Diving deeper: Powderkeg and Startup Ladies events

This is the second in a series of blogs featuring the Indianapolis venture community, written by Evening MBA student Katie Wilson, MBA'20.

The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind, with a number of venture community events occurring in the Indianapolis area -- Including two that I attended.

Powderkeg hosted a pitch night at the Vogue in Broad Ripple on February 28th. I’m not sure if it was the venue, the weather or the participants but the crowd was electric and engaged for the MarTech Madness event. Marketing technology may be one of the leading technology segments in Indianapolis, possibly due to the success and acquisition of ExactTarget and Salesforce’s entrance into the city, so I was really looking forward to seeing what the pitches would be and what new things the companies are working on. I was not disappointed!

The advisors for the pitch night were top notch; each of them representing a technology company in Indianapolis including Salesforce, PERQ and Genesys. The presenters of the pitches were well prepared, knowledgeable and brought great energy to the stage. ActiveCampaign, an integrated email marketing, marketing automation and small business CRM company, focused their presentation on their talent and employees. They opened an office in Indianapolis, and their ask was for some of the local talent to connect with them for the more than 200 jobs they are looking to bring to the Indy area. If you are looking to work with a great company with an employee focus, check them out!

Next for the company pitches was Angie’s List, a marketing tech staple in the Indianapolis area. The presenter gave us a history of Angie’s List, which was quite entertaining and included old pictures from past campaigns. Angie’s List is growing and looking to new opportunities, and their ask for the night was also new talent.

Last we heard from Lessonly, a company offering training software to help customers and teams Do Better Work. They also had an insightful yet entertaining presentation that included the history of their company mascot, the llama. The llama, Ollie, has helped them to grow their business, grow their customers and bring together their stakeholders around golden llamas. They also wrote a book called "Do Better Work" that you should check out if you're interested.

On March 6th, I had the pleasure of attending a meet up of The Startup Ladies at Novel Coworking in Indianapolis. The Startup Ladies is welcoming of all individuals and works to build knowledge and create connections between investors and entrepreneurs. The group features “study hall” sessions around the city each month by inviting a speaker to address the group. This particular session featured Lesley Weidenbener, managing editor of the Indianapolis Business Journal. Her topic, "Don’t fear the media!,” was insightful and valuable to all industries, not just startups.

Lesley gave great recommendations on how to prepare for media interviews, why its good to speak to the media and how the media can be your ally. She also discussed some new features the IBJ is rolling out, including a social media presence and podcast that will help them to evolve with the ever-changing media scene. It was a delight to partake in such an interesting event!

Join me as I continue to explore the venture community in Indianapolis by attending an event by one of the featured groups here, or another one that catches your fancy. You won’t be disappointed!