Bluffton Startup Receives $80K from Nexus Pitch Competitions

Fifteen Startups Receive $660K from Nexus Pitch Competitions 

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 8, 2020)  Fifteen Indiana-based startup companies have received a total of $660,000 in pre-seed and seed funding from Elevate Ventures to drive growth.

The 15 were chosen from 72 finalists that competed in the fall 2020 regional Elevate Nexus Pitch Competitions, which were held virtually Oct. 27-29. The competition was launched to invest in Indiana startups, with priority given to those engaged with higher education institutions. Startups seeking funds to build a minimum viable product are eligible for pre-seed awards, while companies that are further along — building and testing the processes that will be used to scale the business — are eligible for seed awards.

“We are extremely pleased with the record number of applications, and the finalists’ pitches have set a new bar for ingenuity and growth,” said Landon Young, executive director of university initiatives at Elevate Ventures. “These companies embody the entrepreneurial spirit across Indiana to innovate and create new economic opportunities.”

Regional winners include: 

Northern Indiana 

  • Pre-Seed ($20,000 investment) 
    • FloWaste Inc.; South Bend; University of Notre Dame 
    • GittaSitta; Granger; University of Notre Dame 
    • NearWave; South Bend; University of Notre Dame 
  • Seed ($80,000 investment) 
    • Graphene Synthetic Fuels; South Bend; University of Notre Dame 
    • LensQuote; Bluffton

Central Indiana 

  • Pre-Seed ($20,000 investment) 
    • Dencoda; West Lafayette; Purdue University 
    • Reezy; Carmel; Indiana University–Bloomington 
    • Teichos Laboratories; West Lafayette; Purdue University 
  • Seed ($80,000 investment) 
    •; Indianapolis; Purdue University 
    • Indy Gaming League; Indianapolis 

Southern Indiana 

  • Pre-Seed ($20,000 investment) 
    • Deep Word; Bloomington; Indiana University—Bloomington 
    • Its Here; New Albany; Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 
    • ShuffleMe; Bloomington; Indiana University—Bloomington 
  • Seed ($80,000 investment) 
    • Blueprint Stats; Bloomington; Indiana University—Bloomington 
    • Stagetime Inc.; Bloomington 

“Receiving funding from the Elevate Nexus Pitch Competition is a fantastic stepping stone on our path to further growth and invaluable experience that will help us in future fundraising,” said Ryan Gustus, co-founder of LensQuote. “This came at a truly great time as we were wanting to grow more quickly, and we look forward to using this investment toward scaling up our sales team.”

In addition to receiving funding, each company is considered an Elevate Ventures portfolio business and gains access to Elevate’s network of advisors and resources.

Each company also has the opportunity to pitch during the statewide competition in 2021, when an additional $320,000 will be awarded. To stay up-to-date on future competitions, deadline reminders and program updates, sign up for the Elevate Nexus newsletter. 


Elevate Ventures is a private venture development organization that nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-growth businesses into high-performing, Indiana-based companies. Elevate Ventures accomplishes this by providing access to capital, rigorous business analysis and robust advisory services that connect companies with the right mix of resources businesses need to succeed long term. To learn more about Elevate Ventures, visit

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