Five startups have received investment from a new member-managed capital fund run by The Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship. The Flywheel Fund, which launched in the summer of 2020, initially planned to make four investments of $25,000 each over the course of a year.

By January, the nonprofit says the fund exceeded expectations, investing $120,000 in five companies in less than six months.

“Our first cohort was really excited about this opportunity to support startups in southern Indiana,” said Pat East, executive director of The Mill. “So we started with a bigger pool to invest than we expected—$120,000—and we were able to invest quickly in some very promising startups.”

Flywheel invests in early stage and high-potential companies. The member-managed fund features rotating cohorts of members who join, each contributing $10,000 to the fund upon joining.

The five companies who received investment are:

  • Stagetime, an online professional network for the performing arts
  • Civic Champs, an app for nonprofits that automates volunteer management
  • Boost, an app that helps students manage and meet assignment deadlines
  • Qualifi’s technology allows HR professionals to conduct very high volumes of phone interviews quickly
  • Flowaste’s data analytics provide cafeterias, restaurants, and individuals actionable insights on food waste patterns

The second cohort of Flywheel Fund starts April 1.