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  • June 21, 2024 10:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by Casey Boggs, President of ReputationUs

    “To merge, or not to merge.” That is the question that companies often discreetly ask in today’s business environment. These undisclosed, perhaps even taboo conversations, being done in the back room or over glasses of wine seem to be happening—especially in the technology industry—at a steady clip in 2024. When companies look to combine forces through a merger or acquisition, the pace of negotiations means their reputation and a well-thought-out communications strategy often gets overlooked.

    In our firm’s experience of supporting both the acquirer and the acquired companies, the overarching theme we’ve encountered is that clear, concise and consistent communications is at the epicenter of a successful acquisition. Moreover, the cohesiveness of a strategic M&A plan—and its actualizations—must include safeguarding reputation as a paramount consideration.

    Merging for More Than Financials 

    When analyzing and auditing a respective business to determine if proceeding with a merger makes sense, considerations include the strength of both companies’ balance sheets, cultural similarities, and compatible technology and overall strength of brand and vision.

    “A merger has to make sense financially for both organizations, but we also place a lot of emphasis on shared vision,” Paris Chevalier, former chief marketing officer for Xceed, an El Segundo, California financial institution that merged with Kinecta Credit Union.

    “In addition to a thorough review of both entities financials and an in-depth review of products, services, locations and associates, we carefully examine a company’s mission, vision and values,” she said.

    If two entities decide to come together, communication must be considered in the context of logistics and cultural sensitivities, customer nuances and understandings. Then the importance of timing and channels of communication can make all the difference in keeping institutional reputations intact.

    Timing Is Everything

    Communication is important before, during and after a merger. Determining how to communicate and reputation risk considerations are often brought into the realm late. These important components should be brought in early, however, to help maximize opportunity, identify vulnerabilities and ensure a smooth transition.

    To ensure a potential merger happens seamlessly, multiple departments should be involved beforehand – not only the top-level executives. Be sure to include members of your operations, IT, communication, marketing, HR and even legal teams. It is also important to solidify that the board, executives, managers, customer or client-facing staff and spokespeople are unified in their communications. This can be accomplished with what we call “message unity training” to ensure everyone’s “singing from the same song page” when details of the acquisition are announced.

    Up, Inside & Out: Multi-Prong Approach to Announce Acquisition

    During an acquisition, a multi-prong approach with a well-orchestrated cascade of communications should follow the sequence, “Up,” “Inside” and “Out”:

    Communicate “Up”

    • Internally to the acquiring the company: The board, executives, and managers.
    • Internally to the company being acquired: The board, executives, and managers.

    Communicate “Inside”

    • Internally to both staffs, customers, vendors, partners and industry associations (e.g., ITIA). 

    Communicate “Out”

    • Externally to the public, communities, media and social influencers.

    Communication Questions To Ask 

    How can you refine your overall communications strategy and manage your reputation before, during and after an acquisition? Ask yourself these key questions:

    • What exactly and clearly do you want to communicate?
    • Why do you want to communicate it?
    • Why should each audience care about the acquisition?
    • Why is this partnership or consolidation happening now?
    • Who are the existing and prospective customers you want to communicate to and prioritize?
    • How/where (i.e., what channels of communication) will you communicate?
    • One-on-one meetings, phone calls, emails, newsletters, video, media and social media.
    • When is the best time to communicate your message?

    Humanize the Acquisition

    A company’s early communications to both staff and customers regarding the acquisition are of the utmost importance. The first step is a personalized note from the CEO that welcomes and reassures acquired customers, placing emphasis on their value to the combined company’s future. A heartfelt video message from the CEO is also a nice touch. However, face-to-face direct interactions, when appropriate, can occur to have even more impact on customer attrition.  

    Employees are, in essence, the face of the company and are, therefore, absolutely essential to customer retention. As such, the benefits of the acquisition should be thoughtfully and clearly communicated to staff first. Failure to clearly communicate the details of the deal early with employees translates into confusion and later poor customer understanding. 

    Staff meetings should be held immediately to bring the core benefits of the acquisition to light—and what it all means to them. It’s also very important that executive leadership present messaging to staff in a clear, unified voice. Training and practicing the talking points will keep the desired message consistent. Staff should be instructed to relay these key messages to customers.

    Following initial staff meetings and the delivery of talking points, ongoing communication across multiple platforms (e.g., mobile, website, in-office, written marketing materials, video) will welcome questions, build excitement and, above all, express to customers that they are valued and what to expect next.

    The value of genuine communications to strengthen staff and customer retention through the post-acquisition integration process is quite clear. Lost employees and customers must inevitably be replaced by new ones. Even a small improvement in staff and customer retention can make a big difference to deposit balances, fee streams, loan portfolios and, ultimately, the bottom line.

    Keep The Communications Coming

    Many acquisitions fall short of expectations because of a failure to understand the importance of communicating. Even though the acquisition may look great on paper, it’s important to pay attention to the reputation ramifications, as well as the communication needs of the post-acquisition integration process. This is the secret to making a company M&A deal truly successful.

    Assuming the reason for merging is to bind together, prosper and grow, the six months after an acquisition should be considered a working juncture of continued proactive communications and reputation enhancement. A company should use this opportunity to retain staff and customers, as well as to attract new staff and customers. Direct communications can also help strengthen the bond with the communities that the combined company serves, through staff volunteer time, addressing important issues and being stewards of the acquisition process.

    Casey Boggs is president of ReputationUs – An ITIA member, and a public relations, reputation management and crisis mitigation firm specializing in technology.

  • June 11, 2024 12:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    • Indianapolis, IN – The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) today announced its Policy Committee Chairs heading into the 2025 legislative session.

      The following ITIA members will help lead the association’s policy development and identify priorities to accelerate Indiana’s tech and innovation ecosystem.

    • Capital Policy Committee – Megan Glover, Co-Founder and CEO, 120Water in Zionsville, IN
    • Talent Policy Committee – Mike Halbig, Founder & CEO, InGen Technologies in Evansville, IN
    • Place Policy Committee – Ted Baker, CEO & Executive Director, the Innovation Connector in Muncie, IN
    • Equity Committee – Juliana Casavan, Director of Operations, MatchBOX Coworking Studio in Lafayette, IN

    ITIA’s policy committees advocate for policies across a range of issues including expanding access to venture capital, strengthening our talent pipeline, contributing to placemaking that embraces tech and innovation, and promoting equity and diversity. 

    ITIA member organizations serve on each of the four committees – Capital, Talent, Place and Equity.  

    “Our policy committees give technology and innovation leaders across the state a voice in shaping policy to accelerate entrepreneurship and fuel innovation in Indiana,” said ITIA Executive Director Jennifer Hallowell. “We’re excited to have committee leadership representing various regions of our state and encourage entrepreneurs, tech and innovation companies and partner organizations to get involved and help drive our industry forward.” 

    Each year, ITIA releases a policy agenda with its priorities to foster growth in tech and innovation.

    During the 2024 legislative session, ITIA successfully advocated to advance STEM education in K-12 schools by establishing a computer science high school graduation requirement, supported expansions for robotics funding, apprenticeships and other workplace experiences in schools, and supported the creation of an AI Task Force to study uses of AI by government agencies.

    ITIA membership is open to all technology and innovation-driven enterprises and partners working together to accelerate the innovation economy. For more information and to join ITIA, visit

  • April 25, 2024 9:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Indianapolis, IN – The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) issued the following statement today regarding the announcement that Amazon Web Services (AWS) plans to invest $11 billion to build a data center campus in north central Indiana and create at least 1,000 new jobs.

    “The momentum we’ve seen in recent months with several global, technology and innovation-fueled enterprises choosing Indiana to locate operations and invest is setting the stage for Indiana’s next chapter,” said ITIA Executive Director Jennifer Hallowell. “To embrace this opportunity, we must continue to prioritize innovation and entrepreneurship at all levels and ensure we’re creating the strongest ecosystem to attract world-class companies and help our own Hoosier entrepreneurs succeed. We’re excited to welcome AWS to Indiana and work together to propel Indiana forward.”

    The Indiana Technology & Innovation Industry (ITIA) is the statewide association representing technology and innovation-driven enterprises and partners working together to accelerate the innovation economy. 

    ITIA membership is open to all technology and innovation-driven enterprises and partners. For more information about ITIA and how to join, visit

  • November 21, 2023 9:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Indianapolis, IN – The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) released its 2024 policy priorities to accelerate the Indiana innovation economy today during its annual Legislative Update event with TechPoint.

    The Legislative Update brings together Indiana’s technology and innovation leaders with state legislators on Organization Day to mark the ceremonial start of the 2024 Legislative Session. This year marks the fifth anniversary of ITIA’s formation to educate and advocate for policy that advances Indiana’s technology industry.

    All four caucus leaders – Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore Rod Bray, House Speaker Todd Huston, House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta and Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor – provided remarks and attended the event, along with several dozen state legislators and more than one hundred tech and innovation executives.

    “In today’s economy, technology touches every industry,” said ITIA Executive Director Jennifer Hallowell. “It’s essential that Indiana embraces policy to accelerate entrepreneurship, fuel innovation, support and attract the jobs and companies of tomorrow, and prepare our workforce with the skills needed to thrive in the digital economy.” 

    According to CompTIA Cyberstates 2023, Indiana’s technology industry produced 118,872 net new jobs in 2022 and generated a $16 billion economic impact on our state. The National Skills Coalition reports that 92 percent of all jobs now require digital skills.

    ITIA advocates for policy across four key pillars – Talent, Capital, Place and Equity.

    ITIA’s 2024 policy priorities include:

    • Unlocking a second round of state investment into the Indiana Next Level Fund to further accelerate the availability of capital for Indiana companies at the growth stage.

    • Tracking entrepreneurial data and encouraging new businesses to start as part of the Right to Start framework.

    • Providing regulatory predictability to attract emerging digital asset mining/blockchain operations to Indiana.

    • Encouraging policymaker education around AI, and advocating for balanced AI regulation that is interoperable with existing laws and regulations with a preference toward global and/or federal standards.
    • Including computer science as a high school graduation requirement to ensure all Hoosier students gain the foundational skills needed to succeed in the 21st century workforce and economy.
    • Creating incentives for employers or intermediaries to develop and cover core academic costs (e.g. tuition, certification exam fees, instructional materials and more) for USDOL Registered Apprenticeships and/or Indiana State Earn & Learn (SEALs) apprenticeship programs in tech and innovation fields.

    The Indiana Technology & Innovation Industry (ITIA) is the statewide association representing technology and innovation-driven enterprises and partners working together to accelerate the innovation economy.

    For more information and to join ITIA, visit  

  • March 13, 2023 10:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    INDIANAPOLIS - A bill that would divert some $6 million in state and local tax revenue annually to state-certified technology parks has passed the Senate and is headed to the House, where similar legislation died two years ago.

    Senate Bill 271 could immediately help 18 of Indiana’s 22 tech parks keep more of the sales and income taxes generated by the businesses within them. The money could be used to administer or expand the parks and their infrastructure, recruit additional companies or provide services to existing businesses.

    The bill, authored by Sen. Brian Buchanan, R-Lebanon, could mean an additional $400,000 annually for most of the parks, money that otherwise would be allocated to state and local government general funds. Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, chair of the Senate Tax & Fiscal Policy Committee, signed on as the bill’s co-author, a move that strengthens its chance of final passage.

    The Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to advance SB 271 to the House. But its prospects there are less certain.

    Buchanan authored a similar bill in 2021 that would have provided tech parks with $250,000 in additional annual revenue. That bill passed the Senate but never had a hearing in a House committee.

    “It boils down to continued job growth and development,” Buchanan said. “That’s the purpose of the bill.”

    The state’s certified tech park program was created by a 2002 law that sought to boost economic development and job growth by focusing on jobs in industries such as microelectronics, biotechnology, engineering and laboratory testing, environmental technology, medical devices and advanced vehicle technology.

    The law let cities and counties apply to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. for authority to designate an area for high-tech development. The application required cities to have at least one company committed to the tech park that planned to create a “significant number of jobs” and a comprehensive business plan or at least one other partner or program, which could include a university, military installation or facility, or an existing or planned business incubator.

    The parks are allowed to raise private money and accept grants and other outside funding.

    But to give the operations a boost, the law allows the parks to collect what’s called “incremental” income and sales tax revenue generated within the park’s boundaries. That essentially means state and local tax revenue that results from new development at the park—on top of the amount of tax revenue that already was generated in the designated area.

    Tax-increment-financing districts, which are designated locally for development, operate in a similar way. And in fact, cities and counties can also designate the tech parks as TIF districts, allowing them to capture incremental property tax revenue, as well.

    The original state law capped the total sales and income tax revenue a tech park could collect at $5 million (not including property tax revenue it might generate through a TIF district).

    To date, the state has certified 26 parks statewide, though only 22 remain active. Of those, 18 have hit the $5 million cap, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency.

    So in 2020, lawmakers passed a bill allowing parks to capture up to $100,000 a year in additional state and local income tax revenue after they reached their $5 million cap.

    Buchanan’s bill would raise that amount to $500,000.

    The change would result in the loss of about $4.5 million in annual revenue to the state beginning in fiscal year 2024, while local governments would lose about $1.8 million per year, according to an LSA analysis. Those amounts would increase slightly in later years if all the tech parks reached their $5 million cap.

    Tech community support

    Supporters of the legislation say local communities directly benefit from job creation that stems from cultivating businesses in the parks.

    Jennifer Hallowell, executive director of the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association, which represents tech companies and entrepreneurs in Indiana, said the parks will continue to change and grow as new thinkers enter the space.

    “The idea here is not that we launched these many years ago and it’s the same firms,” Hallowell said. “We’re continuing to grow and launch new businesses; it’s an incubator of sorts.”

    Ted Baker, CEO of the Muncie Innovation Center, a business incubator in the Ontario Place Tech Park, said the funding is for growth.

    “Receiving this funding is not about sustainability—it’s about growing Indiana’s tech sector,” Baker said, noting that the Muncie incubator plans to expand from 16,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet.

    Baker also serves as executive director of the tech park, which is in an area that was once an abandoned manufacturing facility and retail space. He said companies in the park increased their employment levels from 935 jobs in 2018 to 1,314 jobs in 2021, a 40% increase. The average wage for employees in the park is about $66,000, he said.

    David Bolling is executive director of Launch Fishers, which is in the Nickel Plate District Certified Technology Park. He said the incubator and coworking space currently has 130 member companies representing nearly 600 employees.

    In addition, he said, outside investors have poured $110 million in capital into Launch Fishers companies over the past eight years.

    “These are important initiatives for the state to undertake to support businesses at the ground level,” Bolling said. “These are companies that are grinding it out, day in and day out.”

    Kent Parisien, who serves on the board of WestGate Authority, which governs the WestGate@Crane Technology Park, said the legislation will allow the park to bolster efforts to bring high-tech businesses and jobs to Indiana.

    “To date, the WestGate@Crane Technology Park has captured a total of $15.9 million in state incremental tax revenues,” Parisien said. “This has allowed the technology park to leverage additional public and private investments, bringing our total investment to $114.6 million.”

    The WestGate tech park is allowed to capture more revenue than other parks because it spans three counties, which allowed it to capture $15 million total from sales and income taxes before it started collecting the supplemental tax revenue.

    SB 271 also has support from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

    Accountability added

    As passed by the Senate, the bill includes an amendment authored by Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, that aims to better track what’s happening in tech parks.

    It requires the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to submit a report to the State Budget Committee every other year that provides details about each park. Melton said the information would help lawmakers better understand how the parks are operating.

    “It would be great information for us to have,” he said. “The state is investing significant amounts of resources” in the parks.

    The report must include the number of businesses in each park engaged in high-tech activity, the number of businesses that have left the park and where they moved, the number of employees at each company, the average annual wage paid to those workers, and the total capital investment by each business.•

  • March 13, 2023 10:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Indiana lawmakers about House Bill 1345, legislation that would make it easier for innovators and entrepreneurs like me to get their business underway and to bring great jobs to Hoosiers.

    It was great to see the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee approve the bill on a 9-4 vote, and I was encouraged to see our lawmakers taking such positive action. Two of my colleagues, Dronedek’s Chief Strategy Officer Neerav Shah, and our Sales Director, Jake Mills, later testified in support of HB 1344, another bill that supports entrepreneurs.

    Both pieces of legislation would help startups – something Indiana needs to do because the state currently ranks 44th in the nation for how well it fosters entrepreneurship, per Kauffman Indicators of Entrepreneurship. Each of the bills were heard in the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee. HB 1345 passed the committee by a 9-4 vote. HB 1344 did not receive a vote. Unfortunately, that means they won’t progress further this year.

    The funny thing about us making time to go down to the Indiana Statehouse to talk with legislators about these bills is that our company won’t benefit from them. We’ve been fortunate to move beyond five years in operation and we are proud to have been hitting all of our strategic milestones, but it wasn’t easy. We believe Indiana must do a better job of supporting entrepreneurs who have great ideas and just might have the next globally significant company coming out of Indiana.

    I’m not generally someone who gets involved in creating new laws, and Dronedek as a company hasn’t been active in calling on the General Assembly to act. I believe we’re all usually better off if the government stays out of our daily lives. But my team and I took time from working to perfect our smart mailbox, raising money to fund our  15+ workforce and production needs and dealing with the various issues of the day, because the support these bills would provide is sorely needed.

    Authored by Representative Jake Teshka, HB 1345 would have waived requirements for new businesses and establish a “regulatory sandbox” program that would make it easier for small businesses to thrive. Representative Teshka also authored HB 1344, which focused on Indiana businesses that have been in operation for fewer than five years and would have, among other things, encouraged the state to allocate 5 percent of workforce and economic development funding to them, along with eliminating first year business fees.

    Anyone who’s tried to start a business knows how easy it is to get tangled up in red tape and fees. We’re making the next-generation mailbox and are one of the first companies to hold patents on a smart mailbox, which is part of the emerging autonomous delivery sector. You can’t imagine the regulatory hurdles and issues we’ve faced. 

    Small businesses like Dronedek represent 99.4% of all businesses in Indiana, and we employ 44 percent of the Hoosiers who work. It seems to me that our lawmakers should do all they can to help us grow. 

    Indiana has done some great work in attracting, retaining and growing existing and large corporations, but it hasn’t focused enough on doing the same for new business creation and entrepreneurship.

    House Bill 1345 would have reduced barriers to entry for new companies to bring innovative services, products, and business models to market. That would help companies and consumers in emerging fields like drone delivery, the Internet of Things, financial technology and more. The program it creates would allow us to innovate and test products and offerings without the burden of costly and cumbersome regulations and licensing. At least 11 states have established regulatory sandbox programs, including states like Arizona and North Carolina that are leaders in growing and attracting tech and innovation jobs.

    Bills like HB 1344 and 1355  are how we encourage and support Indiana entrepreneurs and how we develop the next great technology right here in Indiana.

    Folks, we’re living in a Digital Age not far off from a pop culture inflection point with autonomous deliveries being as expected and commonplace as when smartphones became the social norm. It’s high time we widen entrepreneurs’ pathway to production and progress. 

    Helping Hoosier businesses get to markets sooner means more fuel for Indiana’s economy, better jobs for its people and better lives for everyone.

    We were proud to join with the Indiana Technology Innovation Association to support this legislation, and we’ll be back supporting it next year. That’s more government interaction than I’ll have had in the past decade, but it’s an investment worth making. If you’re an innovator or small business person in Indiana, I invite you to join me. 

    Dan O’Toole is the founder and CEO of Dronedek, a patent holder and serial entrepreneur. Dronedek, headquartered in Lawrence, is one of the first companies in the world to focus on package security for traditional and autonomous delivery methods.

  • November 22, 2022 9:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Indianapolis, IN – The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) today released its 2023 policy priorities to accelerate the innovation economy. 

    ITIA announced its priorities at its annual Legislative Update event co-hosted by TechPoint and sponsored by AT&T and Salesforce. Nearly 130 tech leaders, two dozen state legislators and several members of the Governor’s administration attended.

    ITIA’s priorities this year focus on expanding access to capital, supporting a diverse tech workforce and enabling a thriving tech and innovation ecosystem to support tech job growth and fuel entrepreneurship. 

    “Now is the time to accelerate Indiana’s commitment to supporting and growing the high-wage, high-tech jobs of the future,” said ITIA Board Chair David Becker, Chairman and CEO of First Internet Bank. “Indiana is well-positioned to embrace and be a leader in the innovation economy, but it’s going to take an intentional, collaborative effort to unleash capital, address our talent needs and dramatically boost entrepreneurship.” 

    Indiana’s technology industry continues to grow and contributed $51 billion to Indiana’s GDP in 2021. With an estimated median wage of $76,254, median tech wages are 99% higher than the median state wage (CompTIA Cyberstates 2022). 

    While Indiana has been successful at attracting and retaining large and existing corporations, our state ranks low for new business creation. According to the2021 Kauffman Entrepreneurial Indicators, Indiana ranks 44th out of 50 states for rate of new entrepreneurs. Yet, new and young companies are responsible for nearly all net new job creation in the U.S.

    “We need to do everything we can to support and accelerate entrepreneurship in Indiana,” said ITIA Executive Director Jennifer Hallowell. “The State of Indiana can continue to lead by removing barriers to entrepreneurship and investing in the talent and capital needed to start and grow an innovation-based venture.”

    ITIA’s 2023 Policy Agenda includes the following priorities:

    Policies that Expand Access to Capital at All Stages of Growth

    • Continued and robust investment in the 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, which funds critical and proven programs including Elevate Ventures and the SBIR/STTR matching grant program.
    • Additional state investment into the Next Level Indiana Fund to further accelerate the availability of capital for Indiana companies at the growth stage. 
    • A focus on ensuring women, minority and veteran entrepreneurs have access to capital at all stages. 

    Policies that Develop, Attract and Retain a Diverse Tech Workforce

    • Including computer science and technology as a high school graduation requirement to equip more students with technology skills, particularly girls and students of color.
    • Funding and incentives for technology-focused career exploration and discovery programs, such as robotics. 
    • Support for apprenticeships, internships and other pathways into the tech industry. 
    • Incentives and efforts to retain and attract talent in Indiana. 

    Policies that Enable a Thriving Tech Ecosystem

    • Removing barriers to entrepreneurship and a dedicated effort to support new business creation
    • data privacy law that is interoperable with other state privacy laws in order to create consistent robust privacy protections and reduce implementation burdens.
    • Continued expansion of high performing Certified Tech Parks (CTPs) by increasing the maximum allowable CTP capture. 
    • Efforts to accelerate broadband and fiber deployment. 

    ITIA is the statewide association representing technology and innovation-driven companies, entrepreneurs and partners working together to advance the state’s tech and innovation ecosystem.

    For more information about ITIA and Membership, visit

  • September 16, 2022 11:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Indiana’s entrepreneurial community has high hopes that a new online tax-credit marketplace will help attract more out-of-state investment in Hoosier startups.

    Last month, the Indianapolis-based not-for-profit TechPoint launched the Indiana VCI Marketplace—a first-of-its-kind tool for connecting potential buyers and sellers of Indiana’s Venture Capital Investment tax credit.

    “That’s such a great opportunity. Out-of-state investors will be able to sell those tax credits to Hoosiers who have a tax liability,” said Jenny Massey, the Indianapolis-based national director of site selection and incentives for Chicago-based Sikich LLP.

    “I totally expect to see an increase in out-of-state venture capital activity in Indiana because of this.”

    The tax credit itself, which serves as an incentive to invest in Hoosier startups and small companies, has been around since 2003.

    But the Legislature tweaked the program. Since July 1, 2020, investors have had the ability to sell their VCI tax credits—making the program more appealing to out-of-state investors who don’t pay Indiana taxes.

    As an example: An out-of-state firm or individual invests $1 million in a Hoosier startup and receives a VCI tax credit worth 25% of that investment.

    The investor then sells that $250,000 tax credit for $200,000 to an Indiana taxpayer, who can use the credit to reduce his or her state tax liability.

    But until now, there hasn’t been a central marketplace to facilitate these transactions. So it hasn’t always been easy for out-of-state investors to monetize their VCI tax credits.

    The buying and selling of VCI tax credits has taken place mostly through informal channels and personal networks. Often, the burden of making those connections has fallen on the small business that received the investment.

    “Your ability to do that successfully is going to be dependent on how sophisticated you are and who you know,” said John McDonald, the managing entrepreneur at Indianapolis-based venture studio Next Studios.

    McDonald is also a board member at the Indiana Technology and Innovation Association, a tech-industry group that lobbied for the creation of a marketplace.

    Experienced and well-connected founders have so far had an advantage over greener entrepreneurs in brokering VCI tax-credit transactions, but the marketplace now helps level the playing field, McDonald said.

    How the marketplace works

    Potential VCI tax-credit buyers and sellers can signal their interest in deals by completing an online form at (VCI tax credits must be worth at least $10,000 to be eligible for sale.)

    When a tax credit becomes available for sale, TechPoint sends an anonymized notice to potential buyers, who can then notify TechPoint of their interest in the deal. TechPoint initiates an email introduction between the seller and the highest bidder.

    Once the parties agree on a deal, they contact the Indiana Economic Development Corp.—which administers the VCI tax credit program—to complete paperwork with that agency.

    TechPoint has committed to making introductions within 10 days of receiving deal queries.

    The organization is not involved in setting the terms of deals and it does not charge any fees for handling the transaction.

    “Both the reach and the velocity should be very attractive compared to the old method,” said TechPoint CEO Ting Gootee, who came up with the idea for the marketplace. “A lot of people recognize the value and need for it.”

    TechPoint was the natural entity to run the marketplace for several reasons, Gootee said.

    The organization exists to support and grow Indiana’s tech sector, and it’s already plugged into a network of entrepreneurs and investors.

    “It makes sense for us to do it because we have the knowledge base, we have the investors … and we’re not looking to monetize this,” she said.

    Having a not-for-profit such as TechPoint run the marketplace makes a lot of sense, said Indianapolis attorney Jeff Kirk, a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP who leads the firm’s venture capital group in Indiana.

    A for-profit operator would want to charge a transaction fee and do a certain volume of transactions in order to make money from the marketplace, Kirk said. “I’m excited that Ting and the rest of the TechPoint organization have decided to go down this path.”

    The marketplace launched with one potential seller and 20 others who signaled interest in either buying those tax credits or learning about future transactions, TechPoint said.

    The marketplace platform was built to be scalable, Gootee said, and it could handle up to thousands of potential buyers and sellers as interest and awareness grows.

    It’s also possible that the marketplace will become a searchable database at some point. Right now, it exists only as a portal for submitting information to TechPoint.

    “This is our initial product,” she said. “Based on market demand, we’ll keep an open mind to how this may evolve to the next phases.”

    Demand increasing

    VCI tax credit transfer activity is modest but has grown in the two years since state law began allowing such transactions.

    According to IEDC data, two VCI tax credit transfers took place from July to December in 2020. The following year, 19 such transactions took place. And 22 transactions have occurred through August this year.

    The VCI program has also seen substantial increases in out-of-state investment since 2020.

    From 2006 to 2019, IEDC data shows, about 5% of planned VCI investments, or $31.2 million, came from out-of-state investors. In 2020 and 2021, 22.5% of planned VCI investments, or $28.1 million, came from out-of-state investors.

    (The numbers reflect planned investments because they are based on proposals investors must submit to the IEDC before investments are made. Investors then have two years to make those investments and receive VCI tax credits.)

    “We are encouraged by the out-of-state investment interest we’ve seen already since 2020 with [the] addition of transferable tax credits, and we are hopeful that TechPoint’s new VCI Marketplace will lead to even better utilization of this offering,” IEDC Senior Vice President of Community Affairs Mark Wasky told IBJ via email.

    The IEDC said it hasn’t set any specific goals regarding growth of out-of-state participation in the VCI program.

    But the new marketplace is just one piece of a bigger picture when it comes to startup funding, Next Studios’ McDonald said.

    For one thing, state law limits the amount of VCI tax credits that can be granted in a single year. This year, the Legislature set the cap at $20 million, up from the $12.5 million cap that had been in place since 2005.

    That $12.5 million cap was reached in 2017 and 2019-2021. In 2018, 94.6% of available credits were awarded. This year, the state is on pace to hit the expanded cap, with 55.8% of available VCI tax credits awarded through Aug. 31.

    McDonald said his organization plans to lobby the General Assembly to raise the cap again next year.

    He said he has full confidence in TechPoint’s ability to publicize the marketplace. But he also noted that it will take time for the news to spread widely among out-of-state investors.

    “Right now, it’s an awareness issue,” McDonald said. “It’s new even here in Indiana, to people in the know.”

    Still, marketplace proponents are bullish on this new tool.

    Massey said the marketplace and the VCI tax credit in general help Indiana compete.

    She estimated that about half of U.S. states have some version of a VCI tax credit, though specifics vary from state to state.

    Indiana’s new VCI marketplace, she said, will only boost the state’s appeal. “I have zero doubt that this is going to be good for the economy in Indiana.”•

  • July 18, 2022 1:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Indianapolis, IN Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) Board Chair David Becker, Chairman and CEO of Fishers-based First Internet Bank, has been appointed to serve on the Next Level Indiana Fund Investment Board.

    The Next Level Indiana Fund was created by the Indiana Legislature in 2017 to make investments in Indiana venture capital funds and Indiana companies using $250 million of allocated state funding.

    Becker was appointed to the Next Level Indiana Fund Board by Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives Todd Huston, following a new law passed during the 2022 legislative session that added additional appointments to the Board.

    “The Next Level Indiana Fund is a critical economic development resource to attract more venture capital to Indiana, support the creation of new Indiana venture capital funds and accelerate growth of Indiana-based, innovation-driven companies,” Becker said. “I look forward to joining the Board and supporting the goals of the Fund to fuel Indiana’s tech and innovation industry.”

    During this year's legislative session, ITIA supported legislation to expand the Next Level Indiana Fund Investment Board by adding two voting members with direct experience and knowledge in venture capital investment appointed by the Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore. These additional appointments became law as part of Senate Enrolled Act 361.

    Becker founded and serves as Chairman and CEO of First Internet Bancorp’s subsidiary, First Internet Bank, which opened for business in 1999 as an industry

    pioneer in the branchless delivery of banking services. He has a 40-year career of creating successful entrepreneurial companies in financial services technology (“fintech”) and software-as-a-service (“SaaS), having created and sold five Inc. 500 companies.

    Becker is also a founding member and the current Board Chair of the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA), the statewide group of technology and innovation-driven companies and partners that seeks to elevate the role the tech community plays in shaping Indiana public policy.

    “David Becker is a pioneer of Indiana’s technology industry with vast knowledge and experience in venture capital investing, both as a founder of multiple companies and as an investor,” said Jennifer Hallowell, ITIA Executive Director. David is supremely positioned to serve in this capacity and help guide Next Level Indiana Fund activity to generate the greatest impact for our state and Indiana’s tech industry.”

    Becker also serves on the Board of TechPoint, Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) and Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP).

    For more information about the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA), visit

  • July 01, 2022 1:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Congratulations to ITIA Board Member Christopher Day on being named the new CEO of Elevate Ventures!

    Christopher Day is a founding Board Member of ITIA and most recently the co-founder and CEO of DemandJump, a leading artificial-intelligence-powered marketing strategy platform.

    A long-time, successful entrepreneur, Day has co-founded or launched eight businesses in industries including artificial intelligence, billing software, utility hardware, broadband, entertainment, investment banking and real estate. 

    He's been a passionate leader for ITIA and helped champion positive policy change to support and grow Indiana's technology and innovation industry, including expanding the Venture Capital Investment tax credit, establishing the Next Level Fund and exempting Software-as-a-Service from the state's sales tax. 

    We're thrilled that Christopher will be leading Elevate, and look forward to continuing to work together to grow Indiana's tech, innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem! 

    Read more about today's announcement.

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