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  • March 06, 2019 11:24 AM | Anonymous

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Members of the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) gathered at the Statehouse today to urge the Legislature to pass a clear, comprehensive and inclusive bias crimes law.

    ITIA, which launched in November, represents more than 100 technology companies across the state and Indiana’s fastest growing sector.

    The Indiana General Assembly is considering bias crimes legislation this year, but the Indiana Senate recently stripped the bill of its enumerated list of characteristics, including race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, and age.

    ITIA today urged the House of Representatives to add the list back in and pass a true, enforceable bias crimes law this year. Governor Eric Holcomb has also advocated for this change.

    “Passing a fully inclusive bias crimes statute demonstrates to our employees, our prospective employees and our community that Indiana is a safe and welcoming place for them to live and work,” said CEO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Chief Analytics Officer Bob Stutz who was represented today by ITIA Board Member and Salesforce Director of Midwest State and Local Government Affairs Amy Waggoner.

    Indiana is one of only 5 states without a bias crimes law, and 44 of the 45 states with a bias crimes law include a list of enumerated characteristics to ensure the law is enforceable.

    “Technology is Indiana’s fastest growing sector, but we’re in a death match for talent. There aren’t enough skilled workers to fill the jobs we’re creating,” said John McDonald, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearObject and ITIA Board Member. “Having Indiana on the list of 5 states without a bias crimes law is a barrier to attracting skilled talent to our state. We can’t get off this unflattering ‘list of 5,’ without a list.” 

    “If we’re going to continue to operate in the Hoosier state and stay competitive, we have to be able to recruit and retain talent,” said Jon Gilman, CEO of Clear Software. “Let’s take unnecessary recruitment barriers off the table and pass a comprehensive, inclusive bias crimes law this year.”

    Several ITIA members who were negatively impacted by the 2015 passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) fear similar fallout if a comprehensive bias crimes law fails to pass this year.

    “Our company was preparing to relocate to Fishers, Indiana from Southern California, just as RFRA gained national attention. Unfortunately, it cost us our Chief Operations Officer and my right-hand man who decided not to relocate here because of concerns about Indiana’s inclusiveness and diversity,” said Anderson Schoenrock, CEO of Memory Ventures. “My fear now – is that if legislators pass a bias crimes law without a list or, once again, fail to pass one – we will face a backlash similar to what occurred after RFRA and threaten our industry’s growth.”

    Joshua Driver, a member of the LGBT community and CEO of Selfless.ly, founded Open For Service after RFRA to combat the negative reputation harming the tech industry.

    “Passing a bias crimes law without a list will counteract all of the work we’ve done in recent years to rebuild our state’s reputation, share Indiana’s story and grow our industry,” Driver said. “We urge our representatives to pass a bias crimes law with enumerated characteristics that include sexual orientation and gender identity.”

    He also noted the lingering effects of RFRA that will likely worsen without passage of a true bias crimes law.

    “These policies can lead to employee losses as well as investment losses. An investment group my company hoped to pitch wouldn’t even consider us because they had made the decision not to invest in Indiana companies after RFRA,” Driver said.

    ITIA members will be sending a letter to members of the Indiana House of Representatives today asking them to stand with Governor Eric Holcomb and add the list of enumerated characters back into the bias crimes legislation before passage.

    “We need to send a strong message that Indiana is a welcoming, diverse state,” McDonald said.

    PHOTO from today’s press conference is available here. PICTURED LEFT RIGHT: (Ray Ontko with Doxpop, Jon Gilman with Clear Software, Joshua Driver with Selfless.ly and Open For Service, Anderson Schoenrock with Memory Ventures, John McDonald with ClearObject, Amy Waggoner with Salesforce, John Wechsler with Launch Fishers and Indiana IoT Lab, Ade Olonoh an angel investor)

    ##

    About ITIA
    The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) is a statewide association of Indiana’s technology driven companies and partners.  ITIA represents more than 100 technology companies across the state and Indiana’s fastest growing sector. More information at indianatechnology.org.

    About ClearObject
    Based in Fishers, ClearObject is an Internet of Things (IoT) systems integrator that designs, develops, deploys, and manages innovative connected solutions and digital data products. More information at www.clearobject.com.

    About Memory Ventures
    Based in Fishers, Memory Ventures encompasses 8 direct to consumer brands all of which help consumers preserve, share and enjoy their favorite life moments. More information at www.memoryventures.com.

    About Clear Software
    Based in Zionsville, Clear Software is a process automation platform that helps large organizations dramatically improve their operational efficiency. More information at clearsoftware.com.

     About Selfless.ly
    Based in Indianapolis, Selfless.ly logs, tracks, and maintains all charitable involvement in one place. It is then tracked in a system and provides important metrics for marketing, recruitment, and retention initiatives. More information at www.selflessly.io.

  • February 01, 2019 2:48 PM | Anonymous

    Although the federal government shutdown is over for now, some small-business owners in central Indiana are still reeling from the impact and worry they could be in the same situation again soon.

    President Donald Trump and congressional leaders reached a deal Jan. 25 to end the shutdown, which started Dec. 22. But the government could close again if a long-term compromise over whether to pay for a security wall along the Mexican border isn’t settled by Feb. 15.

    According to the Congressional Budget Office, the five-week closure cost the economy $11 billion, and $18 billion in federal spending was delayed.

    Some small-business owners—who often rely on government assistance through Small Business Innovation Research grants, Small Business Technology Transfer grants and loans through the Small Business Administration—are still regrouping after not being able to access money they were counting on because the federal government was closed.

    The practical implications in central Indiana varied:

     Everett Berry, CEO of Fishers-based tech startup Perceive Inc., stopped taking a paycheck so he could pay his four employees.

     Boss Battle Games delayed the opening of its Castleton Square Mall location after an SBA-backed loan was put on hold.

     Ellie Symes, CEO of Bloomington-based The Bee Corp., rushed to submit paperwork for the firm’s next round of grant funding immediately after the government reopened in fear that the SBIR grants could be cut off again.

    The company leaders agreed another shutdown would worsen their situations.

    To help encourage compromise in Washington, D.C., the Indiana Technology and Innovation Association—the newly formed advocacy and education association for tech companies—sent a letter to Indiana’s entire congressional delegation on Jan. 29.

    “The chaos and uncertainty caused by these shutdown negotiations is likely to threaten the survival of these startups, hamper major innovations and lead to Hoosier job losses,” the letter read. “It will also send a chilling effect through the startup community.”

    The SBA is rapidly trying to catch up on paperwork, said Laura Schafsnitz, a spokeswoman for Indiana’s SBA office. Within 48 hours of reopening, the SBA processed 1,100 loan applications, totaling hundreds of millions of dollars nationwide. Indiana figures were not available.

    “We’re absolutely overjoyed to be back to work,” Schafsnitz said. “We’re back in business and trying to make sure we have everything in line.”

    Bad timing

    Dustin and Phylicia Burd, owners of Boss Battle Games, were among business owners stuck in limbo for weeks. Just before the government closed, they were ready to sign a $30,000 SBA-guaranteed loan.

    The funding delay came at a bad time—they were scheduled to take possession Jan. 1 of space at Castleton Square Mall for their retro arcade and gaming center, and their existing lease at Washington Square Mall was set to expire Jan. 31.

    “We were scrambling to figure out where we were going to get any funding,” Phylicia Burd said.

    A good friend loaned the company money, she said, and the couple crowd-funded to get by.

    “We stretched ourselves so thin in a panic,” Burd said.

    Barbara Underwood, Indiana director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said she hadn’t heard many complaints from the group’s 12,000 members. But she said SBA funding can be important when businesses are expanding.

    “If you’re getting ready to close [on a loan, a shutdown] can be infuriating,” Underwood said.

    The Burds have now received their loan, but the situation delayed the new location’s opening by slightly more than a week and hampered their ability to hire contractors to help with the move.

    “We didn’t feel confident in throwing money around,” Burd said. “We were just scared to.”

    Schafsnitz said that, regardless of whether the government is operating, the SBA encourages businesses to work with their lenders to obtain better terms and rates and use the various resources available on the SBA’s website.

    “We’re always concerned [about] any sort of negative impact that might come out of any sort of delay,” she said. “That’s why we try to provide that positive opportunity.”

    Burd said she is grateful for the loan but will be more cautious about obtaining SBA loans in the future because it’s so hard to predict what the government will do.

    “I would make sure to give myself a lot more time,” she said.

    Startup struggles

    Two of the biggest sources of funding for tech startups, aside from venture capital, are Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grants.

    when the federal government shut down, so did the website companies use to draw down the grant money.

    The grants range from $150,000 to $1 million and are paid out in phases. Over the past two years, 54 Indiana companies received $23.2 million in SBIR grants and eight companies received $3.1 million in STTR grants.

    Symes, from The Bee Corp., which helps beekeepers use technology to improve hive management and reduce colony losses, said her firm had already been approved for a $250,000 grant and had received some of the money, but was scheduled to receive the rest during what became the shutdown. She hadn’t even considered how the shutdown would affect her business until someone from another startup warned her SBIR funding was cut off.

    The application for the next funding phase isn’t due until the end of February, Symes said. But she was so worried about another possible closure that she has already submitted her application.

    “It’s definitely stressful,” Symes said. “It just shows this stuff infiltrates every aspect of our economy in different ways.”

    An interruption in the grant process could delay The Bee Corp.’s growth, she said, and require the firm to change its funding strategy.

    “We’d have to do more private capital and do that sooner,” Symes said. But she acknowledged that her company is lucky in that it can shift money around to cover expenses until the grant money comes through.

    “We watch our cash flow,” said Symes, who has four employees. “We were able to solve problems with other sources of funding.”

    Other startups, like Perceive, have struggled more.

    Perceive offers software that automates and expands customer service training for high-end sales associates.

    The company received a $750,000 grant, and Berry said it has been waiting on the second payment to become available. About 95 percent of its current funding comes from its SBIR grant.

    Berry said he stopped taking a salary in December, delayed payments with vendors, postponed capital-intensive projects, and had the company take on a consulting project to bring in extra cash.

    “We’re still a little on pins and needles,” he said.

    Berry said he covered the recent round of payroll and will be able to fund the next one. But after that, if the grant money still hasn’t come through, his employees might have to work without pay or stop working.

    “It’s such a major disruption,” he said.

    And the impact could linger. Berry said the company orders some of its supplies from China. Usually, U.S. companies stock up in December and January to prepare for the time Chinese business stop during much of the 15-day Chinese New Year, which starts Feb. 5.

    But this year, “we did basically the bare minimum because of the timing of the shutdown,” he said.

    Perceive could suffer delays if it adds customers before it can buy more supplies. “There will be some negative impact felt for probably three to four months,” Berry said.•

    https://www.ibj.com/articles/72282-small-businesses-still-feeling-federal-shutdown-hangover#.XFSnrUDCJwE.twitter

  • January 31, 2019 4:18 PM | Anonymous

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) today joined the bipartisan Indiana Competes coalition, which includes several local and regional Chambers of Commerce, to advocate for passage of a bias crimes law in Indiana.

    Adopting a bias crimes law is part of ITIA’s 2019 policy agenda, which the association recently released. Indiana is currently one of only five states without a bias crimes law.

    A majority of ITIA members who participated in a policy agenda survey expressed the need for a bias crimes law that specifically includes sexual orientation and gender identity. Governor Eric Holcomb has also advocated for legislation that includes such language.

    “Indiana’s technology industry is quickly growing but there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill the jobs we’re creating. We need to remove barriers to attracting tech talent to our state and passing a bias crimes law with an enumerated list of characteristics is an important step to send the message that Indiana is a welcoming, forward-looking state,” said John McDonald, ITIA Board Member and Policy Committee Co-Chair. “This will help attract technology companies and talent to Indiana and solidify the state’s reputation as a great place to live, work and innovate. ITIA is proud to join Indiana Competes to amplify this message.”

    ITIA supports a clear and specific bias crimes law that enhances penalties for criminals who target victims based on characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability.


  • January 23, 2019 4:17 PM | Anonymous

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) today announced its policy agenda for the 2019 legislative session.

    ITIA, which is made up of more than 100 technology companies across the state and represents Indiana’s fastest growing industry, launched in November on Organization Day.

    ITIA’s policy priorities center around three core pillars critical to the success of Indiana’s technology industry – Talent, Capital and Place.

    TALENT
    ITIA supports the following policies to educate and train Indiana students in technical trades, skill up our current Hoosier workforce and attract technically trained workers to Indiana to fill the growing demand for tech jobs:

    • Provide funding for computer science training in schools to help every Indiana school meet the goal of providing computer science education by 2021.
    • Give schools more flexibility to develop partnerships with employers to advance career and technical education and encourage credential attainment before graduation.
    • Provide 50% tax credits for contributions to 501c3 entities that provide and coordinate workforce training and industry credentials.

    “One of the biggest challenges facing Indiana’s tech industry is finding qualified candidates to fill technical roles,” said TechPoint CEO Mike Langellier, who serves on the ITIA Board and co-chairs the Policy Committee. “It’s critical that we provide more opportunities for technical education and retraining in Indiana, as well as incent experienced technical workers to relocate to our state.”

    CAPITAL
    ITIA supports the following policies to increase access to capital for tech companies at all stages, make Indiana more competitive for national venture capital investment, and encourage Indiana tech and non-tech companies to modernize and innovate:

    • Make the Venture Capital Investment tax credit transferable to increase investment by out-of-state investors without Indiana tax liability.
    • Update the Headquarters Relocation Tax Credit to allow targeted incentives to small companies with high growth potential.
    • Exempt purchase of data warehouse equipment and electricity use from state sales and use tax.

    “Many Indiana technology companies lack the necessary capital to grow and succeed at all stages,” said ClearObject CEO John McDonald, who serves on the ITIA Board and co-chairs the Policy Committee. “We need to do more to incentivize venture capital investment in our state. Making the VCI tax credit transferable, increasing the amount of investment that qualifies and raising the overall cap are important steps to expand access to funding for Indiana’s growing tech industry.”

    PLACE
    ITIA supports the following policies to make Indiana a more attractive place to live and work in an effort to draw more technology and innovation-based investment, jobs and talent to our state:

    • Support Governor Holcomb’s proposed $100M investment in high-speed broadband internet to unserved areas.
    • Approve a bias crimes law.
    • Allow Certified Tech Parks to capture up to $500,000 annually in order to continue making investments encouraging innovation at the CTP after the $5M cap has been reached.
    • Add more non-stop international flights.

    “For Indiana to compete with top tech hubs across the globe, we need to be able to attract top talent,” said 120WaterAudit CEO Megan Glover, who serves on the ITIA Board and Policy Committee. “Our focus is ensuring Indiana remains a thriving and welcoming environment for our industry to grow.”

    For ITIA’s full 2019 Policy Agenda and future areas of focus, click here.


  • January 23, 2019 2:50 PM | Anonymous
    INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association, which launched in November and has grown to more than 100 members, has announced its policy agenda for the 2019 legislative session. The organization's priorities focus on attracting tech talent and capital to the state, along with strengthening quality of place. The agenda includes support for hate crimes legislation, computer science funding for schools and attracting more non-stop international flights.

    During an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, TechPoint Chief Executive Officer Mike Langellier said it's also in the state's interest to encourage venture capital firms to come to Indiana.

    In the area of talent, the ITIA is pushing for funding for computer science training in schools, giving schools more flexibility to partner with employers and providing 50 percent tax credits for contributions to organizations that focus on workforce training. Langellier says it's "critical" to provide more technical education opportunities and "incent experienced technical workers to relocate to our state."

    To bring in more capital, the organization is supporting making the Venture Capital Investment tax credit transferable to boost out-of-state investors, updating the Headquarters Relocation Tax Credit to allow more incentives for small companies and exempting data warehouse equipment purchases and electricity use from state sales and use taxes.

    ITIA is also advocating for policies to improve quality of place in Indiana, including supporting Governor Eric Holcomb's proposed $100 million investment in high-speed broadband internet in underserved areas and allowing Certified Tech Parks to capture up to $500,000 annually to keep making investments.

    http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/39840273/tech-association-outlines-legislative-priorities?utm_source=delivra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Tech%20News%20THUR%20Jan%2024%202019%20Spur%20Interactiv&utm_id=1200135&dlv-ga-memberid=30170285

  • November 21, 2018 2:56 PM | Anonymous

    "Some of the biggest names and businesses in Indiana's tech sector are coming together to launch an organization to advocate for the industry with state leaders," reports Inside Indiana Business. David Becker, chairman and CEO of First Internet Bancorp and 1975 graduate of DePauw University, is chairing the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association which "will push for policies to ensure the state has a strong infrastructure for tech companies to start, enough capital for them to grow and enough talent for them to sustain and scale."

    Becker says the group will give the industry "laser focus on public policy advocacy."

    More than 90 companies are part of the organization, including "startups like Zionsville-based 120WaterAudit, which won Indy's first Rise of the Rest competition."  The company's co-founder and CEO, Megan Glover is a 2004 DePauw graduate and is also on the organization's board. "She says the group is working on its specific agenda and priorities, and hopes to solidify the state as a tech hub of the Midwest," reports Andy Ober.

    "Hopefully we can attract talent to come here," Glover says. "We don't talent going to California. We don't want talent going to Chicago. We want talent to stay here and come here, so attract and retain. And then, let's see a lot of new businesses emerge and let's see a lot of new innovation emerge and grow and become really powerhouse technology companies."

    Read more, and access a video clip, at Inside Indiana Business.com.

    Becker, who will appear on the statewide business program this weekend, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 Inspire Awards. Learn more in this previous summary.

    https://www.depauw.edu/news-media/latest-news/details/34013/

  • November 20, 2018 4:15 PM | Anonymous

    More than 90 companies join newly formed organization to advocate for public policy at the statehouse

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – In the South Atrium of the Indiana State Capitol on the General Assembly’s Organization Day, more than ninety technology company leaders and representatives joined to announce the launch of the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA). ITIA seeks to build consensus and have a consistent presence advocating for state public policy priorities critical to the success of Indiana’s technology industry. The organization is comprised of technology and innovation companies ranging from startups to Salesforce.

    Indiana is home to Salesforce’s largest office outside of its San Francisco global headquarters. In a statement, Bob Stutz, CEO, Marketing Cloud & Chief Analytics Officer at Salesforce, stated, “Salesforce is a founding member of the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association because we want to be proactive in working with state leaders to ensure Indiana continues to be a thriving environment for our industry to grow. With over 1,800 employees in Indiana and plans to continue growing here, this is an investment in our ability to attract and retain talent.”

    Longtime Indiana tech pioneer David Becker, who founded multiple successful tech companies and is the CEO of First Internet Bank which he started in 1999, is the Chairman of the Board of the Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA). “Forming an association with a laser focus on public policy advocacy is critical as Indiana’s technology sector prepares for significant growth. We are committed to outreach across the state, which is already underway. With a broad-based structure we will be able to educate and give voice to many companies that haven’t been engaged in this way before.”

    Becker was joined by more than a dozen Board members, some of whom spoke about their interest in launching the organization.

    ClearObject CEO John McDonald, who serves on the ITIA Board and co-chairs the Policy Committee, said, “Working alongside others on issues like the Next Level Fund and SaaS taxation over the last couple years, it became clear to me that our industry needs to have a consistent presence at the Statehouse and have ongoing conversations with executive and legislative branch policymakers as they work to navigate our new and complex issues.”

    Megan Glover, CoFounder and CEO of 120WaterAudit, winner of Indy’s first Rise of the Rest and ITIA Board Member, explained, “I’ve been in the Indiana tech scene for 15 years and our company plans to double in staff over the next couple years. I joined the ITIA Board because I want to do everything I can to help state leaders continue to foster an environment for investment and growth in technology companies.”

    Creator of the Indiana IoT Lab and Launch Fishers, ITIA Board Member John Wechsler underscored the importance for the organization to include tech leaders all across the state. “Our goal is for ITIA to provide value and a seat at the table for the “backpack and an idea” entrepreneurs and the tech giants. As I’ve traveled the state meeting with tech entrepreneurs over the last few years, there’s a real interest in becoming more engaged in policy discussions that impact their ability to succeed.”

    Citing his inspiration for joining the ITIA leadership, DemandJump CoFounder and CEO, and ITIA Board Treasurer, Christopher Day, proclaimed, “Indiana is on the verge of being the epicenter of a great economic productivity boom. We are positioned to be the nation’s nucleus because the economy of the future will be the convergence of technology in all industries. With our infrastructure, talent, mission- critical industries, technology, lifestyle, cost of living and regulatory environment, Indiana can seize the opportunity that is coming.”

    TechPoint CEO Mike Langellier articulates ITIA’s unique role in the state’s tech community. “TechPoint focuses on being the source of tech community executive leadership, industry intel, and programs that will accelerate the growth of Indiana’s tech ecosystem. In cases where advancing Indiana’s tech ecosystem requires public policy lobbying, we lean on partners. We had success in recent years with the Next Level Fund and the clarification of sales tax on SaaS, but even more industry and government collaboration will be required to navigate Indiana toward long-term prosperity in our digital economy. We are glad to have another partner in ITIA to help facilitate the required conversations and collaboration with legislators.”

    Indiana Technology & Innovation Association Board Members include:

    • David Becker, First Internet Bank – Board Chair
    • Christopher Day, DemandJump – Board Treasurer
    • Pat East, Hanapin Marketing
    • Erin Eberly, Katz, Sapper & Miller
    • Megan Glover, 120 Water Audit
    • Darye Henry, AfterSchool HQ
    • Shelley Klingerman, Launch Terre Haute
    • Kristin Marcuccilli, STAR Financial Bank
    • John McDonald, Clear Object
    • Brent Oakley, Vibenomics – Board Secretary
    • Ade Olonoh, angel investor
    • Bill Soards, AT&T
    • Amy Waggoner, Salesforce
    • John Wechsler, Launch Fishers – Board Vice Chair

    Member and Associate Member companies include:

    • 120 Water Audit, Zionsville
    • 3oe Scientific , Carmel
    • Ade Olonoh, Indianapolis
    • AfterSchool HQ, Fishers
    • Allos Ventures, Indianapolis
    • Ambition in Motion, Bloomington
    • Amplify Technology Consulting, Indianapolis
    • Apprentice University, Brownsburg
    • AT&T Indiana, Indianapolis
    • BitLoft, Indianapolis
    • BlackInk IT, Indianapolis
    • BLASTmedia, Fishers
    • Blue Horseshoe, Carmel
    • Boardable , Indianapolis
    • Bolstra, Carmel
    • Brite Systems, Indianapolis
    • Clear Software, Zionsville
    • ClearObject, Fishers
    • Corydon Group, Indianapolis
    • Counterpart, Fishers
    • Crossroads Education, Indianapolis
    • Cylon Technologies, Inc., Fishers
    • DemandJump, Indianapolis
    • DeveloperTown, Indianapolis
    • DeveloperTown Starts, Indianapolis
    • dot Staff / Knowledge Services, Indianapolis
    • Eleven Fifty Academy, Fishers
    • Emarsys, Indianapolis
    • Emplify, Fishers
    • FairWinds Advisors, LLC, Fishers
    • First Internet Bank, Fishers
    • FullStack, Indianapolis
    • gener8tor, Indianapolis
    • Glassboard, Indianapolis
    • Greenlight Guru, Indianapolis
    • Hanapin Marketing, Bloomington
    • Healthcare of Tomorrow, Indiana
    • Healthstatus.com, Indianapolis
    • HustonTech, Westfield
    • Indiana IoT Lab Fishers, Fishers
    • InGen Technologies, Inc., Indianapolis
    • Insperity, Indianapolis
    • Jane Martin, Bloomington
    • Katz, Sapper & Miller, Indianapolis
    • KSM Consulting, LLC, Indianapolis
    • Launch Fishers, Fishers
    • Launch Terre Haute, Terre Haute
    • LifeOmic, Indianapolis
    • Liven, Fishers
    • Lumanox LLC, Indianapolis
    • M25, Chicago
    • M3 Ultimate Solutions , Indianapolis
    • MatchBOX Coworking Studio, Lafayette
    • Matthew Nunley, Indianapolis
    • McGowan Insurance Group, Inc., Indianapolis
    • Memory Ventures, Indianapolis
    • Mimir , Indianapolis
    • MyCOI, Indianapolis
    • Ontario Systems, Muncie
    • Passageways, Lafayette
    • Pierce Aerospace, Carmel
    • Pondurance LLC, Indianapolis
    • Printing Resources, Inc., Indianapolis
    • Recovery Force, Fishers
    • RICS Software, Inc., Indianapolis
    • Rook Security, Carmel
    • Sales Tuners, Fishers
    • Salesforce, Indianapolis
    • Salesvue, Indianapolis
    • Selfless.ly Inc., Indianapolis
    • Slane Capital, Bloomington
    • SmarterHQ, Indianapolis
    • Springbuk, Indianapolis
    • STAR Financial Bank, Fort Wayne
    • StartedUP Innovation, Noblesville
    • SupplyKick, Indianapolis
    • Rook Security, Carmel
    • The Bee Corp, Bloomington
    • The Brookfield Group, Carmel
    • The Mill, Bloomington
    • The Union 525, Indianapolis
    • Thomas P. Miller and Associates, Indianapolis
    • Tilson, Greenwood
    • Tmap, Indianapolis
    • Ultimate Technologies Group, Fishers
    • VendorJump, Fishers
    • Vertex Intelligence , Zionsville
    • Vibenomics, Fishers
    • WhatFriendsDo, Indianapolis
    • WHIN, Lafayette
    • WorkHere, Indianapolis
    • Woven, Indianapolis
    • Zennove, Crown Point


  • November 20, 2018 2:52 PM | Anonymous

    Indiana’s technology industry leaders on Tuesday morning are scheduled to announce the formation of a new trade association to represent their interests at the Statehouse.

    The organization, called the Indiana Technology and Innovation Association, already includes more than 90 technology companies ranging from startups to major players such as Salesforce and AT&T.

    The group has not yet finalized an agenda for the upcoming legislative session, but its policy committee is drafting positions in areas including capital and talent issues.

    Tech leaders say the official group is needed to give the industry a permanent voice at the Statehouse and to be able to consistently provide updates to state lawmakers on their concerns.

    The Indiana Chamber of Commerce established the Technology and Innovation Council last year, but the tech industry itself hasn't had its own trade association.

    “It’s been a long time coming,” said Launch Fishers Founder and CEO John Wechsler, who is vice chairman of the board for the association. “The idea here is to create a structure, a mechanism to carry forward the voice of tech.”

    John McDonald, CEO of Fishers-based ClearObject and board member for the group, said state lawmakers often ask how they can help the tech community but don’t have a thorough understanding of the problems companies are facing.

    “We want to close the door to any confusion or lack of understanding of those issues,” McDonald said.

    He said it became clear to him that the tech community needed something like the ITIA after the Religious Freedom Restoration Act controversy in 2015.

    “We’re just amateurs,” McDonald said.

    McDonald said the industry had some big policy victories in the last year regarding taxation of cloud- or subscription-based software and creation of the Next Level Fund, but he thinks they can accomplish even more now. The group is expected to hire lobbyists that will advocate for them at the Statehouse.

    “There are people that know how to do this and know how to do this well,” McDonald said.

    Board members told IBJ they expect the association to still work closely with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indy Chamber.

    “There’s going to be a lot of things that we’re going to lock arms on,” McDonald said.

    McDonald, who is working on the policy committee for the association, said issues like hate crimes legislation, trade education and access to talented workers, access to venture capital dollars and improving the health of Hoosiers are topics being discussed now. Once recommendations are made by the policy committee, the members will vote on the positions.

    McDonald said he expects the group to announce a formal agenda once members have their say.

    First Internet Bank CEO David Becker, who will serve as chairman of the board for the association, said he thinks the group could wield significant power given the number of companies already involved.

    “Obviously, with any new startup, you’ve gotta build credibility,” Becker said. “I think we can get credibility pretty quickly. We’re here and we’re here to stay.”

    Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said the tech sector is a significant part of the state's economy, so he expects to work with the group.

    "It's a very important part of our future economy, and we’ll work closely with them as we do with other groups,” Bosma said. 

    The growth in membership has already impressed some board members. McDonald said at one point, they were seeing a new sign-up every hour.

    “It’s been remarkable,” McDonald said. “I don’t know exactly where it will end.”

    Annual membership costs range from $500 to $10,000 and are based on the annual revenue of the company.

    Many of the member companies are from the Indianapolis area, but others are spread throughout the state, in Bloomington, Terre Haute, Muncie, Lafayette, Crown Point and Fort Wayne.

    “I’ve seen really great entrepreneurs in all corners of the state… without a real voice,” Wechsler said. "We’ve finally come together.”

    Tech leaders have a press conference planned for 10:30 a.m. at the Statehouse to formally announce the creation of the association.

    https://www.ibj.com/articles/71404-tech-leaders-create-association-to-lobby-for-industry-interests-at-statehouse

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