By: Di Lu, MBA
Want to see intriguing and innovative products? Desire to meet and network with entrepreneurs and investors in the professional community? The Venture Club of Indiana, led by Kelley Professor Todd Saxton, is an excellent platform for satisfying your needs. I have had the privilege to attend its latest meetings thanks to Kelley and have gained a lot of knowledge and insight as a result.
Venture Club of Indiana organizes luncheons on the first Thursday of every month at which investors, entrepreneurs, and other business professionals meet to network and listen to the presentations of new companies/concepts seeking funding. At the last two events, I had long conversations with business professional in the finance, pharmaceutical, food and restaurant industries and listened to exciting presentations ranging from uninterrupted power supplies to inner-ear stem cell production.
In the October event held at Columbia Club, I got to listen two very exciting presentations:
The first was Skinny Coconut Oil, a 2013 startup in the fast growing coconut oil market. Skinny produces pH balanced, high clarity coconut oil made from unique coconut sourced from their production centers in Vietnam. This has allowed them to standout from competitors and gain popularity with celebrity and professional sports teams such as the Green Bay Packers & Chicago Blackhawks.
The other was UGo Bars. This is a 100% self-financed startup whose unique snack bars can be found at Marsh and Kroger stores across Indiana. Their snack bars differ from the competition in the pungent smell of fresh nuts that hit you when the packaging open and the consequent short shelf life. The attendees and I were impressed by the taste and aroma of the samples they offered us and amazed at what they accomplished with 2 full time employees, a shoestring budget, and word of mouth marketing.
In the subsequent Restaurant Panel discussion, I noted many interesting new developments and observations in the food and restaurant industries. Chief among these was the importance of challenges associated with sourcing local produce. Insightful comments such as when Stacked Pickle owner and former Colts Linebacker Gary Brackett said “train the employee that can’t and replace the employee who won’t” resonated with the whole audience.
Venture Club meetings are held at downtown Indianapolis locations and typically go from 11:30 to 1:30. This is an exciting opportunity to network within the Indy Venture Community and gain insights from them. Visit the Venture Club website to find out more, including their discounted Student Membership. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first two sessions and can’t wait to attend the next one.