New Fund 'Bets' on Northeast Indiana Entrepreneurs

Posted: Updated:
(Logo courtesy of elevate northeast indiana.) (Logo courtesy of elevate northeast indiana.)

A new collaboration named for Fort Wayne's most famous scientist is boosting entrepreneurship throughout the region. The Farnsworth Fund, launched by elevate northeast indiana and named for "the father of television" Philo T. Farnsworth, involves $1.2 million in grants, seed funding and early-stage investment designed to create "entrepreneurial culture shock." Board Chair Marilyn Moran-Townsend says the smaller scope of the funding helps offset some of the risk aversion traditionally exhibited by investors when it comes to partnering with entrepreneurs. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, she said growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem requires "community, mentors and money." Without all three, Moran-Townsend says, a young business won't get off the ground.

The program opens the door for elevate northeast indiana to build relationships with young founders "whose initial idea might not turn out to be the ultimate winning entrepreneurial effort in that person's lifetime, and that's okay," she said. "We are laying the groundwork for that person to be successful." elevate northeast indiana was launched less than a year ago through a $2 million initiative of Elevate Ventures and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. It has an 11-county footprint.

The funding formula calls for $1,000 grants from a $200,000 pool, another $200,000 for startup investment packages of up to $20,000 and $800,000 from Elevate Ventures for early stage funding rounds. At least 50 $1,000 grants are slated to be awarded this year.

The inaugural group of recipients include:

  • Chauntiel Smith, a South Side High School and Indiana Tech graduate, who launched Capture Sports Agency
  • Sean Rassavong, a senior at New Tech Academy, who has a video production company called Vision
  • Ashli Pershing and Pamela Sprowl, registered nurses at Parkview Wabash and Parkview Huntington hospitals, who are developing solutions for a problem mothers face just after given birth
  • Kyle Craig, a Trine University mechanical engineering graduate, who founded Apollo Dynamics to pair wearable biokinetics devices with software to track and analyze body motion

Steve Franks will serve as the program's manager. You can connect to more about the Farnsworth Fund by clicking here.

elevate northeast indiana Board Chair Marilyn Moran-Townsend said growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem requires "community, mentors and money."
  • Perspectives

    • You Probably Don't Know Your Customers All That Well

      If your objective is to increase the number of customers you serve, a prudent way to start is by taking a closer look at the customers you already have. If that sounds odd, consider that the customers you already work with are presumably happy with the work you perform on their behalf. If you use what you know about them and what you do for them as a model, you can more effectively identify other prospective customers with similar traits. In addition, the better you know your...



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Ambrose Amps up Ambition For Old GM Stamping Site

      An Indianapolis-based developer has greatly expanded its original investment plans for the city's former GM Stamping Plant site. Ambrose Property Group's vision now includes projects totaling nearly $1.4 billion, more than doubling the $550 million scope detailed last year. During a community event Friday, the company and Mayor Joe Hogsett announced the name of the more than 100-acre, downtown district: Waterside. Plans now call for...

    • Indy Airport Scores Top Honor Again

      Indianapolis International Airport has again been named Best Airport in the United States by a global leisure publication. The Condé Nast Traveler recognition is the fifth straight for IND. The Best Airport designation is part of Traveler's annual Readers Choice Awards, which is built on feedback from more than 100,000 comments and millions of ratings. In addition to airports, favorites were tallied for hotels, resorts and destinations.

    • Indy Hotels Among Top in Midwest

      Three Indianapolis hotels are among Condé Nast Traveler's Top 25 Hotels in the Midwest. The rankings include two hotels that have made the list three years in a row and one making its debut. The JW Marriott Indianapolis ranks third on this year's list, followed by The Conrad, which is eighth and Ironworks Hotels appearing on the list for the first time at number 17. You can see the full rankings by...

    • Angie's List Parent Acquires New York Tech Company

      Colorado-based ANGI Homeservices Inc. (Nasdaq: ANGI), which has a major presence in Indianapolis, has announced plans to acquire a tech company based in New York. Financial terms of the deal for Handy Technologies Inc. are not being disclosed, however ANGI says Handy will continue to operate out of New York City.

    • The Impact of Technology on Economic Development Policy

      In a world where technology is enabling almost everything, economic development policy makers are faced with several challenges when planning and implementing strategies for economic growth. Communities, regions and states must be able to adapt programs and initiatives to address the economic disruption caused by technology. In particular, investments in tech and talent are vital to ensuring economic growth and wealth creation for residents and businesses throughout the world.