There’s momentum in Indy. All the great startup things happening in Indianapolis like Verge Indy, DeveloperTown and The Speak Easy, plus all of the Startup Weekends and monthly startup meetups, are motivating. But, how is this affecting Indiana as a whole? Well, I can start by speaking to the budding startup scene around Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley.

And, I say it’s exploding!

Terre Haute Tech and Bizprops
Some of the Terre Haute Tech crew at the July event talking with Tony Monteleone of Bizprops.

Let me explain. After attending several startup meetups in Bloomington and Indianapolis, over the last year I found a living, breathing tech startup culture right here in Indiana – it’s a bit of a hidden secret that’s on the cusp of being nationally recognized. In May of 2012, I attended my first Startup Weekend in Bloomington. It’s an unforgettable experience of startup mania played out over 54 straight hours of full throttle, non-stop action. Soon after recovering I realized what I had to do – bring that startup adrenaline rush back to the Wabash Valley! A few days later, I called an old college buddy and fellow geek, George Bowles, to explain how the startup scene is exploding. After just a few minutes of geek talk, we had our new tech startup meetup formed – Terre Haute Tech. The next day, we had our first member, Bryan Jackson, sign up. The following day, Bryan calls me saying he just signed up on Terre Haute Tech and has wanted to do the same thing for a long time! Awesome. After just three months, membership continues to grow each week.

So who else is in the local startup scene?

I talked with Paul Cardwell, President of Anedix Technologies, a Terre Haute software development company, about the local startup scene.

“I see a number of companies starting projects. From the mobile space, I am seeing it spike up, such as: Medical Apps, Legal Apps, Game Apps, News Mobile Websites, Internal Company Apps. In short, mobile is becoming more and more prevalent (phone and tablet),” Cardwell said. “I see tech people leaving, but some staying. The problem is, there isn’t an incubator offering in Terre Haute that handles non-student lead ventures (that I know of). It would be a good thing to see one spring up to help and/or fund local start-ups.”

Paul explained that they are developing mobile apps (and cloud/network enabled) using Corona SDK for Android and iPhone.

He enjoys building mobile apps and has been working on a cloud music player with animations.

Lance Gahimer has been working with local tech companies for several years and recently started a LinkedIn group for local IT folks to meet, greet and collaborate each month called Wabash Valley IT & Technology Council. Lance hosted the group’s first event in July and had a great turnout.  Many of the IT folks are also startup minded.

And there’s more. Our friend Bryan Jackson is taking an educational approach and has started a new meetup group called Tech Haute and has held a seminar on how to create a killer facebook fan page for your business. The group’s next meetup is about how to add Twitter to your social media arsenal.

Finally, a startup for startups is in the works in Terre Haute. The yet-to-be-named micro-incubator/co-working space will cater to tech startups by offering a great space to work and hang out with other like minded individuals, secretarial services, fast internet access, an in-house developer and evening mentor sessions with professionals of various business disciplines. It’s first startup is already in the works, a doctor-oriented medical application. I’ll be working with a local business owner to bring this space to fruition and, at the same time, ramp up the medical app.

While participating in Startup Weekend Bloomington this spring, I met several startup enthusiasts from around Indiana. Team EV Racing, one of the six teams chosen to compete, was a group of students from Rose Hulman. They had a great startup idea for an electric race car team that competes against gasoline and diesel vehicles. They even had a professional race driver interested in driving!

David Fisher, a Rose Hulman professor and member of Terre Haute Tech has been on a year long ‘tech sabbatical’ at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA. Sounds great, huh? Just to add some more pizazz, he also spent the three previous summers at Apple helping develop an Apple-Nike interface to be built into certain Nike running shoes. He brings those iOS, Android and Silicon Valley experiences back to Terre Haute to share with the next generation of Rose students.

Mitchell Landiss from Rose Hulman Ventures attended the July Terre Haute Tech event. He gave a great introduction on how his organization can help local startups, not only with product development at the 35,000 square-foot facility, but also with funding by offering venture capital through the Rose Hulman Ventures Success Fund.

“Rose-Hulman Ventures successfully collaborates with companies of all sizes – start-ups, growth-stage, and global corporations. Our client base operates locally, regionally, and at the national and global levels. The majority of our clients are located across Indiana. However, we also work with companies outside Indiana that bring a unique learning experience for our students,” Landiss said.

With all of the Regional Colleges and Universities the potential for tech startup talent is huge!

Ball State University
DePauw University
Indiana State University
Ivy Tech State College
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Harrison Business College
Vincennes University
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

When you combine startup talent with local tech meetups, co-working spaces, micro-incubators, angel investors and VC funding, there’s no where to go but up!

So get up, meetup and make your startup happen!