Indiana’s hardtech ecosystem collides at the 16 Tech Innovation District to fuel local connectedness

What is Hardtech Indiana?

Hardtech Indiana officially launched in March 2023 during a standing-room-only event at the 16 Tech Innovation District. As a collective effort among Indiana’s industry support organizations (tech, manufacturing and logistics, agbiosciences), state government and venture capital firms, Hardtech Indiana is focused on growing Indiana’s hardtech ecosystem.

  • Mission: Showcase Indiana’s entrepreneurship resources and support organizations that are available to our entrepreneurs and provide a physical and digital space to connect and collaborate.
  • Vision: The state of Indiana will lead the nation in hardtech startup creation and innovation.

Hardtech–product innovation where hardware and manufacturing meet software–is vital for Indiana’s continued leadership in the advanced industries, especially when considering Indiana is the most manufacturing intense state as measured by % of GDP and jobs per capita.

Hardtech is also the 4th largest venture capital investment category for Indiana when measured by dollars invested in 2022, according to TechPoint’s latest venture report. It’s why multiple hardtech startup accelerator programs exist in our state: The Heritage Group Accelerator, gBETA Energy and Sustainability, gBETA Industry 4.0 and the Product Accelerator by MatchBOX and the Indiana IoT Lab.

Hardtech Indiana is spearheaded by the below 8 organizations, all of which are focused on supporting entrepreneurs in Indiana and beyond.

Connecting the Conexus Indiana Network with the Hardtech Ecosystem

Conexus Indiana regularly supports entrepreneurs who are developing/selling hardtech products/solutions into advanced manufacturing and logistics companies as well as hardtech companies that are seeking new partnerships (i.e., for contract manufacturing or R&D). Our Advanced Industries Council comprises over 140 manufacturing and logistics companies and is convened on a quarterly basis. These established companies are always searching for new sources of innovation; for example, through new technology deployments or acquisitions.

Why connectivity between these two audiences is important:

  • Entrepreneurs that are part of a connected hardtech ecosystem can accelerate company growth through access to funding, talent development, customers, partnerships, mentorship and more.
  • Established manufacturing and logistics companies that are part of a connected hardtech ecosystem can accelerate innovation through access to untapped resources (i.e., startups that are developing new technologies).

Kick-off Event Recap

On March 2, 2023, over 140 individuals gathered at the 16 Tech Innovation District for the Inaugural Hardtech Indiana Series Kick-off Event to hear from entrepreneurship support organizations, learn more about resources available, and network with hardtech peers. Students, young professionals, hardtech founders, manufacturing companies, and ecosystem partners were represented from all across Indiana, including as far as Northern Indiana and Evansville.

Two panel discussions were held to share knowledge and drive engagement among the attendees:

Innovation Spaces & Accelerator Programs
Grant Funding & Venture Capital

The evening concluded with a ‘Networking with Purpose’ session in partnership with Pack Away Hunger, where attendees worked together to pack 14,000 meals for hungry Hoosiers in Central Indiana and to support the humanitarian relief efforts in Turkey.

Learn more about the Hardtech Indiana Committee: 16 Tech Community Corp., AgriNovus Indiana, Conexus Indiana, Elevate Ventures, HG Ventures, Indiana Economic Development Corp., IU Ventures, TechPoint.