A Maryland-based startup accelerator is bringing its program to Indianapolis. Pax Momentum will begin its first cohort of 10 companies for the eight-week program this fall. Co-founder Matthew Hanson says Indy was chosen for the program’s expansion because of a need for greater venture capital investment. “We’re greedy investors looking for great talent and we see that in Indianapolis,” said Hanson.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Hanson said securing early stage investment is key, but can also be difficult.

“You’ve got 50 square miles in northern California which garner almost half of the VC dollars invested every year and so once you get out of Silicon Valley, the limiting factor is really early stage investment and especially in cities like Indianapolis or Nashville or Research Triangle Park where you’ve got a highly-educated community, you’ve had some startup successes. So you’ve got some entrepreneurial spirit…but still it could use more venture investment and we see this replicated over and over.”

As part of the program, each company in the cohort receives a $50,000 investment and will participate in virtual and in-person events. However, Hanson says due to the pandemic, the first cohort will have more virtual work involved.

Hanson says one of the things that makes Pax Momentum stand out is the fact that it is for-profit.

“It means that our goal is not to create jobs in Indiana or Virginia or Pennsylvania. Rather, our goal is very much aligned with the entrepreneurs that we’re working with and investing in. It’s also important in that it breaks down a lot of the regional way that I think early-stage investing is frequently seen. The program continues to be designed with the idea that the entrepreneurs in the program will get the most value from working with both investors and especially entrepreneurs who have been through the experience that our cohort members are currently going through and then have successfully navigated it and are willing to give back to that community.”

Pax says the program is open to all industries, but specializes in B2B tech companies in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and e-commerce, among others. 

Part of the program will include summits that feature a combination of keynote speeches from a variety of entrepreneurial mentors and small group work that cover things such as go-to-market strategies, value proposition and product market fit.

Hanson adds the companies that graduate from the program will leave with the practical know-how to manage an effective marketing and sales campaign. He says the program has a lot of room to grow in Indianapolis.

“I could see us holding a pitch competition in Indy where the winner gets a slot in one of our cohorts. I could see us holding one of our summits, when we’re able to go back to in-person summits, and doing that in Indianapolis. Also, I would love to involve some investors from Indiana that wanted to watch carefully what is going on with the cohort and then, for Indianapolis-based companies or regional companies, introduce those companies to their network of investors as well.”

Applications for the first cohort are being accepted through June 15.

Hanson said securing early stage investment is key, but can also be difficult.