Venture Capital Tour Makes Stop in Michiana

South Bend- On the fourth floor of the Citizens Bank building on Jefferson Boulevard in downtown, Max Brickman and the Heartland Ventures team are working to flip the script on venture capital.

The venture capital firm, which is partnered with Great Lakes Capital, Notre Dame and Bradley Company, works to fund startup companies in Silicon Valley that are planning to do business or relocate to the Midwest. So far, Heartland Ventures has a stake in five technology businesses.

And this week, Heartland Ventures hosted representatives from other venture capital firms on a trip through Indiana, speaking with manufacturers in Elkhart and Fort Wayne and tech companies in Indianapolis. They wanted to learn more about the Hoosier businesses and think about problems or inefficiencies West Coast startups could help improve.

With stops at Jayco, Smoker Craft, Sweet Water Sound and Steel Dynamics, as well as meeting with members of the tech scene in Indianapolis, the tour exposed investors to difference facets of business throughout the state. Along the way, the group of investors made an evening stop at Chippewa Bowl in South Bend.

It’s reminiscent of the “Comeback Cities” tour hosted by Ohio U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan last year that made stops in Youngstown and Akron, Ohio, Detroit and South Bend.

“You don’t have a lot of coastal investors that are working with Midwestern business people,” Brickman said. “That needs to happen.”

The brain child of Brickman and IndexVentures principal Damir Becirovic, the idea for the trip was conceived while the two were touring manufacturing sites in Shenzhen and Beijing, China.

“We were going through all the factories in China, getting great perspective,” Brickman said. “So we started collaborating and said ‘why don’t we do this in the Midwest?”

Read the full article in the South Bend Tribune.

Photo Source: Grant Beachy