residence • Elevate Nexus Matching Awards • SBIR/STTR Phase I Grants

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HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS Oftentimes universities offer the first lesson in business. Our higher education partners provide curriculum and resources to entrepreneurs early and allow us to serve as an extension of their programming. We engage with 35 institutions throughout Indiana. Engagement opportunities: • Elevate Origins • Elevate Nexus Pitch Competitions • Elevate Nexus Matching Awards • Entrepreneurship Program Grant • SBIR/STTR Phase I Grants • Regional Efforts


PUBLIC SECTOR

INSTITUTIONAL & ANGEL INVESTORS

Elevate’s ability to be prolific is a direct result of our partnership with the IEDC and the funding provided by the Indiana General Assembly. The important work of encouraging entrepreneurism and innovation is a strategic focus for the state of Indiana.

With our co-investment mandate, Elevate relies on institutional and angel investors across the U.S. to close out funding rounds. These individuals are business savvy and can invest anywhere from $10K-$10M. A few examples of Indiana investors we work alongside include Allos Ventures, BioCrossroads, High Alpha, Hyde Park Venture Partners, IDEA Center’s Venture Fund, IU Ventures and Purdue Ventures.

Engagement opportunities: • Elevate Nexus • Elevate Direct Investments • SBIR/STTR Phase I Grants • Regional Efforts

Engagement opportunities: • Elevate Direct Investment • Kinetic • Entrepreneurs-in-Residence • Elevate Nexus Pitch Competitions • Regional Efforts

PRIVATE SECTOR Innovation is prevalent in the private sector. Whether they have innovative technology solutions waiting to be spun out or are looking to acquire a startup that offers a solution to a problem, private corporations add a significant contribution to Indiana’s cutting-edge achievements. Example corporations include Cook Group, ITAMCO, Micropulse and Vectren. Engagement opportunities: • Entrepreneurs-in-Residence • Regional Efforts • SAM Fund • Kinetic

RESIL IEN C E | C H ARAC TER | PERS E VE R A N C E

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THE ENTREPRENEUR’S WITH ELEVATE

Journey TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES

1

ASPIRATION

Someone who is coachable, growthminded, and willing to apply real time and energy toward identifying a problem to solve through starting a company. Origins Pre-Seed Program

2

(Five Business Stages)

IDEATION

Someone who has determined a problem to solve and is working towards developing a minimum viable product that they are confident the market would be willing to pay for.

Resource

3

Funding

PRODUCT/MARKET FIT TESTING

The company has a minimum viable product and is validating product-market fit through generating early revenue. Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

Origins Seed Program

Origins Pre-Seed Program

Nexus Seed Pitch Competition

Nexus Pre-Seed Pitch Competition Community Ideation Fund SBIR/STTR Phase I Grants

LIFE SCIENCE COMPANIES

1

DISCOVERY The company has established a proof of concept and a pre-clinical roadmap.

Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Origins Seed Program

(Three Business Stages)

2

Resource

Funding

PRE-CLINICAL

The discovery or invention has outlined/established proof of concept and a pre-clinical roadmap with understanding of FDA pathway and detailed/documented guidance for approval. Life science device startups have a clear roadmap with costs and timing to achieve regulatory approval.

Nexus Pre-Seed Pitch Competition

Entrepreneurs-in-Residence

Nexus Seed Pitch Competition

Origins Seed Program

Community Ideation Fund

Elevate Advisors

SBIR/STTR Phase I Grants

IANF Investment Smart and Advanced Manufacturing Fund SBIR/STTR Phase I Grants

GET STARTED ON YOUR JOURNEY. VISIT ELEVATEVENTURES.COM/APPLY 12

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Our programs and stakeholders support our most important work— startups. Below are examples of entrepreneurial journeys for technology and life science startups, and how they engage with Elevate at each stage.

OUR INVESTMENT VERTICALS:

4

PRODUCT/MARKET FIT VALIDATION

The company has financial projections based on actual revenue and can identify how much capital is needed to fully ramp up their business and reach a cashflow breakeven point. Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Origins Seed Program

5

GROWTH

The company has products or solutions that are selling in the market with meaningful customer traction. Elevate Advisors 21 Fund Investment

Advanced Food & Agriculture

Elevate Advisors IANF Investment Smart and Advanced Manufacturing Fund

Advanced Manufacturing/ Defense/Aerospace

3

CLINICAL

The company has a clinical roadmap established with guidance from industry-specific regulatory consultants and/or FDA.

Drug Development/Life Science/ Medical Device

Elevate Advisors 21 Fund Investment

Technology-Enabled Products Services/Security

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Elevate’s Metrics & Accolades Our focus is providing Indiana entrepreneurs with capital and resources while building entrepreneurial ecosystems across the state. The work we accomplish is directly impacted by the resilience of the entrepreneurs we serve and the support we receive from our statewide partners and stakeholders. We are grateful to be able to help entrepreneurs at their earliest stage,

ELEVATE VENTURES’

ACCOLADES • Elevate was named the 2020 Investor of the Year in the TechPoint Mira Awards. • In Q1 2020, Elevate was ranked the #1 most active early stage VC.* • Since 2017, Elevate Ventures has been ranked among the most active VCs in the Great Lakes Region.*

enabling them to advance their ideas and grow their business.

Among investors by venture capital deal *location, as reported in the Pitchbook 2020

Global League Tables and its global rankings of investors and service providers.

SINCE 2011

By the numbers 14

Elevate has invested

$113.26M

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396

Indiana startups have received funding from Elevate

$830.1M has been co-invested alongside Elevate


OUR PORTFOLIO COMPANIES ARE CREATING HIGH-WAGE JOBS AND EMPOWERING MORE TALENT TO THRIVE IN INDIANA. TO DATE:

2,324

The average yearly salary for those jobs is

$74.9K

employees are employed by our portfolio companies

ElevateNexus Hosted 130 company pitches across seven competitions

Hosted 170 unique participants in the Elevate Origins Program, with 51 of them applying to pitch at an Elevate Nexus Pitch Competition

86

Indiana counties have been impacted by Elevate

3,072 companies have been impacted by Elevate’s investment and advisory services

THE ELEVATE NEXUS PROGRAM WAS LAUNCHED IN 2019. DURING 2020, THE PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHED THE FOLLOWING:

Funded $164K in grants to Entrepreneurial Support Organizations and higher-education institutions that played key roles in supporting the Elevate Nexus pitch competition awardees

Awarded $200K to four universities across the state: Butler University, Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, Taylor University and University of Indianapolis

Invested $2.3M through 50 awards

Elevate’s Investment Leverage Ratio* =

7.3:1

* Leverage ratio = Total outside capital invested divided by Elevate's investment.

13

Total number of Funds Elevate manages:

1,917

investors have invested alongside Elevate

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Investment Perseverance Through the management of investments and other funds, Elevate helps Indianabased companies during their earliest stages of growth. In 2020, this support was more crucial than ever as first-time founders were faced with obstacles beyond their control. No matter the circumstances, we are incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to provide assistance to startups and entrepreneurs.

Statewide Investments in 2020:

Partnership Regions in 2020:

Elevate completed 121

Elevate invested a total of

$13.5M INVESTED

$16.2M in additional dollars

transactions for a total of

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$3.48M LEVERAGING*

invested alongside Elevate * Leveraging = additional dollars invested alongside Elevate's investment.


FUND

2020 ONLY

2011-2020

$ invested

# of investments

$ invested

# of investments

21 Fund

$2.9M

5

$58.4M

72

21 Fund Extender

$387K

2

$7.3M

30

Indiana Angel Network Fund I

$59.6K

1

$15M

77

Indiana Angel Network Fund II

$3.4M

14

$3.4M

14

SBIR/STTR Phase I Grant Matching

$887K

21

$8.3M

175

Elevate University Fund

$2.3M

50

$2.3M

50

SAM Fund (Launched in 2020)

$350K

2

$350K

2

$3M

14

$3M

14

$218K

12

$513K

28

Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund

-

-

$2.7M

89

Indiana Seed Fund

-

-

$6M

38

High Potential Startup Grant

-

-

$878.5K

40

Indiana High Growth

-

-

$5M

45

Special Response Fund (Launched in 2020) Community Ideation Fund

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ENTREPRENEURIAL

e c n e i l i s e R

Resilient people with a strong character stand out in a crowd. They have the strength to withstand adversity, allowing them to see, accept and face the obstacles in their way. While many leaders made impressive progress throughout the year, some companies have gone above and beyond to move the needle, helping Indiana drive innovation and entrepreneurship.

DocuMentor While some businesses slowed • Easy to use down in 2020, DocuMentor software chose to accelerate. CEO solutions for William Birdsong said that provider agencies when the pandemic hit, he serving the aged was the only team member. and disabled After receiving a Paycheck • Founded in 2017 Protection Program Loan and • Located in a COVID-19 Economic Injury Indianapolis Disaster Loan, Birdsong hired new employees, which led to increased sales, allowing the company to gain traction. The company was ultimately accepted into TechStars, a startup accelerator that helps entrepreneurs succeed with funding opportunities, workshops, and other resources.

2020 has been a unique challenge. We made a pivot and changed our approach to become ‘give first’. We moved from focusing on the sale to focusing on where we could give away value to the customer base.

William Birdsong,

CEO of DocuMentor

Amplified Sciences

The spotlight on diagnostics this year has personally challenged me as a CEO to make sure I was keeping up with things like product development, FDA regulations and other industry trends.

Diana Caldwell 18

CEO of Amplified Sciences

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• In-vitro Amplified Sciences is making steady progress diagnostic on its lead assay for early detection of (IVD) startup pancreatic cancer. The year 2020 put focused on a spotlight on the IVD market due detecting and to COVID-19, thus reinforcing the pre-empting need for highly accurate, fast and the risks of accessible diagnostics. At the height debilitating of the pandemic, Amplified Sciences diseases preserved cash in several ways. CEO • Founded Diana Caldwell said the company paused in 2016 on hiring staff, delayed opening a lab until • Located May, and only ordered equipment that was in West critical for business. Amplified Sciences’ Lafayette resilience paid off, as the company not only survived 2020, but oversubscribed a funding round totaling over $1.15M. In addition, the company earned both the Judges’ and People’s choice awards in the Diagnostics track Pitch Perfect event during the MedCity INVEST virtual conference in July.


ConverSight.ai • Artificial intelligence and adaptive analytics platform company • Founded in 2017 • Located in Carmel

ConverSight.ai’s app myLIBRO serves over

30,000 people each day

Even during a tough year, ConverSight.ai saw significant growth and opportunities on both supply chain and library products. In 2020, the company raised $1.5M. CEO Ganesh Gandhieswaran said the funding allowed the startup to invest in growing sales and marketing efforts as it focused on helping supply chain organizations react to market shifts impacted by COVID-19. In response to the pandemic, Conversight.ai released new contactless features to its library app, myLIBRO. The app integrates public and university library systems, allowing patrons to select materials remotely from their mobile device and schedule curbside pickup at their local library.

Daxeos • Cloud-based technology to help facilities keep workers safe in the face of the pandemic

We’ve gained deeper access and seen more teen girls using Moxie Girl to improve their mental health than ever before. This is largely because of the rise in families and specifically teen girls being more open to using telehealth solutions.

Lydia Henshaw

CEO and founder of Moxie Girl

Moxie Girl • A mobile app focused on improving teen girls and young women’s behavioral health through certified peer support and goal setting

Moxie Girl’s mission of growing more than 10 million confident girls in 10 years stands, but CEO and founder Lydia Henshaw made several changes in 2020. Those changes included narrowing the focus to girls with mental and behavioral illnesses due to the radical impact of mental health on confidence; updating the target range of the app’s users • Founded from ages 8-12 to ages 13-26; in 2019 switching the focus from working with pediatricians to working with • Located in behavioral health providers; and Jeffersonville lastly, Moxie Girl’s mentors are now getting state-certified as peer supporters and will be able to provide a Medicaid-billable service through the app. In the end, Henshaw expressed the most important aspect in driving these decisions was ensuring that their services were getting into the hands of the girls who need them the most.

While running LHP, an engineering services company, CEO Dominic Wilde and his team saw the opportunity to create a product • Founded in 2020 business to help solve some of the challenges • Located in brought on by the Columbus pandemic, which lead to the launch of Daxeos. Wilde said that while the hope is that COVID-19 is short-lived and vaccines will become readily available, some of the impacts on people’s lives and jobs are set to become permanent. The startup’s first application, Connected Health Analytics, is designed to help companies emerge from a crisis faster and resilient. The application accurately tracks and traces worker contacts and provides simple visual analytic tools to evaluate the overall exposure risk to employees in the event of an infection. In addition, Connected Health mitigates liability issues by protecting workers and by demonstrating management’s commitment to safety issues.

Since COVID-19 began, Moxie Girl’s user base has grown over 90%

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ENTREPRENEURIAL

Resilience 212 Creative • Connects creatives to the knowledge and resources they need to turn ideas into opportunities regardless of geographic or economic limitations • Founded in 2017 • Located in Fort Wayne

Through a challenging year, 212 Creative persevered and even launched a new platform, called “Aha”. The knowledge sharing platform allows creative professionals to interact with other users by sharing their stories and experiences. Aha helps recognize creatives in the most unlikely of places across America, leveling the playing field with coastal cities. Co-CEO and co-founder Matt McClure said Aha has helped alleviate some stress within the global creative community. Aha’s model is part subscription and part open access. 212 Creative decided to widen the open access component to be more responsive to the needs of their users, allowing access to those who may have been facing budget limitations.

Digital Leader Academy • Provides curricula on emerging technologies to help high school students become tech-savvy and gain employable skills • Founded in 2019

Pivoting during the pandemic has opened up doors, because unlike before, creative professionals can work from anywhere, allowing for a stronger virtual workforce.

Matt McClure

co-CEO and co-founder of 212 Creative

EZ-Chow • Digital customer engagement platform that provides online ordering solutions for restaurant and hospitality organizations • Founded in 2015 • Located in New Albany

• Located in South Bend

When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, two of the four Digital Leader Academy (DLA) founders, Ellen Joyce and Alex Topalovic, were running the company while overseas, unable to return to the United States due to travel restrictions. The company faced the unique challenge of communicating remotely with schools operating many time zones away, however, Zoom allowed scheduling time with teachers. Despite the extra challenges, DLA received a $20K investment from Elevate’s Community Ideation Fund to enable creating a minimum viable product and begin creating test lessons to send to teachers. DLA announced in November that it had partnered with SIMBA Chain, another Elevate portfolio company, to bring blockchain curriculum and certifications to high school students across the United States. The curriculum will be launched in spring 2021.

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EZ-Chow closed on a seed round of funding from Elevate and other investment partners on the day that many states were putting stay-athome orders in place. CEO Mo Sloan said this was both good and bad timing. The positive aspect was that the company was able to secure the funding that they needed. However, with so many restaurants using online ordering during this time, the company had little time to prepare to scale quickly. Sloan said that EZChow’s volume was rapidly increasing, and it became overwhelming, especially with only four employees. When things settled down slightly in the summer, Sloan said the company had an opportunity to make the infrastructure changes needed to move forward.

During 2020, EZ-Chow doubled its customer locations and tripled its volume


Eleven Fifty Academy • Nonprofit organization focused on software development courses designed to accelerate the learning curve for people of all ages and skill sets

Eleven Fifty Academy’s mission is to build an ecosystem of coding talent that financially benefits the individual, their employer, and their community. With an initial investment of $40K and a matching grant from CenterPoint Energy, Elevate Southwest Indiana created 16 • Founded in 2015 scholarships for individuals wishing to skill up with Eleven Fifty Academy and • Located in Indianapolis the zero interest Progressive Income Share Agreement (PISA) fund. Thanks to the CARES Act*, these funds will be utilized in 2021 to further the advancement of Hoosiers in SW Indiana. Elevate Southwest Indiana is bridging relationships to secure location space for classrooms and enabling connections with higher education. Eleven Fifty Academy continued its success when Elevate Northeast Indiana signed a contract with the organization at the end of 2020.

Collaboration is important for cultivating a tech talent funnel throughout the state. We are grateful to have a supportive ecosystem with civic and corporate engagement — as this is critical for transformational growth in coding and cybersecurity careers.

*At time of publishing, seven Evansville residents had utilized the CARES Act funding to skill up with Eleven Fifty.

founder and president of Eleven Fifty Academy

Scott Jones,

Eleven Fifty Academy accelerates its graduates into the workforce 16x faster than a college degree, at a fraction of the cost, with similar placement and salary outcomes Blaire Biomedical founder and CTO, Dr. Melanie Watson, has embodied resilience since she first launched the biotechnology startup. While living in Texas, Watson’s youngest daughter was diagnosed with pediatric liver cancer. Watson drove five hours twice a week for her daughter’s lab work. Determined • Empowers patients with a handheld pointthere must be a safer way for her daughter and other immunocompromised of-care medical device patients to get blood work done, she decided to make the technology herself. • Founded in 2018 Watson began the company in Texas, but later moved to northeast Indiana. • Located in Angola She discovered the region’s strong entrepreneurial network and received a grant to help secure a patent on the intellectual property. The company received a Community Ideation Fund investment from Elevate Ventures in 2017 as well as two grants from the Angola Investment Fund in 2018 and 2019. With 2020 being the year of telemedicine, Blaire Biomedical persevered and secured private angel investment of $306K, won $80K in seed funding from the Elevate Nexus Pitch Competition and is preparing for an upcoming clinical study with Parkview Health in February 2021.

Blaire Biomedical

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ENTREPRENEURIAL

Resilience

Its Here

LensQuote • A web-based app to give patients a breakdown of pricing, discounts, insurance, and rebates for contact lens sales

• Reduces the amount of time a package spends on a porch by creating the fastest alert system after a package has been delivered • Founded in 2020 • Located in New Albany

Its Here founder Kela Ivonye said he anticipated the fundraising challenges the company would have, so the team lowered their burn rate and only focused on the most important aspects of the company. Ivonye had exited his last company and was able to write the first check for Its Here, which helped garner support from angel investors. He said if he had not taken that first risk, it would have been harder to put together a quick $100K angel round. In addition, Its Here received funding from Elevate’s Community Ideation Fund, as well as a pre-seed award from the Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competition.

• Founded in 2016 • Located in Bluffton

Since April, LensQuote has grown its accounts

BY 48% With most of its customer base shut down due to COVID-19, LensQuote faced some difficulties. However, CEO Ryan Gustus said the company persevered from a practical perspective. Due to the company’s low-cost/highefficiency model, they were able to help their customers by pausing payments and then re-starting them once their offices were re-opened. Gustus said customers were extremely appreciative of this and it helped boost the company’s wordof-mouth recommendations. Rest assured LensQuote did not remain stagnant during the shutdown – the company used the time to continue building the business by pursuing new accounts. In addition, LensQuote received seed funding from the Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competition in Fall 2020.

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We are fortunate to have participation from Elevate Ventures’ Community Ideation fund, which allowed us to close this round and start building a lasting relationship.

Kela Ivoyne

founder of Its Here

Motivating Systems • Develops software for schools to reinforce and improve behaviors through positive recognition • Founded in 2016 • Located in Evansville

While originally aiming for 65% growth over 2019, once the pandemic hit, Motivating Systems hoped to stay even. As of December, the company is seeing around 33% growth.

With school districts as its main customer base, maintaining data privacy was already a top priority and part of Motivating Systems character. CEO Pat Heck said the company has a fine-tuned business continuity plan from the perspective of “What if our building burned down - can we continue to operate well the next morning?” With this strategy, the company already had the team and operations set up to work virtually, so when the pandemic hit, the transition was nearly seamless. While the internal team had a smooth adjustment, Heck said schools typically prefer working in person, so switching to virtual training presented some challenges. However, Motivating Systems was able to host online webinars, using many of the tools and resources already in place for fully virtual schools.


INVANTI • Startup studio that helps entrepreneurial-minded people launch companies that improve the daily lives of Americans • Founded in 2017 • Located in South Bend

MITO Material Solutions • Creates specialty additives that boost performance and durability of fiber-reinforced polymer materials such as resins and epoxies, plastics and fiberglass • Founded in 2016 • Located in Indianapolis

MITO Material Solutions started as a classroom project in 2016 at Oklahoma State University, where founders Haley and Kevin Keith discovered substantial market demand for low concentration, polymer modifiers. After receiving a Phase I NSF SBIR grant and preseed funding, the company officially launched in 2018, then relocated to Indianapolis in 2019. The company began 2020 knowing they needed to raise money. Once the pandemic hit, MITO was able to receive a PPP Loan that helped maintain its resiliency through the tough times. In addition, MITO Material Solutions received the first investment from Elevate’s new Smart and Advanced Manufacturing Fund (SAM Fund).

Industries are realizing that you have to build resiliency and efficiencies together. Manufacturing lost sight of that as the supply chains became more fragmented, and it was a really great lesson to watch the world learn as I am building a manufacturing startup.

Haley Keith,

CEO of MITO Material Solutions

Pre-COVID-19: INVANTI helped 12 pre-idea founders in 2 years. From June 2020Dec 2020, the company helped 53 pre-idea founders.

THE INITIATORS GUILD IS: 71% Female | 58% Minority

17 States represented 10 Indiana residents

Before March, INVANTI’s model involved moving founders from across the country to South Bend on the premise the organization would help identify a problem affecting Americans, iterate solutions and business models and launch a company. The onset of the pandemic made it clear the full-time, inperson model was no longer viable, so INVANTI pivoted quickly. It developed a remote, digital, part-time version of the process and branded it the Initiators Guild. IVANTI created digital templates of its process using Miro and a digital community using Slack. The efforts led to a boost in collaboration, feedback and support among Guild members that far exceeded in-person engagements. Six months into the pivot, co-founder Maria Gibbs said the team learned the remote, part-time model better activates pre-idea talent to start companies. INVANTI intends to double down on the model even after pandemic restrictions are lifted.

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ENTREPRENEURIAL

Resilience

Vibenomics 2020 was an interesting year for Vibenomics, having faced many of the same headwinds that most experienced this year with COVID-19. CEO Brent Oakley said that as an Audio Out-of-Home advertising company, the team was extremely worried about how brands would react to the pandemic. While many companies shifted their thinking and pulled back on advertising budgets, Vibenomics was still able to grow through point-of-sale advertising. Vibenomics is a content publisher in Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer, and thousands of convenience stores across the country, which are collectively visited by 20 million people a day despite COVID-19. This allowed the company’s network to be an appealing advertising buy for brands like Nestle, Kellogg’s and Anheuser-Busch, helping Vibenomics grow from $470K in advertising sales in 2019 to $3.5M in 2020. Oakley said he expects that trend to hold in 2021 as the company continues to bring other grocery and convenience store chains onto networks.

• Location-based audio out-of-home advertising and experience company that powers custom radio stations for retailers • Founded in 2017 • Located in Indianapolis

2020 definitely threw some curveballs our way, but I’m incredibly proud of the Vibenomics team for working as hard as they did throughout the year so that we could bring the nation’s largest grocer onto our network and increase advertising revenue by nearly 650%.

Brent Oakley

CEO of Vibenomics

Vibenomics grew from 2,300 locations in 2019 to 6,400 locations in 2020 RAZOR Medical Instruments, Inc (RMI) • Develops singleuse instrument technology, used in large-joint replacement surgeries • Founded in 2016 • Located in Warsaw

In 2020, even markets that are commonly immune to disruption were affected by the pandemic. RMIs’ direct customers, including original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), surgeons and hospitals, were devastated by the three-month shutdown of elective procedures. As some restrictions lifted, more elective procedures moved from hospitals to outpatient surgery centers. While the centers lack the massive central sterilization capacities and infrastructure to process reusable instruments, RMI’s single-use instruments provide an innovative solution. RMI President and CTO, Bruce Khalili commented, “Even before COVID-19, the medical device industry experienced a major push to collaborate on more efficient and cost-effective methods for delivering instruments and implants for joint replacement procedures.”

RMI has trained 80 U.S. surgeons on their product; in 2021, the company will introduce 4 new product lines; by 2022 partnerships with OEMs will afford RMI access to 75% of the market.

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Blueprint Stats • Uses human analysis and machine learning to help high school sports teams improve their game • Founded in 2017 • Located in Bloomington

As a sports-tech startup, Blueprint Stats faced some obvious challenges in 2020. In response to the slowdown, and at times, complete stoppage of sports across the country and world, the company made some adjustments. It shifted its market focus from high school team sales to the wider audience of club and grassroots sports. Blueprint Stats also focused on product development and completely overhauled its technology. The company took advantage of increased collaboration and willingness from the industry and engaged in several pilots of the technology that will be announced in early 2021.

In Q4 of 2020 Blueprint Stats successfully raised $80K from Elevate Ventures

This was a great year for Blueprint despite the pandemic and its associated challenges. Just like any championship team would, we found opportunities within the obstacles, and overcame. We got through 2020 by sticking together, and are now entering 2021 a stronger, more focused company.

Hunter Hawley,

CEO of Blueprint Stats

Stagetime • Online professional network for the performing arts

For Stagetime CEO Jennie Moser, 2020 was a momentous • Founded in 2019 year. The startup • Located in graduated from Bloomington Elevate Origins in the first quarter of the year and then received a Community Ideation Fund from Elevate in the summer. Soon after, two developers working on Stagetime had to pull out of the project due to changes in priorities and commitments brought about by the pandemic. The company went from a team of developers and no funding to a team of no developers and some funding. TMoser was prompted to build a minimum viable product on a low-code platform and allow the company to build quickly. The wait list of users grew from 750 in July to 1,300 in December. Stagetime also received seed funding from the Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competition in the fall.

STRE.ME STRE.ME was launched to help organizations simplify business growth and help leaders improve decision making. Moving into 2020, CEO Jack Patton knew the company needed to find the right opportunity that would motivate individuals, teams and organizations to embrace behavior change. After extensive customer discovery, STRE.ME began pivoting its model to focus on implicit bias management. In March, Anne Marie Labenberg was brought in as chief equity officer and co-founder. The challenges of 2020 brought some of STRE.ME’s work to the forefront as customers are now aware of the need to address and manage bias, and allow for more frequent conversations about promoting equitable outcomes.

• An implicit bias management platform that promotes equitable outcomes • Founded in 2018 • Located in Fort Wayne

STRE.ME works with organizations all over the nation including Indiana University’s Kelley Institute for Social Impact, Thomas Jefferson University, Physicians Health Plan (PHP), and additional pilots launching in 2021, including the Mountain View, California Police Department, amongst others.

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ELEVATE TEAM Board of Directors BOB MYER, Director and Chair DON DENSBORN, Director LARRY GARATONI, Director

With a standard of excellence and strong character, the Elevate Ventures team is made up of leaders, innovators and experts across Indiana who truly value the importance and necessity of entrepreneurship. Together, we are working to help Indiana advance by empowering public-private entrepreneurial initiatives in communities across the state.

Statewide Team

CHRIS LaMOTHE, Director STEVE MARTIN, Director JOHN SAMPSON, Director BARBIE WENTWORTH, Director

ALISHA ESTABROOK Senior Manager of Conferences & Events

CHELSEA MARBURGER Program Manager, University Initiatives

JULIA FRENCH Analyst

JACOB SCHPOK Vice President of Entrepreneurial Services & Entrepreneur-inResidence

DAMARIS GAITAN Officer Manager & Executive Assistant

ERICA SCHWEYER Vice President of Marketing & Communications

TING GOOTEE, CFA, CAIA, CIPM Chief Investment Officer

RACHEL SMITH Communications Specialist

MARK GRAMELSPACHER Executive Director of SAM Fund & Entrepreneur-inResidence

AMNA SOHAIL Senior Analyst

LA’TOYA HOWARD Staff Accountant

BARBARA UGGEN-DAVIS, CPA, CMA Chief Financial Officer

CHRIS LaMOTHE Chief Executive Officer

LANDON YOUNG, PH.D. Director of University Initiatives & Entrepreneurin-Residence

PHIL LODATO, Secretary

Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Do you know what it means to be resilient? Our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence do! EIRs provide entrepreneurs with business advisory services to help them navigate the uncharted waters of starting a business, from launch to exit, and every decision in between.

KYLE KEENEY, PH.D Southern Indiana NICHOLAS KUHN North Central Indiana DAN MEEK Northeast Indiana CY MEGNIN South Central Indiana MIKE SHEPARD Central Indiana ERIC STEELE Southwest Indiana

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PHIL LODATO General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer


ELEVATE ADVISORS Elevate Advisors work with our portfolio companies and connect them with the knowledge, people and resources to help them grow. This group of men and women has persevered through difficult times and represents leaders in business, including current and former company founders who have achieved large, successful outcomes; corporate executives and board members of market-leading companies; and investors experienced in achieving strategic exits.

ANIL BANSAL

TIM BRAUN

DAVID BROECKER

CHRISTOPHER CLAPP

DAN DAWES

MAX DUARTE

MICHAEL EARLEY

FRITZ FRENCH

IRENA GOLOSCHOKIN

BARBARA KEW

KARL KOEHLER

BRIAN KOPP

WADE LANGE

TIM MAGINN

KEVIN MARTIN

BILL McCONNELL

THOMAS MILLAY

JOHN MILLER

JANE NIEDERBERGER

MONTY RIFFER

THOMAS SHRYOCK

TOM STONE

JENNY VANCE

BOB VITOUX

JIM ZALOUDEK

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CONTACT ELEVATE VENTURES 50 E 91st Street, Suite 213 Indianapolis, IN 46240 (317) 975-1901 ElevateVentures.com

Profile for Elevate Ventures

Elevate Ventures 2020 Annual Report  

Elevate Ventures 2020 Annual Report