The Combine: Bringing Great Minds to Bloomington

When I opened up my Twitter feed one day and had a message from @TheCombineorg suggesting that I blog about them, I wasn’t sure how to react. I had no idea what The Combine was. So I tweeted them back, and asked for some details. They sent back their website, and as soon as I got through the front page I was impressed.  According to their website, “The Combine is a display of talent, entrepreneurship and innovation. It’s an event about tech, specifically the people, ideas and environments that drive technology.” Impressive right?

As I dug deeper I saw a talented roster of speakers and entertainment for the event, September 9-12. Some people, such as Sloane Berrent, I had never heard of, while others, such as Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, I recognized from one of my favorite movies, Wet Hot American Summer.

After finishing my background research I proceeded to discuss the event with the rest of The Chamber staff. A couple of them had heard rumblings about it, and we decided that it is an important event for the Chamber to be involved in. Part of our mission at The Chamber is better business, better community. By bringing hundreds of the nation’s best technology minds together, The Combine will serve as a big step towards people identifying Bloomington as a thriving technology hub.

To find out more about how to get involved, our account executive, Mary Jo, and I approached Sprout Box, a sponsor and organizer of The Combine, to see how we could get involved. Conveniently enough, all we had to do was walk upstairs, as they are located right above us in the Johnson Creamery.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Mike Trotzke, a cofounder and managing member of Sprout Box, as well as a member of the Bloomington Technology Partnership. He gave us some amazing background on Sprout Box, The Combine, and the organization planning it (which Trotzke is also on the board of directors for), Humanetrix.

Basically, The Combine’s goal is to put people who are involved in entrepreneurship, product development, design, marketing, social media, blogging, coding, personal branding, and business development in a room together and see what happens. The Combine’s stated goal is, “To spur growth and creativity among its attendees.”

This growth and creativity will be stimulated through a variety of programs over the course of the weekend.  There will be open pitch sessions to share ideas with a room full of entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists, networking events, expert speakers, and hands-on training and development opportunities. These events and programs will all take place in the beautiful confines of Bloomington, Indiana in such venues as the Indiana University Hall of Champions, Buskirk-Chumley Theater, and world-renowned IU Kelley School of Business.

Want to find out more about The Combine, check out its website,, or Twitter, @TheCombineOrg.