It is no surprise to anyone who speaks with Joel Neidig that he is a serial entrepreneur with two successful startups under his belt. He is a man with ideas, a strong understanding of the power of connections, and the ability to marry the two. Fortunately for us, he also loves our region and has chosen to root his family and his business, SIMBA Chain, right here in the heart of the South Bend – Elkhart region.
SIMBA Chain was founded through a collaboration with the University of Notre Dame. By creating licensed technology through Notre Dame, they could use university connections to help scale up their startup. They took a dispersed, remote approach to staffing, focusing on skills rather than geography when it came to recruiting. Team members reside all over the country, supporting their resiliency throughout the global pandemic.
Attracting Tech Talent
However, Neidig’s passion and enthusiasm for the area have spread to his team.
“Now that the company’s growing, people are actually moving from Washington DC to South Bend. So we see this cool great thing because we started remotely, we’re able to draw people back to the region. We told them we didn’t care where they lived in the beginning, but as we grew, they saw value in small cities and a growing ecosystem that was more affordable than the East Coast,” he explains.
Neidig sees the region as an excellent place for his business. He talks about the great tech talent found through the local universities, including the University of Notre Dame, IU South Bend, and Purdue. He speaks to the robust manufacturing environment that provides access to engineers and having access to high-potential startup grants as components that helped him succeed.
A Regional Approach
“I’ve never seen anything like the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, where they work with the local communities, Elevate Ventures, the State’s venture fund, and top tier universities to accelerate regional economic growth. I think that’s the magic, along with all the local companies are part of the LIFT Network. I feel that is a unique combination we have here (in our region). It took an entire community to get SIMBA off the ground, from local investors, university professors, local manufacturers all helped it along the way,” says Neidig.
While SIMBA Chain just celebrated the launch of their Global Office in the United Kingdom, they will also be announcing the opening of a sizable office in South Bend, which will be their main headquarters. “We don’t plan on going anywhere. I plan to have roots here and continue fostering that kind of (startup) excitement. We are going to keep building here. There is a lot of excitement about what the art of the possible is—it’s getting better and will continue to get better,” predicts Neidig.
On September 3, 2021, SIMBA Chain announced the closing of a $25M Series A fundraise. Read more about one of the largest Series A raises in the state of Indiana here.
About Startup South Bend – Elkhart