Launch Indy: Providing Coworking Space and Support to Small Businesses in Indianapolis

Launch Indy: Providing Coworking Space and Support to Small Businesses in Indianapolis

In this week’s episode, I talk with Katie Birge, executive director at Launch Indy, which is located in Union 525. Launch Indy is a coworking space and entrepreneurship center for nonprofits, remote workers, and any small business. As a coworking space, they are there for anyone looking for a downtown, part-term, daytime office solution. In addition to providing office space, they offer recurring meetups as well. 

“I think that starting a business is, in some ways, easier than ever because we have good tools. But it’s also harder than ever because you have to have access to those tools.

— Katie Birge

I am excited to talk with Katie about the 12-week social impact accelerator hosted by Launch Indy. This program is for early-stage enterprises that are either a nonprofit or a for-profit entity with a social impact angle. She discusses details of the accelerator, including a mentorship program, in order to pair local business owners and entrepreneurs with appropriate members of the accelerator. Launch Indy is seeking mentors as well as volunteers for the next cohort. To learn more, please go to LaunchIndy.com

Topics in this episode

  • Goal of the current accelerator

  • The social business model canvass

  • Preparing your pitch deck

  • Details on pitch day at the end of the 12-week program

  • Future accelerators of Launch Indy

  • The digital divide

  • Program to provide laptops to local entrepreneurs

Currency Exchange Made Simple, One Airport at a Time with Cash Swap

Currency Exchange Made Simple, One Airport at a Time with Cash Swap

In this episode, I talk with 2 of the 3 co-founders of Cash Swap, CEO Ben Diallo and COO Nigel Riggins. The third co-founder is Kameelah Shaheed-Diallo, who provides legal and general council. Cash Swap was inspired by a personal experience Ben Diallo had in Tokyo. He was exchanging US dollars for yen, and was handed currency that had been directly exchanged by the person in front of him in line. That is where the idea for Cash Swap came from.

“What we’re doing is we’re giving them information, because If you knew what that market rate was, you could exchange currency for the market rate yourself.

— Nigel Riggins

It is a peer to peer currency exchange that links fellow travelers at the airport so that they can swap currency with each other. Cash Swap is a networking app, which connects you with other travelers, and as such, the company does not have the same hurdles that currency exchange companies do. Ben and Nigel share product roadmap, details on service fees, and metrics with which to measure future successes. 

Topics in the episode

  • Educating travelers on market exchange rates

  • User experience within the app

  • Using JFK airport as a pilot launch

  • Current airport-based marketing strategy

  • Street team utilization

  • Future international expansion

  • Changes in the global travel market

  • Airport partnerships

Elevate Ventures with Jacob Schpok

Elevate Ventures with Jacob Schpok

In this episode, I talk with Jacob Schpok, executive director of university initiatives for Elevate Ventures. University initiatives is branded under the name Elevate Nexus, rolling out new programs and investment vehicles to grow entrepreneurship and start-up activity across the state, through engaging higher education institutions. Elevate Nexus is broken into a couple of different components: identifying best practices across the state with higher education institutions, figuring out where these institutions currently are with supporting entrepreneurs, and then cross-pollinating these ideas.

Topics in the episode

  • How elevate engages with universities

  • How much of Elevate’s investment dollars are directed to the university initiatives

  • Details of the seven pitch competitions Elevate is launching across the state

  • Qualifications of pre-seed and seed level investment opportunities

  • Expectations of a pitch at the competition

  • Problems of pitch competitions, and how Elevate Nexus is addressing those

  • Importance of having data that your roadmap is based on primary or secondary research

Lessonly with Max Yoder - Re-Broadcast

Lessonly with Max Yoder - Re-Broadcast

This episode is a rebroadcast of episode 34. In this interview, I talk with Max Yoder of Lessonly, a training software for 2 specific teams: sales teams and customer service teams. They focus on customer-facing teams, which are faced with the constant challenge of maintaining a high bar of quality, while the processes and tools around them are constantly in flux. This means that for these teams, training and re-training is needed month over month. 

“Our mission is to help people do better work. We believe that when people do better work, they live better lives.

— Max Toder

Topics in the episode

  • Examples of the user experience

  • Selling to these specific teams, as opposed to HR

  • Where Lessonly is now, compared to how it was originally envisioned

  • The “Better Work Method” and how it is reflected in their team

  • Removing features from Lessonly

  • Evaluating partnerships with other companies

  • How to evangelize with customers 

  • The value of sharing before it’s ready

Ting Gootee with Elevate Ventures - Re-Broadcast

Ting Gootee with Elevate Ventures  - Re-Broadcast

This episode is a re-broadcast of episode 21, my interview with Ting Gootee, the Chief Investment Officer of Elevate Ventures. This is one of my favorite interviews we’ve done on the podcast. In this episode, Ting shares a little bit about her background and the investment work she does.  She walks through the Elevate Ventures process for how they make investment choices and breaks down a framework for how she thinks of competition in the market and how they leverage that a little bit in their process of choosing a potential investment. 

Topics in this episode:

  • Process of going through Elevate in order to secure an investment: 

  • Buckets of 10-12 metrics through which Elevate ensures that an EIR fits the framework:

    • Team

    • Market

    • Product 

    • Customer 

    • Return

  • Role as Chief Investment Officer for Elevate

  • How competition affects and shapes on a potential investment

  • Determining the real opportunity that is available to a potential investment 

  • Red flags a potential investment may have 

  • Most awkward moment in a pitch

Contact Information

elevateventures.com