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Bloomington capital fund growing in second cohort

(photo courtesy of The Mill)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A nonprofit entrepreneurship center in Bloomington has begun the second cohort of its capital fund for early-stage and high-potential startups. The Mill says the member-managed Flywheel Fund II has already quadrupled the membership of investors seen in the first cohort, and has increased the amount of money to be invested by 500%.

The second cohort is comprised of 50 investors and an investment fund of $640,000. The Mill says the cohort plans to make between six and eight investments of about $50,000 each, with about one-third of the fund being reserved for follow-on investments between $50,000 and $150,000.

“We’re seeing a lot of excitement around the opportunities in Indiana right now,” Pat East, executive director of The Mill, said in a news release. “When we launched Flywheel, we knew promising startups existed here. With critical investment at the right time, the opportunities for innovation and investment can increase exponentially. In five years, the startup and investment landscape in southern Indiana in particular is going to look very different. The snowball is starting to roll.”

East says the Flywheel Fund is not just about growing the startup pool in southern Indiana. He says it is also about growing the pool of investors; many of the fund’s members are first-time investors, according to The Mill.

Flywheel Fund II will begin hearing startup pitches early next month.

The Flywheel Fund I cohort, which began last year, invested a total of $120,000 in five companies, including Civic Champs, FloWaste, Qualifi, and Stagetime.