The team at IU Ventures, who connects investors and donors to Indiana University-affiliated startups, made significant progress during the 2019-20 fiscal year, despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We met with more than 100 IU entrepreneurs and innovators during the year, and the work they have done in their respective industries is heartening. We have seen firsthand how IU people and technologies are impacting Indiana and the world,” said Teri Willey, executive director of IU Ventures and fund manager of IU Philanthropic Venture Fund LLC and Innovate Indiana Fund LLC. “Those meetings have led to several opportunities to strengthen IU’s entrepreneurial impact through fund investments and angel network connections.”
IU Ventures makes and oversees IU Philanthropic Venture Fund and the Innovate Indiana Fund investments.
Seven Philanthropic Venture Fund investments totaling $2,675,000 were made during IU’s 2019-20 fiscal year:
- NuCurrent, $1 million
- Mentor Collective, $500,000
- Canopy, $300,000
- NERx Biosciences, $250,000
- Qumulex, $250,000
- The Bee Corp, $250,000
- Amplified Sciences, $125,000
It made three follow-on investments worth $776,000:
The Philanthropic Venture Fund’s emphasis on syndication, or co-investing to complete one or more rounds of financing, facilitated another $20 million in investments made in addition to the fund’s own.
The Philanthropic Venture Fund saw its first company exit the portfolio. In August, Doxly was acquired by Chicago-based Litera Microsystems.
The Innovate Indiana Fund made three follow-on investments in 2019-20:
- Diagnotes, $125,000
- Periodic, $100,000
- MomentPath, $50,000
And Costello become the third company to exit the Innovate Indiana Fund portfolio. Costello was acquired by Atlanta-based SalesLoft in October 2019.
“Companies leaving either portfolio is a cause for celebration because it means they have been able to fully repay the fund’s investment, founders and investors earn a return to further invest or donate and IU innovations reach the public,” Willey said. “Because returns to the IU Ventures are reinvested, the successes of our current portfolio companies will directly impact future support for IU and investments in other IU-affiliated businesses.”
IU Ventures also leads and manages the IU Angel Network, which launched in 2020. IU Angel Network facilitates connections between IU-affiliated startups and prospective angel investors among Indiana University’s global community of alumni, faculty, staff, students and other friends of IU.
Since it started receiving pitches from IU-affiliated companies in February 2020, the IU Angel Network has grown to 26 members. The network of angel investors has received seven live pitches, which led to $200,000 in total investments:
“The IU Angel Network has seen a steady increase in growth related to recruiting new angels, and we have been fortunate to fund additional new deals,” said Jason Whitney, executive director. “We will continue to expand the network’s footprint by doing intentional outreach to markets we have not previously done work in including Dallas, Atlanta and Seattle.”
IU Ventures was also recognized as one of the top five most active venture capital firms based on the number of deals in Indiana made in the first half of 2020.
“Recognition of our work at IU Ventures is always encouraging,” said Samantha Ginther, senior associate and head of platform at IU Ventures. “We are especially honored to be named alongside Elevate Ventures, High Alpha, Techstars Sports Accelerator and Pit Road Fund, who are leaders in the Indiana venture ecosystem. Being in their company shows we are on the right track with two relatively new initiatives.”