Published On: 05/17/2024Categories: Agbiosciences, Industry News

Indiana’s Top Startup Companies Will Take the Stage at the Innovation Showcase Pitch Competition

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May 8, 2024 – 40 years ago, March 1984, a little-known startup called “The Venture Club of Indiana” was formed!

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, The Venture Club of Indiana began as a humble startup. Visionary leaders in the community came together to create the first “Venture Club” in the United States with the ambition to provide resources and guidance to the Indiana startup and venture capital community. Since then, thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and leaders have graced the meetings, connections, and resources of The Venture Club.

No longer is Indiana known as just another “fly over” state. Now we stand as a hot bed of entrepreneurial talent and the resources to support founders from initial launch to scale.

The Innovation Showcase will feature a great Indiana founder’s story as we welcome Max Yoder, former CEO of Lessonly who will share his journey from a High Alpha studio company to acquisition by Seismic in 2021. His insights promise to inspire and enlighten attendees about the highs and lows of the Lessonly journey and the successful exit.

Hundreds of entrepreneurs have been on the Innovation Showcase mainstage, all striving for that successful and innovative journey – be it an IPO, a merger with another company, or just long-lived success in Indiana. Truly this stage is “Where Capital Meets Innovation.”

The 2024 Showcase will be no different. In its 16th year, The Innovation Showcase, Indiana’s premier pitch event for Indiana startups, is thrilled to announce the lineup of 22 pioneering companies that will compete in the highly anticipated pitch competition on June 5th at the Indiana State Museum. Representing a diverse range of industries and groundbreaking technologies, these companies are poised to showcase their innovative solutions and contend for recognition and support from industry leaders, investors, and the entrepreneurial community.

“This year’s Innovation Showcase Pitch Competition will bring many new companies with their game changing potential to our mainstage,” said Sandy Wilcox, Program Chair. “We are thrilled to welcome such a diverse, innovative group of companies, who will pitch to a room full of investors looking for the next opportunity to invest in high-potential, Indiana-based startups. The judges will certainly be challenged to pick our winners.”

John Hanak, a founding member of the Innovation Showcase previously involved in organizing and supporting the event, is now participating as a pitch company with VinSense. This marks a unique milestone for Hanak, who reflects on the journey with a mix of irony, humility, and pride.

“Having been with the Innovation Showcase since its inception is kind of ironic for me now that I will be presenting a company – VinSense – there,” said Hanak. “It’s also somewhat humbling as I can clearly see how much effort the presenting companies put into this. Irony or humbling – the fact remains that I am very proud to be among the incredible companies that have been nominated to showcase their wares here. I am looking forward to being a part of it again…this time from a different perspective.”

Hanak’s transition from event creator to pitch company participant underscores the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship and innovation. His long experience and dedication to the Innovation Showcase and Venture Club of Indiana community brings a valuable perspective to the stage.

On June 5th, these 22 companies will have the opportunity to pitch their ventures to a panel of esteemed judges and a captivated audience. In addition to the pitches, the event will feature keynote presentations from Disruptive Innovation leader ARK Invest and TechPoint Mira “Tech Company of the Year” Authenticx. Panel discussions, Entrepreneur’s Exposition, and networking are other opportunities for insight and connection.

The pitch competition consists of four sessions scheduled throughout the day. Each startup presenter will have three minutes to present their case. The winners will be announced at 5 p.m., with a total of $30,000 in prizes awarded to the top finishers across three categories: Digital Tech, Hard Tech/Agtech and Life Sciences. Additionally, all pitch competitors will have the opportunity to engage with investors throughout the day one-on-one.

The judging panel for the Pitch Competition comprises Susan Batchelder, Clinical Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Kelley School of Business; Christopher “Toph” Day, CEO of Elevate Ventures; Vince Wong, CEO and President of BioCrossroads. Nominated companies represent the portfolios of Elevate Ventures, Boomerang Ventures, gener8tor, Render Capital, Purdue, Flywheel Fund, VisionTech and Biocrossroads. The judges must evaluate these companies pitching in the Innovation Showcase:


  1. Amplified Sciences
  2. Contango
  3. Covert Defenses
  4. Early is Good
  5. Folia
  6. Habit-Halo
  7. Insignum
  9. Mili Llama
  10. Neurava
  11. Paradise Spreads
  12. Primary Record
  13. Respiratory Health Technologies
  14. rScan
  15. Tactile Engineering
  16. Tangler Wrangler
  17. Terran Robotics
  18. Titlewise
  19. Torchlite
  20. Uniform Sierra Aerospace
  21. VinSense
  22. WPR Services


And the winners are…join us for an exciting celebration of entrepreneurial talent in Indiana!


Register here: