Crossposted from the Herald-Times, this is The Mill’s regular column, written by Pat East, Executive Director.
Flywheel Fund is a member-managed capital fund that invests in early-stage tech startups in Indiana. The Mill launched Flywheel Fund in 2020, and since then they’ve invested over $1.8 million. The fund now has more than 30 portfolio companies from a range of industry verticals such as EdTech, AI/ML, HR Tech, SaaS, Cybersecurity, AgTech, HealthTech, etc.
Update on Flywheel Fund 4
We have reached the tail-end of our third fund and have spent the past few months fundraising for our fourth fund, “Fundt4stic Four.” I’m happy to share that we have surpassed our $1 million goal of capital commitments and are looking to have Fund 4 land between $1.1 million and $1.2 million. We are seeing an 80% renewal rate from members of Fund 3, which is great to see, especially in this current challenging fundraising environment.
IU Ventures Summit Pre-Event
Last week, fellow Mill-tenant IU Ventures hosted their IU Founders & Funders Network Venture Summit. As one of the sponsors of the summit, we hosted a pre-event to support the local ecosystem and to also invite investors from across the country to see the work we’ve been doing here in Bloomington. Attendees got a tour of The Mill and ate lunch as they listened to a “The Future of Work” startup panel and a Fireside Chat that featured AI experts from our local community.
The Future of Work panel was moderated by me and featured two Flywheel portfolio companies: Darrian Mikell, co-founder of Qualifi, and Eric Xiao, founder of Laxis. We explored the shifts and trends in HR Tech; and how, as both founders and leaders, they are addressing these challenges within their own companies.
The AI Fireside Chat was moderated by Derek Whitley, co-founder of Flamel.ai, and featured Steven Wasick, founder of infoSentience, and Joanna Millunchick, dean of Indiana University’s Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering. It was a dynamic discussion that delved into the future of AI and its implications on both a business-level and an academic/institutional perspective.
Overall, the event was a great success and we had a full-house that saw over 100-plus attendees ranging from seasoned venture capitalists to first-time student founders. We’re already thinking about what we can do for next year.
Bloomington Investments From Fund 3
Lastly, as our third fund comes to a close, I wanted to highlight some of our fund statistics.
- 28% of our capital was deployed into woman-founded teams (national average is 2%)
- 28% was deployed into minority-founded teams (national average is 3%).
- 32% went into local Bloomington companies. You can read more about them below:
Celadore is the world’s first acoustically optimized and modular cello podium. IU professor Jamie Tagg’s idea for Celadore was the winner of the 2022 Crossroads Idea Competition.
Finniva is a real-estate development material sourcing marketplace. Founded by two IU students, Finniva was named the 2022 Crossroads Collegiate Winner.
Flamel.ai strives to be the first of its kind: a fully AI-driven design studio for marketing content.
Grantcycle’s platform streamlines and automates grant management and reporting for the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Quiptu is a peer-to-peer platform for renting outdoor adventure gear and a previous winner of the 2021 Crossroads Idea Competition.
SecondSight offers the first-ever vertically integrated platform for cyber underwriting, enabling carriers to accurately assess digital risk exposure and vulnerabilities.
Solesca is a cloud-based SaaS platform that makes installing agrivoltaics simple for both farmers and solar developers.
Terran Robotics combines AI, 3D printing, and robotics to convert dirt into extraordinary walls for homes.
Ziptility provides end-to-end infrastructure management software with easy-to-use apps for water and wastewater utilities.
Startup Summer Program Begins
In addition, five IU student startups will be added to the portfolio as part of The Mill’s Startup Summer program, which gives collegiate founders the chance to work full time on their startup while receiving an investment from Flywheel Fund.
To learn more about Flywheel Fund, visit www.flywheelfund.vc/.
This article and its description of Flywheel Fund is not a public solicitation for investment.