By many measurements, Indiana’s technology sector is thriving. Deal flow, angel investing and the tech support system and infrastructure are perhaps the best they’ve ever been. Just last week, a national report showed venture capital investment in Indiana surged in 2017. But Allos Ventures Managing Director Don Aquilano says a lack of early stage VC could be a headwind for the state’s tech momentum, calling it a potential crisis situation. "We may be at an all-time low with respect to available capital from local investors in the state," said Aquilano. "That’s the missing link, we have everything else."
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Aquilano said a dearth of early-stage VC can have two outcomes for emerging companies.
Allos, which invests exclusively in early-stage companies, has worked with many of Indiana’s most promising tech companies, including Lessonly, Octiv and Emplify, to name a few. The firm hopes to raise a new fund this year, but is right now out of the market, having completed its five-year new company investment phase.
Despite his concern, Aquilano says he is encouraged by efforts to attack the issue, in particular the state’s newly-created Next Level Indiana Trust Fund, which will target $250 million to support high-growth companies.
Aquilano says he is very confident things can turn around. "Absolutely, this has been done before in Utah, this has been done in Michigan, this has been done in Ohio… different flavors… and has had a significant impact," said Aquilano. "There’s 12 local venture capital firms in Ohio, 13 or 14 in Michigan, and it’s created a number of great, early-stage ventures that are growing nicely and creating great, sustainable jobs."