South Bend firm among winners of statewide business pitch competition

Paradise Spread
The main ingredient in Paradise Spreads, says owner Emily Edwards, is a pea protein. (Photo provided by Paradise Spreads)

A South Bend firm and two Northwest Indiana businesses were among the winners of a statewide pitch competition and will receive a share of $660,000 in investment funds from Elevate Ventures.

Elevate Ventures’ investments provide a boost to Indiana startups as they develop high-growth businesses and jobs across the state.

“The quality of the companies pitching was very strong which made the decision process extremely difficult for our judges,” said Landon Young, executive director of entrepreneurial programming at Elevate Ventures. “We’re honored to be able to invest in such a talented group of entrepreneurs and help them continue growing their businesses in Indiana.”

The competitions were held over three days with 50 participating companies. Fifteen companies were chosen to receive investments; nine from the pre-seed level and six from the seed level.

In addition to receiving investment, all winning companies will be recognized as Elevate portfolio companies. Winning companies came from across the state, with eight universities represented.  

The South Bend and Northwest Indiana recipients include:

Paradise Spreads of Schererville, partnering with Purdue University Northwest, received a $20,000 pre-seed investment. The company produces organic and healthier alternative sweet-packed plant protein icings, dips and snacks. Paradise Spreads was featured in the February-March 2022 edition of Northwest Indiana Business Magazine.

“Winning the Nexus Regional Pitch Competition will allow Paradise Spreads to scale up our manufacturing processes and continue to be innovative with plant-based products while ensuring all product development is in line with clean ingredients and sustainable regulations to enhance the consumers’ overall life,” said Emily Edwards, founder of Paradise Spreads. “Today, millennials are wanting a healthier lifestyle overall, and this includes shifting to better-for-you products like Paradise Spreads that focus on individual wellness needs.”

Plantennas of Chesterton, which also partnered with PNW, received an $80,000 seed investment. Plantennas is developing an automated solution for plant propagation, life cycle inventory, and data management from seed to shelf.  

Soteria Flooring of South Bend, which partnered with the University of Notre Dame, is developing a dual-stiffness safety floor for installation into high-risk fall locations to prevent injuries. The company received a $20,000 pre-seed investment.

Northern Indiana recipients

  • Erickson Motors, Fort Wayne, Purdue University Fort Wayne, received $80,000 in a seed investment.
  • Caevisus, Angola, Trine University, received a $20,000 pre-seed investment.

Central Indiana 

  • Queue0, Speedway, Ivy Tech Community College, $20,000 pre-seed investment
  •, Carmel, Indiana University-Bloomington, $20,000 pre-seed investment
  • EatHere, Indianapolis, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, $20,000 pre-seed investment
  • Quantum Research Sciences, Lafayette, Purdue University, $80,000 seed investment
  • Probari, Indianapolis, Indiana University-Bloomington, $80,000 seed investment

Southern Indiana

  • Perpetua Technologies, Bloomington, $20,000 pre-seed investment
  • Finniva Technologies, Bloomington, Indiana University-Bloomington, $20,000 pre-seed investment
  • ONEOQ, Terre Haute, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, $20,000 pre-seed investment
  • American Evidence Management, Vincennes, Purdue University, $80,000 seed investment
  • Traduality Language Solutions, Bloomington, $80,000 seed investment

Companies receiving investment from regional pitch competitions are also eligible to apply to compete for a share of $320,000 during the Elevate Nexus Statewide competition on Aug. 5 in Indianapolis. Pre-seed companies will compete for an additional $40,000, while seed companies will compete for an additional $100,000 investment.


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