Bloomington: The Indiana town betting hard on startups

By August 25, 2017

With coordinated efforts to place startups at the heart of its future, Bloomington, Indiana, wants to grow its entrepreneurial and innovation scene.

Bloomington has already been the cradle of some impressive success stories. Earlier this month, SaaS startup Cheddar made the news when it secured $1.25 million in funding for their billing and subscription management platform, aimed primarily at making these processes easier for other startups.

The investment came from Chicago-based early-stage venture capital firm, M25 Group, which had previously recognized Bloomington’s potential for entrepreneurship in their ranking of best cities in the Midwest for tech startups. Wired Magazine also highlighted Bloomington as an “emerging epicenter” for the biotech industry. The city has a low cost, business-friendly environment that is relatively close to large startup hubs like Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Chicago

The M25 ranking also evidenced the need for further public and private support, and a more variegated entrepreneurial network to strengthen the position of Bloomington in the Midwest startup scene. Fortunately, the city already seems to be taking these recommendations seriously with a variety of startup friendly initiatives.

The Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), was established to foster seed and early-stage startups in the area. B-Start just opened a new cycle of their 5-month mentorship program, open to all Bloomington residents. The Switchboard is a single-stop solution for every need of a local startup. For training and consulting, free opportunities are available at the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship. Further business-planning resources are also provided by the Indiana Small Business Development Center.

For more mature businesses, the Bloomington Technology Partnership, another BEDC initiative, provides resources for networking and growth. Of particular interest is SproutBox, “a team of coders, marketers and business experts that work with entrepreneurs full-time in exchange for equity”.

This Indiana city, considered by Forbes as the best in the country in work-life balance, is making an all-in bet for entrepreneurship through mutual support. As Bloomington’s startup environment blossoms we are bound to see many more innovative ideas seeded and grown, like this real-time beehive monitoring startup.