Gutwein Law's Guide to the Indianapolis Startup Community

by Audrey Wessel

We know there are a lot of you out there with ideas, but you may not know the best place to start, or how to get involved in the startup community. Maybe you’d like to work for a startup, or maybe you’d just like to check out the state of entrepreneurship in Indiana. Luckily, Indianapolis has a thriving startup community, complete with individuals and organizations ready to help you succeed.   

The list below may not be everything that’s going on in Indianapolis, but if you start here, we are confident that you will be able to network your way to the events and associations that are right for you.

As a disclaimer, Gutwein Law supports some of the organizations below, and we have informal relationships with others.  However, inclusion in the list below does not indicate any affiliation between the organization and Gutwein Law – this list is intended to be an educational starting point for the startup community. Opinions and commentary offered are based on our staff’s experience with the listed programs.

Finally, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic (more information on that here), we know that some of the events below have either been cancelled for now or moved to remote events. Just click on the links we provide to find out more in each case.

  • Events
    • AgriNovus – An organization focused on Ag, Bio, and Science startups and entrepreneurs. Quadrant is AgriNovus’ monthly networking event, and they also host a yearly startup showcase, among other events.
    • Powderkeg – With events happening about once per month, usually each event includes startup founders presenting their business and answering questions from an experienced panel.
    • One Million Cups – Once a month, entrepreneurs present business ideas or early startups to the local community. Attendees can ask questions, and the group discusses how the startup community can help the entrepreneur.
    • gBETA Pitch Nights – More on gBETA below under Accelerators, but about 2-3 times per year, gBETA will host a pitch night for its current cohort to present their businesses to the community. Keep these on your calendar to see some well-prepared pitches and network with a large section of the local startup community.
    • Purdue Foundry – This one isn’t in Indianapolis, but it’s a great organization that deserves a mention. Foundry Grounds is more casual and happens most Fridays during the school year, but the Foundry also hosts special pitch nights and other events through the year, usually on Purdue’s campus.
    • Techpoint – Offers a variety of events and programs, and also compiles other startup and tech focused events happening around the community on their site. Techpoint also hosts the Mira Awards, a yearly celebration of tech success.
    • Elevate Ventures Kinetic Conference – Once a year, Elevate Ventures hosts the Kinetic conference. Packed with experienced and knowledgeable speakers, this is a great event to learn about a variety of topics and of course, network.
    • StartED Up Foundation – Targeted specifically to high schoolers and younger students, this program is a great place to start for students who may be wondering what being an entrepreneur is all about. This group hosts pitch competitions and hackathons as well.
    • Black Hatch Fund -- This group aims to hatch the next generation of black tech entrepreneurs through capital, resources, and networks. Its events include Pardi Gras (Pitch Pardi), Disrupt Indy, and #NimbleTalks.
    • PitchFeast – This group provides under-represented entrepreneurs with business development support, training, and other services. Among other services, they offer pitch practice workshops, and host public pitch events.
    • Startup Ladies – This group offers startup “Study Halls” about once a month featuring experienced speakers, and also hosts other special events.
    • Creative Mornings Indianapolis – CM Indianapolis is less targeted to high-growth startups but is great event for creative freelancers and small businesses.
    • Women Who Code – A global organization that recently opened an Indianapolis branch, these events are targeted to women in technology careers.
    • Venture Club – Hosts networking luncheons and other events designed around topics related to venture funding.
    • Source River West – This group offers start-up and scale-up business workshops approximately monthly.
    • Indy Momprenuers -- A networking community that provides women with free and kid friendly networking meetings in the greater Indianapolis area.
  • Accelerators
    • gBETA – A program of the startup accelerator gener8tor, gBETA is an accelerator for early-stage companies. gBETA does not require fees or equity, and the companies in the gBETA cohorts receive access not only to office hours with tax and legal advisors, but also receive coaching on topics from pitching to potential investors, company valuation, and generally growing a company. gBETA also offers programs in other Indiana cities.
    • gALPHA – Another program of the startup accelerator gener8tor, gALPHA is a venture-creation workshop designed to help entrepreneurs create startups. Similar to gBETA, but more focused on earlier stages, this workshop offers mentorship and coaching to assist in developing an innovative product.
    • Purdue Foundry’s Firestarter and DDX Programs. Not in Indianapolis, but we see many startups (especially agriculture-focused) that started out in the Lafayette area. Firestarter is the Foundry’s earlier stage program, and DDX is targeted more for established start-ups and scale-ups.
    • Endeavor – Focusing on scale-ups, Endeavor is a multinational organization. In the Midwest, they are based in Louisville, but they have local Indianapolis representatives and accept Indianapolis-based companies into their cohorts.
    • Source River West – Offers a business accelerator designed for potential entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, to bring business ideas to life. Not limited to traditional high-growth startups, this group helps any entrepreneur examine business ideas, and ends with a competition called Pitch Fest.
    • Techstars Sports Accelerator Powered by Indy – This accelerator is located in Indy and will bring in groups from all over the United States. This is designed for sports tech companies.
    • Techstars & The Heritage Group Hardtech Accelerator – Like the sports accelerator, this accelerator will bring in groups from all over the United States and is focused on pioneering next-generation solutions.
  • Other Opportunities
    • Co-Working Studios – Places like Launch Indy, the Speakeasy, and Launch Fishers can be great places to work from if you are looking to make connections with other entrepreneurs.
    • Eleven Fifty Code Academy – for those interested in a potential coding career, a coding academy like this one is worth looking into.
    • Techpoint Job Board and other talent resources– Includes many different types of technology-related jobs and isn’t limited to startups (although you will see many startup jobs posted).
    • The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce offers a resource page with tools for entrepreneurs here. The Chamber also offers a variety of events, many of which are applicable to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
    • The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offers resources on its website here for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
    • The U.S. Small Business Administration also offers a resource website for small businesses here.

If you know of a great organization or event we missed, let us know!

We hope to see you at some of these events in the future. And as always, if you are ready to get started on the startup or small business path but have legal questions or concerns, we are here to help.