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INDIANAPOLIS (February 2, 2022) – Elevate Ventures a leader in U.S. venture capital, today announced the 14 winners of its last three 2022 Elevate Nexus pitch competitions, resulting in $580,000 in investments in Indiana-based startups.

Each winner received an $80,000 seed or $20,000 pre-seed investment to propel them as they create high-growth businesses across the state. Representing a wide range of industries and communities, the winning companies also join Elevate’s venture development portfolio.

Led by Landon Young, Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Programming at Elevate Ventures, the team of judges was looking for accomplished teams targeting national or global markets with innovative business models.

“The innovation and determination displayed by these companies is impressive. In the face of obstacles, they continue to solve national or global level problems and create a tremendous amount of value in the process. We can’t wait to pair the companies up with advisory services and resources to take them to the next level,” Young said.

Elevate Ventures hosts three pitch competitions each spring and fall in Northern, Central and Southern Indiana. During the fall 2022 competitions, 46 companies chosen among 88 applicants competed.


$80,000 Seed Investment

  • SAFA, South Bend: Led by CEO Aarik Gulaya and associated with the University of Notre Dame and IDEA Center-Notre Dame.

$20,000 Pre-Seed Investment

  • Kinga Safety, South Bend: Personal safety and edtech company led by Founder Ambrose Kamya and associated with the University of Notre Dame and enFocus Inc.
  • New Territory Inc., South Bend: Company/enterprise management company led by CEO Renee Riecke and associated with the University of Notre Dame and C2 Your Health Women’s Initiative Inc.
  • rel Eve co, Merrillville: E-commerce and feminine hygiene company led by Founder Jasmine Bennett.


$80,000 Seed Investment

  • Toolsey, Fishers: SaaS B2B company led by CEO Dan Johnson and associated with Purdue University and Launch Fishers.
  • Uniform Sierra Aerospace, West Lafayette: UAS (drone) hardware company led by CEO Duncan Mulgrew and associated with Purdue University and The Boiler Program.

$20,000 Pre-Seed Investment

  • KLOTO, Fishers: Fashion tech company led by CEO Adriana Garza.
  • Ortho3D, Carmel: Dental/orthodontics company led by CEO and Co-Founder Jack Reinke and associated with Purdue University.
  •, Indianapolis: Agtech company led by Founder/CEO Spencer Mae-Croft.


$80,000 Seed Investment

  • Integrate Tech Inc., Bloomington: Edtech K-12 company led by CEO Kevin Celisca and associated with Combine.
  • Laxis, Newburgh: AI SaaS company led by CEO Eric Xiao.

$20,000 Pre-Seed Investment

  • Acoustical Music Technologies, Bloomington: Musical instruments/accessories company led by President Jamie Tagg Jr. and associated with Indiana University Bloomington and The Dimension Mill.
  • Catena, Newburgh: Climate and deep tech company led by CEO Joshua Marksberry and associated with Ivy Tech Community College and the Southwest Indiana Small Business Development Center.
  • Prospect XR, Bloomington: Web 3.0 SaaS/DaaS company led by Co-Founder Brady Anderson and associated with Indiana University Bloomington and The Shoemaker Space.

The spring Elevate Nexus regional pitch competitions will take place April 11-13, 2023. All winning companies from regional pitch competitions, including past winners, are eligible to apply to compete for a share of $320,000 during the Elevate Nexus statewide competition, which will take place in August 2023 in Indianapolis.

At the statewide competition, pre-seed companies will compete for an additional $40,000, and seed companies will compete for an additional $100,000 investment. The statewide competition is open to the public.

Elevate Nexus is funded by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund (21 Fund). Several grant and investment programs managed by Elevate Ventures, including Elevate Nexus, are supported by the 21 Fund under the Indiana Economic Development Corp.


“The KLOTO team is thrilled to have won this pitch competition and is grateful for the opportunity to continue with our mission of showcasing the world of fashion through the eyes of real people. This investment will allow us to implement valuable feedback from our beta users and make our platform even better for our community.” — Adriana Garza, CEO, KLOTO Social

“This award will be pivotal in turning our prototype into a market-ready product and changing the clear aligner industry! The award will give us the resources and outreach we need to test and successfully launch our all-in-one clear aligner machine.” — Jack Henry, CEO/Co-Founder Reinke, Ortho3D

“The Elevate Nexus investment provided a powerful boost to our early-stage technology company. This award will allow us to continue on our path of building a world-class SaaS B2B lead management company. In addition to the monetary benefit, we are excited to become an Elevate portfolio company and all the expertise that comes with it. The continued expansion of Toolsey also provides the ability to hire additional employees in Indiana.” — Dan Johnson, CEO, Toolsey

“ is a robotics company that is building commercial-size autonomous spraying drones for agriculture. In order to power vehicles of this size (650lbs+), an energy source other than batteries is needed. We are using the Nexus award to build a full-scale prototype hybrid electric powertrain that will be used to power our spraying drone!” — Spencer Zachariah Mae-Croft, Founder/CEO,

“The investment we received from the Elevate Nexus program will be a critical component in bringing our TAP (Tethered Drone) system to market, which will help our public safety customers better protect lives and will help businesses implement aerial data capture at enterprise scale.” — Duncan Mulgrew, CEO, Uniform Sierra Aerospace

“Winning the Northern Indiana pre-seed pitch competition is a vote of confidence in our mission of creating a safer world at a click of a button. It is not only the funds that will boost product development but also the access to regional experts who will mentor our team to success. Congratulations to my team and all partners that have contributed to this win.” — Ambrose Kamya, Founder, Kinga Safety

“Elevate Nexus has been the foundational element in my business’ success. Winning the pitch competition has not only given me the funding and experience I needed to get rel Eve co. off the ground, I’ve also gained a warm welcome into an awesome community full of great minds and kind individuals.” — Jasmine L. Bennett, Founder, rel Eve co.

“I would like to thank Elevate Ventures for the Nexus award. I would also like to thank my daughter, Natalie Riecke, who helped with the pitch. The award opened doors at once. Other investors followed with more funding. We are now closer to reaching important milestones.” — Renee Riecke, CEO, New Territory Inc.

“We are excited and honored to win the Elevate Nexus 2022 pitch competition. This funding will support the development of two new products: Catena Fortify (which can boost the physical properties of plastics) and Catena Grow (capable of improving yield and growth as an agricultural fertilizer enhancement).” — Joshua Marksberry, CEO, Catena

“Thanks to the support from Elevate both financially and through educational programming, we are now prepared to move forward with confidence on a number of initiatives including building production prototypes of the commercially available risers. This gives us a chance to get the design out in the field to further customer discovery, feedback on the final design and possible endorsement from noteworthy performers.” — Jamie Tagg Jr., President, Acoustical Music Technologies

“The funding will help Prospect go from our current beta testing and research phase to launching our reputation system, Respect, into the market. We hope to continue to scale and start development on a proposal tracking software in Q2 as we start to sell Respect.” — Brady Anderson, Co-Founder, Prospect XR

“Winning this competition has provided us the exposure to the Indiana startup ecosystem and also the resources to take Laxis to the next level. We are now well-equipped to accelerate our growth and create impact in our community!” — Eric Xiao, CEO, Laxis

“Winning the Elevate Nexus pitch competition has given my company new-found life and traction! Thanks to their capital, we have increased our runway enough to execute on sales, while we complete our version 2.0, which enables us to sell into school districts. It has even helped us gain interest from other Investors! I honestly don’t know where my company would be if it weren’t for Elevate Ventures.” — Kevin Celisca, CEO, Integrate Tech Inc.