John Glushik, a venture partner with Durham-based Intersouth Partners and the first director of Duke’s angel network, is joining Kip Frey as a vice president at Indianapolis-based HG Ventures started by The Heritage Group (THG.)

Glushik worked with Frey at Duke, where the serial entrepreneur and investor was vice provost for innovation and entrepreneurship and a law professor. Frey was also a partner at Intersouth, one of the largest and oldest venture capital firms in the Southeast. He told WRAL TechWire he admires Glushik’s work with entrepreneurs. “John is a really talented investor. Better than I am,” Frey said.

Glushik spoke to WRAL TechWire from Indianapolis in an exclusive interview about his new gig.

He left his role at Duke in July and plans to move to Indianapolis next year, although he remains a venture partner with Intersouth, which is not currently doing new investments. “We’re still doing followon investments in portfolio companies as needed,” Glushik said.

“Indianapolis shares a lot of similarities to the Research Triangle area,” Glushik said. “There are a number of smaller funds that are very effective in getting companies going and a good set of managers growing their business. There is a strong enterprise IT sector here which has had good growth and occasional exits. There are some good B2B companies and a vibrant life science community.”

Not limited to Indianapolis

He added that it already has a sports accelerator and he Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars – a vehicle for mentoring and developing early-stage companies at THG’s corporate research and innovation facility in Indianapolis. is starting there.

“They’ll help ten companies each year get good guidance and mentorship,” said Glushik. “We expect a few of the Techstar grads to be longer term investment opportunities. We want to make sure we help the greater Indianapolis area grow. We’ll work closely with other venture funds and angel groups here to build good companies.”

HG Ventures, Frey told WRAL TechWire, is intends to establish a $100 million fund over a five-year period. It won’t be limited to investing in the Indianapolis region.

“The Heritage Group is a privately held company with a large group of operating companies under one umbrella. In starting the new corporate venture arm, HG Ventures, they’re thinking strategically about innovation inside and externally. We’ll reach out and do deals in the areas they’ve involved with, environmental services, transportation infrastructure, construction materials, specialty chemicals. They have worldclass expertise in materials science.”

“HG Ventures can play a role in these sectors that don’t get a lot of attention from venture capitalists,” Glushik said, “the traditional industrial sectors.” Glushik has a B.S. in mechanical engineering and materials science from Duke and a Master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as an M.B.A. from Northwestern University, so he’s perfectly suited to his new role. “It’s taking me back to my educational roots,” he said.

He’ll be spending time in the RTP area

“I do have a bit of a learning curve to understand more about the investment process in those sectors, but from a science point of view, I’m getting back to where I started as an engineer.”

While he’ll be spending a lot of time in Indianapolis prior to moving there, he’ll be coming back to the Research Triangle area regularly to “Support the ecosystem, get to events, and work with Intersouth portfolio companies.”

Also, he said, “We’re open to making investments in the area. The RTP has great materials science expertise. All three of the major universities have expertise in different sectors. North Carolina State University has a robust program in the semiconductor space. There is a lot of interest in medical devices and life sciences at Duke. And the University of North Carolina is interested in materials deals. There is a lot of core materials research being done at all three schools.”

He noted that he saw a significant evolution in the entrepreneurship since 1999. “The activity in the IT and life science sectors has been incredible. A lot of good executives are building companies now and that contributes to bringing in more and more outside capital. The angel community has become robust in the area. A number of groups are very active.

“Layer onto that the three university affiliated angel groups and there is a significant amount of seed capital available to early stage companies. I was amazed to see the affinity among the alums from all three universities who want to engage and help entrepreneurs grow companies. They showed a great appetite for getting involved and putting up seed money. Support is just as important through the networks they have available.”

Glushik was intensely involved in the RTP and Southeast entrepreneurial ecosystem. He served on the boards of the North Carolina Council for Entrepreneurial Development, the Southern Capital Forum, the Florida Venture Forum and the Atlanta Venture Forum where he is a past chairman. He also served on the advisory boards of Southeast TechInventures and the Georgia Research Alliance

Glushik, who is “49 for three more weeks,” said as he looks back on his time in the RTP, at Intersouth, and working with the university angel groups, “I enjoyed working with special people and developed friendships that will last a lifetime. I’m sorry to be leaving the area, but the opportunity I have here is great.”

Previously on WRAL TechWire:

Kip Frey: Indianapolis-based HG Ventures is a unique and compelling opportunity

Indianapolis New Ventures Group headed by Kip Frey teams with Techstars