Kelley School’s monthly business index for Indiana rises for fourth consecutive month

Posted on September 23rd, 2014 | By Bill W. Hornaday


Leading economic indicators, particularly those in the housing and automotive sectors, contributed to a “robust” increase in the Kelley School of BusinessLeading Index for Indiana in September.

Produced by the school’s Indiana Business Research Center, the index reflected increased interest from experienced homebuyers, a potential “banner year” for automakers and higher transportation and logistics measures, said Timothy Slaper, the center’s research director.

However, these findings were tempered by continued concerns about the U.S. economy, causing some consumers and small businesses to take a “wait-and-see” approach, Slaper added.

Learn more about the research center and its monthly index here.


Inventrek Technology Park marks 10th year as incubator for Kokomo-area companies

Posted on September 23rd, 2014 | By Bill W. Hornaday


Inventrek Technology Park, an incubator for high-tech businesses in Kokomo and Howard County, will celebrate its 10th anniversary with an Oct. 2 ceremony at the park.

Opened in January 2004, Inventrek is home to companies that serve such industries as robotics, wireless communications, environmental sciences, freight logistics, renewable energy, and marketing. Affiliated with the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, it offers services and programs that include business education, mentoring, coaching, and access to capital.

Through an aligned commitment to regional economic development in north central Indiana, IU Kokomo has enjoyed a mutually beneficial collaborative relationship with Inventrek since its inception. Additional details on the event are available on the Inside Indiana Business website.


Universities warn that new tech patent, licensing growth may halt if reductions in federal research funds persist

Posted on September 22nd, 2014 | By Bill W. Hornaday


Despite steady patent and licensing growth and a 16 percent increase in new technology startups in 2013, technology managers at major U.S. research universities are worried this trend will wane if federal research funds continue their decline.

In its annual Licensing Activity Survey that covers the 2013 fiscal year, the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) found that along with startup growth, there was a 5.7 percent jump in new patent applications filed, an 11 percent surge in patents issued, a 1.3 percent increase in licenses executed, and a 20 percent leap in newly created commercial products. The number of startups still operating at fiscal year’s end also rose by 5.1 percent, while the number of deals with established startups grew 3 percent.

Such figures reflect a strong licensing and startup environment at most U.S. academic and research institutions — not to mention new jobs and revenue streams created – although federal research spending in 2013 held relatively steady at $39.9 billion.

In a presentation of its survey’s highlights, AUTM cites a September 2012 briefing from the American Association for the Advancement of Science that states if federal sequestration measures remain in place through 2017, overall research and development funding could decline by 8.4 percent. The AUTM survey added that in each year since  2004, research grants funded by the National Institutes of Health have declined.

AUTM leaders warn that without strong leadership from Congress, continued gains in licensing and startup activity will be jeopardized.


“It’s critical to all of us that Congress continues its strong support for research funding at our federal agencies.”

– IURTC President and CEO Tony Armstrong

“We need strong support for research funding agencies such as the National institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, and we need Congress to maintain the strength of the U.S. patent system by avoiding roadblocks to patent holders who need to enforce legitimately their patents against infringement,” said AUTM President Jane Muir, who directs the Florida Innovation Hub at the University of Florida.

Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. (IURTC) officials echoed Muir’s comments, noting the public impact that such research generates. According to AUTM’s survey, about 14 new commercial products based on academic research were created weekly in 2013, while an average of 2.25 new companies were launched daily.

“The discoveries generated with that funding leads directly to many of the products and services we enjoy today. This activity makes our local, state and national economies stronger, and provides much needed employment opportunities to our universities graduates,” IURTC President and CEO Tony Armstrong said. “It’s critical to all of us that Congress continues its strong support for research funding at our federal agencies.”

Additional highlights of the AUTM survey, along with information about how academic research improves everyday lives, are available here.

Innovate Indiana Fund part of $10 million PrecisionHawk investment round

Posted on September 18th, 2014 | By Bill W. Hornaday


PrecisionHawk, an IU-funded venture that deploys unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to collect and process data for various commercial users, today disclosed a second round of funding that totals nearly $10 million.

The Innovate Indiana Fund, which led the company’s Series A funding, participated in the Series B financing round as well. The round was led by New York City-based Millennium Technology Value Partners.

“Our fund is excited to see the progress PrecisionHawk has made since we led the Series A round, both in the sophistication of the product and service and in the market adoption of the platform,” Innovate Indiana Fund Managing Director Ken Green said.

“This new round of funding validates the vision we saw when we were first introduced to the company two years ago, and we are very happy to have a quality firm like Millennium Technology Value Partners as part of the team.”

PrecisionHawk serves more than 50 clients in such industries as agriculture, energy, forestry, government, and environmental science. Its chief operating officer, Pat Lohman, holds an M.S. from Indiana University in kinesiology and ergonomics.

The company, which recently won an Indiana Innovation Award, has offices in Noblesville, Ind.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Toronto, Canada. Some of the new proceeds will help PrecisionHawk double its workforce and open a third U.S. office in College Station, Texas.

The Innovate Indiana Fund is managed by the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. It provides early-stage capital to companies with an IU connection and assists in such areas as technology assessment, market analysis, planning, product development, sales strategy and customer acquisition.

Learn more about PrecisionHawk and its latest round of funding here.

Carley joins OVPE as Assistant Director for Economic Development

Posted on September 15th, 2014 | By Bill W. Hornaday

Joe Carley

As the newest member of the OVPE team, Joe Carley brings 10 years of combined planning, zoning and economic development experience in three states to Innovate Indiana’s mission of fostering statewide economic growth.

In his role as Assistant Director for Economic Development, Carley — a recent graduate of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law — works closely with Kirk White, who serves as OVPE’s Assistant Vice President for Strategic Partnerships.

Some of Carley’s early efforts include working with Bloomington leaders who envision a technology “corridor” that would extend from the City of Bloomington’s Innovation District downtown along 10th Street to the IU Technology Park. He is also working to support land-use and economic development studies focused on the new Interstate 69 corridor in southwest Indiana and the Naval Surface Warfare Center near Crane.

“We’re hoping to find ways to make these areas more connected with prospective employees and the overall work force so we can maximize the opportunities that I-69 may bring,” Carley said.

 Read more about Joe and his background here.