Crowd-Funding Effort to Focus on Women

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A new partnership is seeking 100 Indiana women entrepreneurs to launch crowd-funding campaigns through Indiegogo. The initiative, announced at Tuesday's Indiana Governor's Conference for Women, includes resources to help participants put together more effective business pitches.

November 5, 2013

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. -- Silicon Valley came to the Indiana Governor's Conference for Women in Indianapolis today with the announcement of a new crowd-funding initiative that will be open to all Indiana women entrepreneurs. Backed by Elevate Ventures, Indiegogo, the Exact Target Foundation, and the National Association for Women Business Owners, the initiative will officially begin in January 2014.

The announcement was just one highlight of the conference that also included remarks from Governor Mike Pence, Martha Stewart, Charlotte Beers, Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and dozens of nationally and internationally-known businesspeople and authors. The sold-out conference was attended by over 1,000 women.

"This partnership is exactly the type of collaboration that we hoped that this conference would generate," said Deborah Collins Stephens and Billie Dragoo, co-chairs of the inaugural conference. "We believe that this is just the beginning."

"We are thrilled to announce this partnership," said Deborah Collins Stephens, advisor and consultant to the Elevate Ventures Diversity Fund. "In the Hoosier State and across our country, women are leading the way in starting a significant number of our emerging companies. Crowd-funding democratizes the process of getting cash into women entrepreneur’s hands."

The initiative will seek to recruit 100 Indiana-based women entrepreneurs to launch campaigns in two categories -- general consumer goods and technology. The innovative crowd-funding platform from Indiegogo will assist the entrepreneur in developing a stronger and better business model by allowing for real-time feedback from investors effectively voting with their dollars.

"Putting a product on a crowd funding platform not only gets the entrepreneur market validation, it also elicits a groundswell of support," said Amy Lesnick, Head of Cause, Community, and Social Innovation at Indiegogo, a San Francisco-based company that has helped thousands of entrepreneurs in a wide variety of sectors.

Lesnick added that the Indiana initiative is about more than just money. "The Indiana initiative will have a large educational component. Indiegogo and our partners will provide tools and resources for women entrepreneurs to learn crowd-funding best practices, as well as to hone their pitches and business plans in general."

Indiegogo is the world's largest and oldest crowd-funding platform, and reports that nearly 47 percent of the campaigns that reach their funding target on the platform are run by women.

The support and partnership from the National Association of Women Business Owners puts Indiana at the forefront of the crowd-funding model for capital generation.

"As the largest fund-based organization of women business owners in the country, we are excited to launch this campaign in my home state of Indiana," said Billie Dragoo, Chairman and CEO of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

In addition to recruiting women entrepreneurs, the group is seeking additional corporate partners to match the Elevate and Exact Target cash pledges as well as in kind services such as software, legal, marketing, website, social networking, video, office space, advisors and coaches. Indiana based women entrepreneurs and interested corporate partners may visit www.indianagovernorsconference.com for further information.

About Indiegogo

Indiegogo empowers people around the world to fund what matters to them. As the largest global crowd-funding platform, campaigns have launched from every country around the world with millions of dollars being distributed every week due to contributions made by the Indiegogo community. At its core, Indiegogo is the equal opportunity platform dedicated to democratizing the way people raise funds for any project; creative, entrepreneurial, or cause-related. The company was launched in 2008 and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Los Angeles and New York.

For more information, visit www.indiegogo.com and follow us at www.twitter.com/indiegogo and www.facebook.com/indiegogo

About Elevate Ventures

As a private venture development organization Elevate Ventures is committed to helping emerging, high-potential business opportunities find capital and receive expert guidance to become successful, Indiana companies. Established in 2011, Elevate Ventures leverages its statewide, deep bench of dedicated entrepreneurs and investment experts to vet entrepreneurial opportunities and identify those with high potential and high growth.

About NAWBO

Founded in 1975, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide by: strengthening the wealth creating capacity of our members and promoting economic development within the entrepreneurial community; creating innovative and effective change in the business culture; building strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations; and transforming public policy and influencing opinion makers. Learn more at www.nawbo.org.

About Exact Target Foundation

Founded in 2011, the Exact Target Foundation combines the strength of Exact Target technology, employee volunteer activities, & grant-making resources to support projects and programs that address three fundamental pillars: childhood hunger, education, and entrepreneurship.

Source: Indiana Governor's Conference For Women