Elevate Ventures CEO Christopher Day speaks to reporters at the Indiana Global Economic Summit in downtown Indianapolis on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Leslie Bonilla Muñiz/Indiana Capital Chronicle)
Elevate Ventures CEO Christopher Day speaks to reporters at the Indiana Global Economic Summit in downtown Indianapolis on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Leslie Bonilla Muñiz/Indiana Capital Chronicle)
Startups, rejoice.

The state of Indiana and a local venture capital company plan to launch a $100 million venture capital fund targeted toward growth-stage firms, officials announced Thursday. The announcement came minutes after Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb opened the state’s second Global Economic Summit.

Indiana under Holcomb dedicated $250 million to start-ups in 2017. But officials said there was still a gap.

“Now, in addition to being able to help cultivate and foster the growth from a start-up, now Indiana will continue to be able to play a key role in having that innovation go from … one stage to the next,” Holcomb said.

“This is filling that void that’s been there,” he added. 

Elevate Ventures CEO Christopher Day indicated the fund was a long-held goal.

“In the state of Indiana, we have never had a growth-stage fund. I’ve been dreaming about this literally for 16 years,” he said.

Day said he believed Indiana could be the “innovation capital of the world,” highlighting the state’s infrastructure, talent, cost of living and other key factors.

Elevate Ventures will anchor the fund with a $25 million commitment from its returns, according to a news release. The company plans to raise an additional $75 million through the private market.

It plans to begin forming the fund late in the second quarter — which stretches from April to June — and make its first investments in 2025, per the news release.

Most of the investments will be in fast series A start-ups, or Series B and beyond, Day said. That’s generally companies with $7-$8 million or more in revenue, he added. They’d use the funds to scale product development, marketing and sales.

More deals close

Holcomb also joined Purdue University President Mung Chiang and Elanco CEO Jeff Summins Thursday afternoon to announce a new OneHealth Innovation District in Indianapolis.

Greenfield-based Elanco, an animal health firm, is building a new headquarters on the former GM stamping plant site located near downtown, on the White River’s west bank.

The sprawling plant closed in 2011. After demolition, the site — which required environmental remediation — lay vacant for years. A previous proposal to redevelop the property died and a legal fight ensued, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Elanco’s new headquarters would now be accompanied by a shared-use research facility with space for offices, wet labs and incubators.

“The research facility will propel the state’s vision to anchor our regional technology hub as a key addition to the One Health Innovation District aimed at accelerating collaborative innovation in our life sciences,” Holcomb said in a news release. “The partnership marks a rare and noteworthy move wherein a global health company, a university and a government come together with a shared vision. The district will create an ecosystem that is focused on talent, applied research and innovation that can be sustained for generations to come.”

The partnership with the university, a part of the integrated “One Health” approach, “is designed to increase the ability prevent, predict, detect and respond to health threats,” according to the release.

Elanco further committed to sharing technology development capacity in its current Indianapolis facility and later in the completed innovation district, and to contributing up to $2 million to launch a new Animal Health Venture Fund.

It’s also a win for Purdue, which will lose most of its presence in Circle City when its joint campus with Indiana University officially splits in July. Chiang, Purdue’s president, said all of his university’s programs would “find homes throughout our state’s capital city.” 

Outside dignitaries and business leaders gather

Minutes beforehand, Holcomb addressed a crowd of onlookers in a speech welcoming the summit’s more than 1,000 attendees.

They include 41 delegations from more than 30 counties, according to Holcomb.

He touted Indiana’s economic growth and public health wins. He also doubled down on the state’s “all of the above” approach to fossil fuels and renewable energy sources.

And he sought to appeal to the summit’s outside guests by denouncing political philosophies opposed to involvement in foreign affairs and supportive of limits on foreign imports.

“Isolationism and raw protectionism actually narrow future horizons, and even worse, show a profound lack of confidence,” Holcomb said. “Of course, today’s new overseas investor here in Indiana may be a competitor to an American business. But … in no time at all that same foreign investor becomes a customer of an American business, not to mention a job creator, a community builder and a source of tax revenues,” he continued. “… The same thing happens when American companies invest and grow on your soil.”

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