Here Are Your 2020 Venture Sharks Finalists!

Venture Connectors is proud to announce the four startups that will compete in the final round of our 11th annual Venture Sharks™ business pitch competition on Wednesday, Oct. 7! Venture Connectors received more than 30 applications from entrepreneurs across the region. The Venture Sharks selection committee chose the top eight ideas for the first round […]

Venture Connectors is proud to announce the four startups that will compete in the final round of our 11th annual Venture Sharks™ business pitch competition on Wednesday, Oct. 7!

Venture Connectors received more than 30 applications from entrepreneurs across the region. The Venture Sharks selection committee chose the top eight ideas for the first round of competition, which was held during a closed pitch session on Sept. 24. The four finalists were selected based on the viability of their business, the quality of their presentation and the impact the Venture Sharks prize could have on their company. They are:

  • Borderless, an online bank payment processor enabling affordable and direct digital payments from anywhere in the world without the need for foreign bank accounts.
  • BrainSTEM, an educational tech startup that provides in-person and virtual learning via a proprietary virtual learning environment and social network that allows students to participate in STEM classes, projects and clubs.
  • CASPER Security, a company that helps municipalities protect first responders and neighbors from vacant and abandoned property disasters through rapid deployments of a proprietary, solar-powered home security system.
  • Pav*r, an integrated productivity tool that leverages calendar data to help users get more done in less time.

During the final round, presenters will be allowed a few minutes to describe their idea to the judges, who then will fire off questions to the presenters in the style of the television show, “Shark Tank.” One lucky survivor will receive a prize package designed to help them take their idea to market, including a $5,000 cash award, one-on-one mentoring from established entrepreneurs and advisors, as well as in-kind services provided by Open i Advisors and other sponsors. Venture Connectors is partnering with Open i Advisors for operational management of the competition.

The package includes startup coaching and one-on-one mentoring in key areas, such as strategic planning, product/market fit, software development, marketing and promotion, financial advising and modeling, capital fundraising and legal structuring.

Thanks to all the semifinalists who presented, and thank you to our prelims judges Zack Pennington, Mary Tapolsky and Raechele Gray!

Our Oct. 7 finals event will be held via Zoom from noon-1 p.m. and is open to the public. It is free to Venture Connectors members and $10 for guests. To jump in the water with the Sharks, register here.

Venture Sharks Goes Virtual! Apply Now

Venture Connectors is pleased to announce that applications for its 11th annual Venture Sharks business pitch competition are now open! The competition was postponed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has been relaunched as an all-virtual event. Early-stage companies and entrepreneurs are invited to compete for a $5,000 cash prize and thousands […]

Venture Connectors is pleased to announce that applications for its 11th annual Venture Sharks business pitch competition are now open! The competition was postponed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has been relaunched as an all-virtual event. Early-stage companies and entrepreneurs are invited to compete for a $5,000 cash prize and thousands of dollars of in-kind services. Venture Sharks has awarded more than $100,000 in prizes since it launched in 2010.

Applications are available here and are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. The Venture Sharks committee will choose eight startups to compete during a preliminary round of the competition, which will be held in mid-September. The field then will be narrowed to four finalists. The final round of competition will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 7, during Venture Connectors’ virtual lunch meeting.

Eight semifinalists will meet virtually with a panel of judges to present their ideas, and four finalists will be selected to compete during the virtual finals event Oct. 7. Competitors will be given a few minutes to present, then the judges will fire off questions to them in the style of the popular television show, “Shark Tank.”  One lucky survivor will receive a prize package designed to help them take their idea to market, including a $5,000 cash award, one-on-one mentoring from established entrepreneurs and advisors, as well as in-kind services provided by Open i Advisors and other sponsors. Venture Connectors is partnering with Open i Advisors for operational management of the competition.

The competition is open to businesses or entrepreneurs from any industry in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee, but presentations for the preliminary and final rounds of competition must be made in person in Louisville. A dedicated LLC or corporation need not have been created, but the idea and business being pitched must not be a direct spinout of a larger parent company. There is no restriction on age of the business, but it must have less than $75,000 of lifetime revenue. The business also cannot have raised, or had invested in it, more than $50,000 from any source at the time of application.

The Venture Sharks winner must agree to use their prize to directly pursue the business opportunity presented in the competition. The winner will be selected based on the viability of their idea, the ability of the final award to positively impact the business and the quality of their presentation. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2020 Venture Sharks competition still are available. For information, contact Stacey Servo at stacey@openiadvisors.com.

The Oct. 7 finals event will be held via Zoom from noon-1 p.m. and is open to the public. It is free to Venture Connectors members and $10 for guests. Click here to register.

Applications Open for 10th Annual Venture Sharks

Applications for the 10th annual Venture Sharks business competition are now open. Early-stage companies and entrepreneurs are invited to compete for a $5,000 cash prize, one year of startup coaching and thousands of dollars of in-kind services, provided by the competition’s sponsors. Vogt Invention & Innovation Fund returns this year at the competition’s title sponsor. […]

Applications for the 10th annual Venture Sharks business competition are now open. Early-stage companies and entrepreneurs are invited to compete for a $5,000 cash prize, one year of startup coaching and thousands of dollars of in-kind services, provided by the competition’s sponsors. Vogt Invention & Innovation Fund returns this year at the competition’s title sponsor. Venture Sharks has awarded more than $100,000 in prizes since it launched in 2010.

Applications are available at ventureconnectors.org/venturesharks and are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 29. The Venture Sharks committee will choose the top ideas to compete during the preliminary round of the competition, held April 18, where the field then will be narrowed to four finalists. The final round will be held on May 1 during the monthly Venture Connectors’ luncheon meeting. Visit Events to register.

In both rounds of competition, presenters will be allowed a few minutes to describe their idea to the judges, who then will fire off questions to the presenters in the style of the television show, “Shark Tank.” One lucky survivor will receive a prize package designed to help them take their idea to market.

New to the prize package this year, startup coaching will include one-on-one mentoring from established entrepreneurs and advisors on: strategic planning, product/market fit, software development, marketing and promotion, financial advising and modeling, capital fundraising and legal structuring.

The competition is open to businesses or entrepreneurs from any industry in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee, but presentations for the preliminary and final rounds of competition must be made in person in Louisville. A dedicated LLC or corporation need not have been created, but the idea and business being pitched must not be a direct spinout of a larger parent company. There is no restriction on age of the business, but it must have less than $75,000 of lifetime revenue. The business also cannot have raised, or had invested in it, more than $50,000 from any source at the time of application.

The Venture Sharks winner must agree to use their prize to directly pursue the business opportunity presented in the competition. The winner will be selected based on the viability of their idea, the ability of the final award to positively impact the business and the quality of their presentation. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2019 Venture Sharks competition still are available. For information, contact John Williamson at (502) 498-9607 or johndwilliamson@gmail.com.

February Lunch: Apellis Success Story

At our February lunch, President and CEO Cedric Francois, MD, PhD, shared the inspiring success story of Crestwood, Ky.-based Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc. He talked about his experiences with taking the pharmaceutical company public, as well as finding/attracting talent and securing funding. Apellis is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapeutic compounds […]

At our February lunch, President and CEO Cedric Francois, MD, PhD, shared the inspiring success story of Crestwood, Ky.-based Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc. He talked about his experiences with taking the pharmaceutical company public, as well as finding/attracting talent and securing funding.

Apellis is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapeutic compounds for the treatment of a broad range of life-threatening or debilitating autoimmune diseases. Dr. Francois co-founded the company in September 2009, and it now has clinical and manufacturing operations all over the world. He also co-founded Potentia Pharmaceuticals Inc., a private biotechnology company that operates as a subsidiary of Apellis, and has served as its President and CEO since 2001.

Dr. Francois earned his medical degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium and his PhD in physiology from the University of Louisville. Following postgraduate training in pediatric and transplant surgery, Dr. Francois served on the research team that performed the first successful hand transplant, of the Louisville Face Transplant Team, whose work supported hand transplantation in Lyon, France in 2005.

Startup & Investor Expert Knox Headlines October Axe Throwing Event

Join the Louisville Digital Association for its October gathering featuring author David Knox and axe throwing! Knox, a veteran of Proctor and Gamble and Managing Director of WPP Ventures, will present his new book, “Predicting the Turn: The High Stakes Game of Business Between Startups and Blue Chips.” The book is sure to open your eyes about […]

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Join the Louisville Digital Association for its October gathering featuring author David Knox and axe throwing! Knox, a veteran of Proctor and Gamble and Managing Director of WPP Ventures, will present his new book, “Predicting the Turn: The High Stakes Game of Business Between Startups and Blue Chips.” The book is sure to open your eyes about the process of building a startup company, negotiating funding and growing a successful venture.David Knox and Axe Throwing Oct. 18

The event is Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 at Flying Axes in NuLu. Come ready to play darts for grown ups, partake of hors d’oeuvres and learn a little in the process. (Knox is an investor in Flying Axes, but we’re going to be throwing axes! How cool is that?!) Parking at Flying Axes is in their gated lot (the gate will be open) next to the building off Clay Street near the Skate Park.

Flying Axes features a cash bar. The food and snacks will be complimentary.

Please RSVP as there is limited capacity at Flying Axes. The event is free.

Knox will have books on hand to purchase for $20.

The post Startup & Investor Expert Knox Headlines October Axe Throwing Event appeared first on Louisville Digital Association.