Recent alumna Madelyn Gary was a part of Elevate Ventures’ Elevate Origins record pre-seed cohort during her final semester at Franklin College. The business management and business finance double major was one of 128 participants in the spring class, joining young entrepreneurs from higher education institutions across the state, including Butler, Purdue and the University of Notre Dame.
Elevate Origins Pre-Seed and Seed programs offer virtual group learning, one-on-one coaching and live pitch practice to startups. The Pre-Seed program, which Gary was a member, is for aspiring entrepreneurs and startups that have not yet generated revenue, while the Seed program is reserved for revenue-generating startups and life science companies that have completed pre-clinical trials. The goal of both programs is to help participants develop investor-ready pitches and executive summaries, while also encouraging entrepreneurs to start businesses in Indiana.
Through weekly virtual classes, participants were taught how to come up with an idea, what an elevator speech is and how to create one for their business, what an executive summary should entail, how to make a slide deck to present information and, finally, how to pitch their idea to investors.
“From my courses at Franklin College, I already had knowledge on how to do most of these things. However, they provided several different ways to come up with a business idea and new ways to present information,” says Gary.
In addition to the instruction and networking she received from the Origins classes, Gary also worked one-on-one on campus with Director of Professional Development and Lecturer of Business Jeremy VanAndel to come up with a business idea and fine-tune the plan to carry it out.
“Madelyn came into the program with just some rough ideas in a notebook and came away with a viable business concept,” says VanAndel. “Her success in the program is a testament both to her creativity and stick-to-itiveness and to the kinds of open-ended, real-world challenges her Franklin College education helped to prepare her for.”
The culmination of the program was the 2021 Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competition, where members of the cohorts compete against one another, with the winners receiving convertible notes worth $20,000 to help put their business plan into action. While all members of the Elevate Origins Programs were encouraged to apply for the competition, only a select few were invited to practice their pitch to Elevate’s entrepreneurs in residence. Gary was among the select few.
“Being selected to practice my pitch pushed me to apply for the regional competition,” says Gary, who says the vote of confidence was inspiring.
And while she did not capture top place, Gary feels she still came out a winner. “In all, the program taught me how to think critically and research. These are great skills to have for any job. Also, in the business world, it is typical to present information in front of people and network. Honestly, presenting in front of investors is probably the hardest presentation one can give. You must find ways to convey your information quickly and sufficiently, as well as answer tough questions that you may not be expecting. All of this I can take with me in the future.” In addition, Gary has made contacts with other venture capitalist firms who are interested in her business idea.
Gary encourages her peers at Franklin College as well as students across the state to take part in this program. “Even if you do not have an idea, the resources and knowledge Elevate provides can help outside of entrepreneurship.”
Gary is the daughter of Scott and Melinda Gary of Trafalgar. She graduated magna cum laude from Franklin College, where she was a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society and Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society.
Contact the Franklin College Office of Communications for more information at (317) 738-8185.
POSTED Jun 3, 2021