Indiana Innovation – Attention from Salesforce and Beyond

by Stephan Vincent

 Indiana Innovation - Attention from Salesforce and BeyondLast year’s acquisition of Indianapolis’ ExactTarget by Salesforce for $2.5 billion helped Indiana get national attention, credibility and capital as becoming a center for innovation.

From the stock options gains generated by the acquisition, “many current and former ExactTarget staffers have turned into investors, employees and advisors for a bevy of other local startups, lending experience and wealth to help the next generation of tech successes grow”says Mike Langellier, CEO of TechPoint.

The Indy tech scene now draws interest from investors and talent outside the state.

To support this effort, TechPoint, Indiana’s technology growth initiative, unveiled in November 2013 the pilot of a first-of-its kind talent recruiting program called IndyX aimed at attracting and retaining skilled individuals by connecting them to the Indianapolis community and thousands of open jobs in tech companies.

The summer coolness in the Midwest does not affect the heat on innovation. Indianapolis has been surfing on the wave of innovation, with many initiatives: Mira Awards, the Innovation Showcase, the Day of Innovation conference…

On May 4, the Mira Awards recognized among others Interactive Intelligence as the Tech Company of the Year, and DoubleMap as the Tech Startup of the Year. The number of applications (record of 170) was an increase of 40% from last year.

On July 10, the Innovation Showcase attracted 850 attendees including entrepreneurs, investors and community supporters. Investor eduction sessions, pitches and exhibits by Midwest startups, panel discussions were the highlight of the event. The winner, Cearna Aesthetics, received the largest ever prize which included $128,000 in investment and professional services.

On August 28Centric, an Indianapolis innovation networking group, will host the Day of Innovation conference with local and national innovation thought leaders, with the mission to elevate Indianapolis as a center of innovation. It will also recognize innovative Hoosier companies with the Indiana Innovation Awards.

On January 22, Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann announced that the Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC) was partnering with Launch Fishers to establish the Launch Indiana SBDC (“Launch Indiana”). Launch Indiana connects Indiana’s innovation-driven entrepreneurs with mentorship, education, and assistance from successful entrepreneurs. It serves entrepreneurs statewide with a sharp focus on high potential companies known as, what Launch Fishers founder Wechsler calls, “Innovation Driven Enterprises.”

Indiana may never be the new Silicon Valley, but it can become a major player on the national innovation scene. The more we educate, inspire, motivate and support local entrepreneurs, the more ExactTargets there will be…

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Stephan Vincent is Director of Cultural Transformation at Collidea, a strategic innovation firm in Carmel, IN. He is also Founder and President of s.p.IN and Collide Summit Indiana, a first-of-its- kind un-conference unlike anything else. Stephan is a new contributor to IX, sharing insights from his own blog.

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