The new chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures says Indiana offers a wide range of positive attributes for startup businesses and entrepreneurs, such as talent and regulatory environment. Still, Christopher Day thinks Indiana struggles with what he calls the export of wealth. “We invest in all the early-stage startups and early-stage companies. But when those companies really break out and start growing, we don’t have any participation, virtually none,” said Day during an appearance on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
“We take all the risk in Indiana, but no [there is] participation in the growth equity stage of the funding continuum. And that’s how I think about Indiana and the opportunity that we have in front of us,” said Day.
Day was named Elevate Ventures’ CEO three weeks ago, succeeding Chris LaMothe who announced last December he was stepping down. As a tech entrepreneur, Day has been a pivotal player in Indiana’s growing tech ecosystem, having started several companies.
“I’ve been passionate about this issue about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Indiana for the past 15 years. And I think about all the great things we have going on in this state, but the centralization or pooling capital, has always been kind of one of our points of failure,” Day said.
Day most recently served as co-founder and CEO of DemandJump, an artificial-intelligence-powered marketing strategy platform. Elevate Ventures says Day’s background in building companies, investing in growing companies, and engaging in public policy made him an ideal person to take the reins.
“Christopher’s experience and his tremendous passion for building Indiana’s entrepreneurship ecosystem made him stand out as the ideal leader for Elevate’s continued growth,” said Barbie Wentworth, CEO of Miller Brooks, and a member of the Board of Directors search committee. “The Elevate board is eager to work alongside him as we continue to invest in Indiana and maintain our status as the top VC in the Great Lakes region.”
The private venture development organization has helped boost hundreds of Indiana entrepreneurs’ dreams into reality. Day says over the past 10 years, Elevate Ventures has invested nearly $140 million into the entrepreneurial ecosystem, supporting 475 young companies throughout the state of Indiana.
“We have entrepreneurs-in-residence in nearly all four corners of the state, pulling everyone together…so that we can help all the ecosystems throughout the state.”