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INDIANAPOLIS (January 18, 2024)Elevate Ventures, a leading venture capital firm, today announced the official launch of the Elevate Ventures Pre-Seed Fund. In partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), this new $3 million fund will provide direct investments ranging from $20,000 – $100,000 to pre-seed companies in Indiana for the purpose of de-risking startups to the point that they are attractive to other investors and for follow on seed-stage Elevate Ventures investment.

The Pre-Seed Fund replaces the Elevate Nexus Pitch Competition, which served Indiana startups for over four years by hosting regional and statewide pitch competitions where winners took home direct investments ranging from $20,000 – $100,000. The Pre-Seed Fund will also award $20,000 – $100,000 direct investments, but with this new fund, companies can pitch for an investment at any time of the year without having to compete in a competition. 

“Our goal is to provide investments to as many eligible companies as possible, focusing attention on $20,000 investment opportunities where early money can help with customer discovery activities, MVPs, prototypes and other critical actions to help ensure founders are building impactful startups,” said Jacob Schpok, Partner and Head of Platform at Elevate Ventures.

The Pre-Seed Fund fills a gap experienced by startups globally, not just in Indiana. Elevate Ventures anticipates that out-of-state startups will relocate to Indiana to access these funds and resources. As such, the Pre-Seed Fund can be leveraged as a new business recruitment tool for companies in industries and verticals that matter to Indiana’s economy.

Why Indiana Needs the Elevate Ventures Pre-Seed Fund
Around the world, many startup leaders need more tools and skills to take the leap from pre-seed to seed-stage investment and continued growth.

“As the startup landscape evolves, so does the support needed for entrepreneurs,” said IEDC Senior Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Small Business David Watkins. “This pre-seed fund will help early-stage startups access capital in Indiana and add to the already vigorous and diverse Hoosier ecosystem.”

Many pre-seed investments will include dollars set aside for education and startup support resources. For example, participating in a sales accelerator may not be considered a direct milestone toward achieving product-market fit but might make all the difference in ensuring an entrepreneur is equipped with the skills to launch and scale a successful company. Costs for these programs can be accounted for when investing with the Pre-Seed Fund. The goal is to support more companies and founders for success through the beginning of their entrepreneurial journeys to establish a strong pipeline of venture-ready growth companies in Indiana.

The Pre-Seed Fund application is live, and innovation-driven entrepreneurs can find the complete fund details and link to apply by visiting Elevate’s website.

Elevate Nexus Pitch Competition legacy
From 2019 to 2023, the Elevate Nexus Pitch Competitions awarded $6.46 million and allowed companies to present publicly to an audience of investors and aspirational entrepreneurs eager to learn best practices in pitching. Moving forward, Elevate Ventures plans to host demo days throughout the state in collaboration with Indiana entrepreneurial stakeholders.

In addition, and to ensure consistent engagement with the leaders of Indiana’s entrepreneurship ecosystems statewide, Elevate Ventures will also host bi-annual roadshows to visit entrepreneurs and regional ecosystem builders in their local markets. Startup investors and statewide stakeholders will be invited to join Elevate Ventures for multi-day bus trips across Indiana with the intention of inspiring entrepreneurs, surfacing opportunities, and sending the message that we are here to support startups in every corner of the state. 

About Elevate Ventures
Elevate Ventures is the #1 most active VC in the Great Lakes Region and Top Twenty in the world. Elevate invests in high-potential, cross-sector innovative companies with a minimum $500M total addressable market (TAM) at the pre-seed, seed, and Series A stages. To learn more about Elevate Ventures, visit   

About IEDC
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is charged with growing the State economy, driving economic development, helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state. Led by Secretary of Commerce David Rosenberg, and governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, innovation and entrepreneurship resources like the Elevate Pre-Seed Fund, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts. For more information about the IEDC, visit