Growth and Momentum in Indiana’s Startup Ecosystem

NVCA’s ‘Spotlight On’ series highlights VC ecosystems across the country. Our second program featured Indianapolis. Chris LaMothe, Chief Executive Officer at Indiana-based VC firm Elevate Ventures, shares his perspective on the evolution of Indiana’s startup scene and why the region is poised for growth.

Q&A with Chris LaMothe of Elevate Ventures

Can you tell us about your background in the Indiana startup ecosystem? What were your first interactions like?

My first engagement with the startup ecosystem was when I was running the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. I began to encourage state policy toward building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in our state. Eventually that work generated the formation of the 21 Fund, which was an investment vehicle investing in startup and early-stage companies in Indiana. I participated at the early stages of the public policy development around entrepreneurism and innovation in our state back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

After 10 years of being CEO of the Chamber I left to run a wealth management company that invested client assets in a broad range of investments including private equity. I served on the boards of those and other companies and helped in developing and encouraging their growth. That was really the first direct engagement with the ecosystem.

I then left that organization and formed my own private equity company that began investing directly in entrepreneurial startups and existing companies around the Midwest. I ran, grew, and sold several companies over the course of 15 to 20 years. Around (Read more...)