Indiana University’s early-stage venture and angel investment arm, IU Ventures, has once again been recognized as one of Indiana’s most active professional investors. A list of those firms appears in the 2021 Indiana Venture Report from Elevate Ventures, a year-end assessment of venture investment activity in the Hoosier state. IU Ventures, which manages multiple early-stage funds to support IU-affiliated entrepreneurs and the state’s economy, made investments in nine Indiana companies totaling $1.2 million in 2021, overcoming the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and adding to a growing portfolio that includes 23 active Indiana companies.
IU Ventures also added investments of $3.1 million made by members of the IU Angel Network into eight new portfolio companies and follow-on investments into several of the 10 companies that received initial investment in 2020. Many of these are Indiana companies. The IU Angel Network facilitates connections between new ventures and prospective investors among IU’s global community of alumni, faculty, staff, students and associates.
“In 2021, our determined team continued to find ways to meaningfully assist our IU founders through financial and other types of support to facilitate their success,” said Jason Whitney, vice president of venture development at IU Ventures and executive director of the IU Angel Network. “We are fortunate to have this opportunity to work with such dedicated entrepreneurs, who want to leverage their IU affiliation and make valuable connections within our growing network of advisors and mentors who can help them push their businesses forward.
“We are also pleased to be able to work with such high-impact investment partners as Elevate Ventures and Biocrossroads that share our mission to help strengthen Indiana’s culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.”
Last year, IU Ventures also launched several new initiatives, including the IU Founders and Funders Network, a global community of IU-affiliated entrepreneurs, innovators and investors working together to push businesses forward; the IU Ventures Fellows Program, which is exposing student entrepreneurs to the world of venture capital; and an inaugural Executive in Residence Program, which includes a diverse class of top executives seeking to accelerate the development of new IU-affiliated ventures by sharing insights and real-world experience with the founders and leaders of companies in the IU Ventures portfolio.
For the first time ever, the Indiana venture market surpassed $1 billion in venture capital investment, according to the report. This is largely due to several Indiana scale-ups leveraging their momentum into sizable growth rounds. Indiana also remained the second-highest state in terms of venture capital deal activity in the Great Lakes region, behind only Illinois. The state reported a total of 159 deals, representing $1.4 billion. The report found a strong uptick in later-stage venture capital deal activity (over $10 million in size) and an emergence of “mega-rounds” in Indiana to be encouraging, as as venture-backed companies continue to mature and attract investments from large out-of-state venture capital funds.
To illustrate the later, the report spotlights two venture founders who have accelerated the development of their companies with financial support from JMI Equity, a growth equity firm based in San Diego and Baltimore that focuses on investing in leading software companies. IU Ventures recently announced that JMI general partner Kathy Fields would be joining its Executive in Residence Program.
About IU Ventures
IU Ventures invests in and supports IU-affiliated early-stage companies. Its investment programs include the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, IU Angel Network, Shoebox Fund and Innovate Indiana Fund. It further supports IU founders through the Executive in Residence Program and IU Founders and Funders Network. Student support is provided through a variety of engagements, including the new IU Venture Fellows Program. Each program takes unique approaches to accelerate and support the positive impacts that entrepreneurs affiliated with IU already achieve across the world. IU Ventures is a recognized leader in increasing opportunities for diverse and historically underserved entrepreneurs and investing in Indiana startups with a shared commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.