Velocity Indiana made a splash in the spring of 2013 when it launched the area’s first startup accelerator program. Funded by the Ogle Foundation and the BlueSky Network, and managed by entrepreneur Tony Schy, it made an immediate impact on the area’s startup ecosystem.
In just over two years, Velocity has conducted four accelerator programs, has expanded its facility to 7,000 square feet with 70 co-working clients, has taught technology classes for hundreds of kids, and has helped launch the MakerMobile, a traveling educational workshop. Velocity has provided a home for Startup Weekends, pitch contests, Startup NEXT programs, and many other activities that support the community.
By June of this year, Velocity will have funded, mentored and graduated 22 startups. Over $1.2 million in follow-on investments have been made in these companies. Velocity graduates have won the Vogt Award final prize and have been admitted into top-tier accelerators such as 500 Startups and Techstars. But, any healthy ecosystem is characterized by change, and that’s the case for Velocity. Tony Schy announced that he’ll leave after the 2015 accelerator program, and the two funding foundations have always viewed Velocity as an experiment, looking for others in the community to help ensure that it continues over the long run.
In the time since Velocity’s founding, the XLerateHealth accelerator has begun; the Vogt Awards have been restructured as an accelerator for tangible products; Nucleus has modified its LaunchIt program to use Lean Startup methods; the U of L MBA program has adopted Lean Startup; and the Speed School and the Purdue College of Technology both offer Lean Startup entrepreneurship courses for undergraduates. Now is a good time to ask how many accelerators Louisville needs, what their goals should be, who might provide funding, and how they should be organized and managed.
At Open Coffee on Monday, we’ll have an opportunity to engage in a community dialogue about the future of Velocity. We’ll be joined by Kent Lanum of the Ogle Foundation, Bryce Butler of the BlueSky Network, and Terry Gill and Lisa Bajorinas of EnterpriseCorp, which runs the Vogt Awards accelerator program. Bring your questions and your suggestions for how startup accelerators in and around Louisville can continue to grow and thrive.
Open Coffee Louisville
8 a.m. every Monday
204 S. Floyd St., Louisville KY 40202
Parking: Free and metered parking on Floyd Street. Free parking at SpringHill Suites, 132 E. Jefferson St. – pick up a pass at iHub: click for details.
Twitter: @startupLou @OpenCoffeeLou