How to Build the Next Era of Venture Capital in the Midwest
Insight from Don Aquilano, co-founder and managing partner of Allos Ventures
My roots in Indiana run deep. I’ve helped launch companies, taught at universities, advised businesses, and immersed myself in the world of venture capital here. And throughout the past two decades, I’ve witnessed the singular traits that set Indiana’s tech community apart from the rest of the country — even from the rest of the region.
Allos Ventures was founded to help propel high-growth tech companies right here, in the heart of the Midwest. And although our interests reach beyond the borders of the Hoosier State, my passion for venture capital in Indiana springs from the unbeatable formula I’ve seen at some of our most successful companies.
That formula informs every move we make at Allos, from how we choose our portfolio companies to how we participate in our communities. It starts with a focus on people, extends to a culture that values intentionality, and yields much more value than a simple return on investment.
An investment in people
Behind every product is a team: people who develop the vision, write the code, implement the processes to make it work. Creating a team of the right people is hard — but it’s the most important investment a company can make.
Our investment in a portfolio company begins with its founder. We support the person behind the vision as much as the vision itself, and we understand the power of a creative, well-matched team. It’s why we back passionate entrepreneurs, why we look for people passionate about solving their customer’s problems. And it’s why we collaborate with our portfolio companies to develop teams that get results.
A commitment to culture
But there’s more to success than a company that builds popular software. Success breeds success, and a successful culture is one in which everyone thrives. The people who make a great product should also make a great culture: one that’s inclusive, encourages learning, and facilitates community service.
That seems like a tall order for startups, but it’s a commitment to culture that makes the Indiana tech ecosystem special. The Indiana work ethic is a cliche only because it’s so commonly observed. Founders who devote time to mentoring, inspired teams that devote time to creating an encouraging workplace and community service — it all combines to create a larger culture that strives for more than making each quarter.
A goal beyond profit
The aim of venture capital is to build successful companies. But the Indiana tech community understands that part of building great companies is just the beginning: successful companies with supportive cultures impact the wider community.
The legacy of joining service and tech in Indiana is a long one: organizations like Nextech, Indy Women in Tech, The Startup Ladies, and TechPoint are just four homegrown initiatives founded by members of the tech community. The vision we share with the Indiana tech community is a productive cycle: jobs, local value, wealth creation, and a betterment of the community through social responsibility.
Indiana is a state with incredible human capital, a deep commitment to its communities, and a drive to make positive impact wherever possible. It’s why I’ve invested my life here, and it’s why Allos invests in Indiana.