The 2020 Indiana Venture Report suggests the pandemic did little to hinder venture capital investment last year. The report from Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures shows VC deals throughout the state increased nearly 20%, the majority of which were pre-seed investments of $500,000 or less. Ting Gootee, chief investment officer for Elevate Ventures, says the results represent a continuing trend, both in Indiana and nationally, of increasing VC growth over the last few years.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Gootee said the overall venture community is not as heavily influenced by outlier events, such as a pandemic, as it used to be.
“You see the number of companies being started and being seeded continue to grow and consistently, in different industries, raising pretty sizeable rounds,” said Gootee. “All those start to reflect the maturation of our venture community in general.”
Gootee says areas such as Silicon Valley and the East Coast have enough venture activity in their communities that it creates a cycle that can withstand major events like a pandemic. She says the report shows Indiana is nearing the same level.
Another surprising aspect of the report is the increase in VC investments in life sciences companies in Indiana. Life sciences companies represented nearly 60% of all VC dollars invested in the state, or about $289 million.
“2020 was an interesting year in the sense that we had nationally, obviously, the pandemic induce a lot of high-level focus in terms of different life sciences therapeutic opportunities,” said Gootee. “More encouraging to our particular community is the type of life sciences teams with track records of actively pursuing startup formation activities that end up being backed by very, very notable life sciences investors from the coast.”
Seven of the top 10 venture capital deals last year were in the life sciences sector, led by Ossium Health, a San Francisco company with major operations in Indianapolis that received $60.9 million.
The remainder of the top 10 were from the B2B tech sector, led by West Lafayette-based Solinftec, which raised $40 million.
Gootee says she expects a big year for VC activity in 2021.
“When the pandemic hit, the number of companies in that seed and early-stage growth stage, they all figured out one way or the other to extend their cash runway and really position themselves to fare the market uncertainty in a very positive way,” she said. “And a number of those companies…have to come out and be ready for fundraising in 2021. So we expect 2021 to be very busy in terms in Series A, potentially B, true venture rounds.”
You can connect to the full report by clicking here.
Elevate Ventures Chief Executive Officer Chris LaMothe will appear this weekend on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick to talk more about the report.
Gootee says the overall venture community is not as heavily influenced by outlier events, such as a pandemic, as it used to be.