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Kinetic Announces Keynote Speakers Jim Schellinger and Dr. Sameeksha Desai

April 24, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – Kinetic, the inaugural two-day Elevate Ventures portfolio conference taking place May 1-2, announced its two keynote speakers today. Jim Schellinger, Indiana Secretary of Commerce, will deliver the keynote speech on May 1. Dr. Sameeksha Desai, Director of Knowledge Creation and Research at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will speak on May 2.

As the member of Gov. Eric J. Holcomb’s cabinet who oversees the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Schellinger will share updates on the state’s economic development initiatives and provide insights on new opportunities to partner globally to propel innovation.

“As Indiana’s Secretary of Commerce, I have the privilege of meeting with business leaders and prospective companies from across the world to talk about the incredible momentum taking hold here in Indiana,” Schellinger said. “Each and every day, our Hoosier entrepreneurs and innovators are taking risks, developing new solutions and propelling key industries into the future. That spirit is infectious, and as a state, we are committed to ensuring that our job creators and thought leaders have the tools and resources needed to take Indiana to the next level.”

Schellinger works to grow the state’s efforts to attract new investment and jobs to Indiana, helping carry out the governor’s vision of making Indiana a hub for innovation and magnet for jobs. In this role, Schellinger works hand-in-hand with international companies, such as Infosys, to help them grow in Indiana while also supporting Hoosier startups and scaleups through programs and initiatives including the 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, Next Level Indiana Fund and Indiana Small Business Development Center.

“Secretary Schellinger brings terrific experience to his role as Secretary of Commerce and to his keynote comments with his remarkable accomplishments as past CEO of CSO Architects,” Elevate Ventures CEO Chris LaMothe said. “He knows well the challenges of driving the growth of a dynamic company.”

Following Schellinger’s May 1 speech focused on the state and global economy, Desai’s May 2 talk will circle back to Indiana’s entrepreneurs on a local level. Desai will discuss how entrepreneurial ecosystems are important to economic growth and prosperity and address how Indiana is developing the systems needed to succeed.

“An entrepreneurial spirit is at the heart of the work we do across the Foundation every day,” said Desai. “It’s important to bring together the many different people and organizations involved in building up the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region, because starting and running a business involves so many influences and layers of decision points.”

At the Kauffman Foundation, Desai embodies strategic and visionary leadership by anticipating trends and identifying patterns in data and evidence to shape the organization’s entrepreneurship strategy. She leads the design and implementation of the Foundation’s research-based thought leadership strategy in entrepreneurship, identifies knowledge gaps that must be closed in order to advance entrepreneurship, and conducts actionable, practical research that can inform programmatic strategies. Desai is also a tenured associate professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

“Dr. Desai has done extensive research and has a profound passion for empowering entrepreneurs,” said LaMothe. “She has received numerous awards and grants for her work on the political economy of entrepreneurship and even has ties to Indiana through Indiana University. Her expertise and knowledge in this field will help inspire our local entrepreneurs, investors, legislators and other leaders from across the state.”

Kinetic, fueled by Elevate Ventures, focuses solely on Indiana and its high-growth businesses. The conference will bring together Elevate Ventures portfolio companies, entrepreneurs, higher education institutions, community leaders from across the state and investors from around the Midwest to engage and spur collaboration.

Registration is open for Kinetic and people are encouraged to register before prices increase on April 28. The conference will be held at the Biltwell Event Center on May 1-2, 2018. Conference features include informational sessions led by industry thought leaders and professionals discussing best practices in leading and operating companies, an expo of over 50 Indiana high-growth companies, keynote speakers, over 100 investor one-on-ones meetings and various networking opportunities.

Schellinger, Desai and over 70 other speakers will share their experience and expertise from discussing best practices in leading and operating companies to financial and economic trends that impact the overall health of Indiana. Specific topic sessions include Building an Economic Advantage, First-Hand Exit Experiences, Higher Ed Partnerships Boost Entrepreneurship, Next Level Fund, Spinning out New Technologies, Indiana Steps up to Entrepreneurship, State of Venture Capital, Economic Forecast: Expected Effects on Investment, Leadership Teams Built to Succeed, and more.

About Kinetic
Kinetic is where entrepreneurship, venture capital and community converge. We are connected in part by an interest in how these forces, when moving together in the same direction, can impact individuals, businesses and the state of Indiana. Entrepreneurial ecosystems are taking root across Indiana. Join us at Kinetic to help fuel the growth. For more information, visit