accelerator program

 

new Bloomington-Columbus cohort

starts March 2021

 

 

 

 

Design Services

tailored to startup needs & informed by entrepreneurial expertise

Entrepreneur-in-Residence

One of the most powerful startup resources in Bloomington is Entrepreneur-in-Residence Cy Megnin. Cy comes to us through Velocities, our partnership with venture capital firm Elevate Ventures, the City of Bloomington, and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. A full-time mentor to entrepreneurs across the region served by Velocities, Cyt has an office here at The Mill and one in Columbus, too. He helps founders build their companies, figure out marketing, how to sell, how to interact with customers, and more.

“In the other cities that I’ve lived—Austin, the Bay, and Seattle—there’s a lot more companies that you can invest in than there are people willing to write checks. Here I’ve found it’s the exact opposite. So if a 10 is a perfect slam-dunk investment, I run into a lot of sixes and sevens. And my job is to close that delta between seven and 10.

meet the entrepreneur wherever they are, whether they need help with their pitch deck, the pitch itself, hooking them up with resources or my network, whatever the case may be.”

—Cy Megnin

Startup Studio is a team of experienced Bloomington and Columbus designers who help startups acquire and engage customers and investors. Startup Studio understands the specific design needs of startups & creates powerful branding and tools. Members of The Mill and the Velocities network receive concierge service and exclusive discounted rates. 

When you’re running a startup, design matters—a lot. Your pitch deck. Your website. Your one-pager. All of these have to stand out from the crowd and instantly communicate a clear, confident vision that inspires investors and customers. The designers of Startup Studio make your essential marketing tools look great, sure. More importantly, Startup Studio designers use the expertise of The Mill and Velocities to create designs that speak the right language to investors and customers.

Startup Resources for Pitching & Capital

There is a surprising amount of capital available here in Bloomington and southern Indiana—if you know where to look for it, and if your startup shows traction and great product-market fit. From angel investors to the IU Philanthropic Ventures Fund to VisionTech Partners and VisionTech Angels to the SBDC’s INTAP program to Elevate’s Nexus program to The Mill’s Flywheel Fund and Velocities funds, the capital is out there.

Together with our Entrepreneur-in-Residence and our partners, The Mill helps startups understand what it takes to get it.

 

  • What kinds of funding and financing are out there?
  • Should you seek angel investment or a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, or both?
  • When is it time to go for Series A funding, and how do you do that?
  • What matters most to investors?
  • What does a successful pitch look like?
  • What will investors expect for their money?

CROSSROADS PITCH COMPETITION

Since its launch in 2017, Crossroads has grown to a state-wide pitch competition with applicants and finalists from literally all four corners of Indiana and every city in between: South Bend, Evansville, Terre Haute, Anderson, Indianapolis, Fishers, West Lafayette, Columbus, and Bloomington, of course.

To find startups, we coordinate with investors like VisionTech and IU Philanthropic Ventures and with the 50+ coworking spaces throughout the state who are members of the Indiana Coworking Passport, among other outreach. Crossroads is free to attend and open to the public. Join us on pitch day—you will be amazed at the incredible ideas and passion bubbling up in our entrepreneurial ecosystem!

Flywheel fund

Flywheel Fund is a member-managed capital fund based in Bloomington, Indiana. From life sciences and medical devices with an emphasis on software and technology, Flywheel invests in early-stage and high-potential startups.

Flywheel takes a unique approach to increasing local access to startup capital: growing a regional network of experienced investors. Rotating cohorts of investors support rotating cohorts of startups. Each investor cohort contributes a set amount to the fund, meets several times a year to listen to pitches, then votes; each winning pitch receives $25,000 in investment funding—and ongoing mentoring to ensure success. 

The result? More startups, and more investors—a flywheel of entrepreneurial energy.

Our Partners: Startup Resources in Bloomington and Beyond

Velocities

The Mill is proud to partner with Elevate Ventures, the City of Bloomington, and and the Greater Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce to create Velocities, a partnership that that provides a wealth of startup resources in Bloomington and all along the innovation corridor between Bloomington and Columbus  along the . We know that building a strong regional  support system for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies lays the foundation for lasting success.

The Velocities partnership is helping drive innovation in three main ways. First, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence educates entrepreneurs on how to build and grow their companies and acts as a bridge between Columbus and Bloomington, making connections and sparking opportunities.

Second, Velocities increases access to capital via its ideation and early stage funds. Finally, Velocities capitalizes on and feeds the tremendous potential for cross pollination and collaboration between Bloomington and Columbus. These two dynamic cities, and their anchor employers, draw talent to our region and offer incredible resources. By working together, we reap compounding returns on our efforts to build a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

IU VENTURES

IU Ventures provides a compelling way for IU alumni, faculty, students and friends of IU to help write the next chapter of the IU success story via their investment and involvement with IU-affiliated ventures. The IU Philanthropic Venture Fund is an evergreen fund that invests in high-potential, early stage companies founded or led by IU alumni or faculty members. The IU Angel Network is comprised of high net worth individuals who are affiliated with IU and who have a shared interest in making investments in and supporting IU-affiliated startup companies.

VISIONTECH

VisionTech Partners and VisionTech Angels are committed to advancing Indiana’s innovation ecosystem. They mentor and invest in promising startup companies and technologies with the potential of delivering significant return to investors and the marketplace at large. Their goal is to bridge the gap between early stage funding and other investment rounds.

Gayle & Bill COok Center for entrepreneurship

Ivy Tech’s Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship offers many startup resources in Bloomington. In particular, they’ve partnered with First Financial Bancorp to create a micro-lending program benefiting small businesses.

This micro-lending program can provide up to $10,000 to help businesses start, grow and expand. The Cook Center for Entrepreneurship will assist prospective startups with business and financial plan developments in order to prepare them to apply for these micro-loans at First Financial Bank.

For more information, please contact the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship.

B-Start

The Mill is proud to partner with B-Start! B-Start is a pre-accelerator program to help launch for-profit innovation-driven businesses in Bloomington, Indiana.

B-Start participants are at the earliest stage of their business development and are coached through a 5-month process of mentorship and group activities to build a foundation for accelerating the growth of their startups.

Our Members

are innovators in SaaS, biomedical, cybersecurity, online networking, regenerative agriculture, artificial intelligence, investment, design, nonprofit management, and more

$ invested in the last year

Members

Companies

Product-Market Fit

Like a Glove is The Mill’s podcast for startups about product-market fit (PMF), one of the most important and least discussed aspects of startup success. Entrepreneurs talk frankly how they found PMF and how they navigate the often-winding path of developing and evolving products and services that provide maximum value for their customers.

Host: Pat East

Like a Glove Podcast, Episode 14: Ongoing Maintenance, with Jason Whitney

You have to continue to engage with those customers and your trusted partners to iterate your product, even when you’re in the market. Because just because you found a fit today, it doesn’t mean tomorrow some kid in Palo Alto hasn’t come up with something that’s even better than what you’ve got, and he’s already knocking on the door of your customers.

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Like a Glove Podcast, Episode 13: Trying to Boil the Ocean, with Chelsea Linder

Trying to boil the ocean, trying to sell their product to literally everybody–that’s obviously not the most effective way to go about it. I really want to see a company that is clearly thinking about that beachhead market or target market, and knows who really is feeling this pain the most, that they’re solving, and how they’re going to specifically target those customers.

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