Here are the 2019 Venture Sharks Finalists!

Venture Connectors has selected four startups to compete in the final round of our 10th annual Venture Sharks™ business competition on Wednesday, May 1. Entrepreneurs seeking funding for their business plans will fend for themselves against a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal. Click here to register. The final round will […]

Venture Connectors has selected four startups to compete in the final round of our 10th annual Venture Sharks™ business competition on Wednesday, May 1. Entrepreneurs seeking funding for their business plans will fend for themselves against a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal. Click here to register.
 
The final round will be held during the monthly Venture Connectors’ luncheon meeting at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St. Doors open at 11:45 a.m., and the competition starts promptly at noon. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize, one year of startup coaching and thousands of dollars of in-kind services.
 
Venture Connectors received more than 30 applications from entrepreneurs across the region. The Venture Sharks selection committee chose the top nine ideas for the first round of competition April 17, where the field was narrowed to the following four finalists:

  • Gluconfidence, a convenient source of fast-acting, concentrated glucose for people with diabetes
  • Pascal Tags LLC, the first completely passive inventory tag allowing for identification without a chip or battery
  • Prodigy Biosciences, rapid tableside food testing device that will specifically detect traces of peanuts in food samples
  • The Read Read, the first device that allows children and adults with visual impairments and blindness to independently learn and practice phonics and braille

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.
 
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.

We hope to see you May 1!!

Announcing the 2019 Venture Sharks Semifinalists!

Venture Connectors has chosen nine semifinalists to compete in the preliminary round of our 10th annual Venture Sharks™ business competition on Wednesday, April 17, at Saints Pizza Pub & SkyBar, 131 Breckinridge Lane. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and pitches begin at 5 p.m. During the event, all nine entrepreneurs will present their business plans […]

Venture Connectors has chosen nine semifinalists to compete in the preliminary round of our 10th annual Venture Sharks™ business competition on Wednesday, April 17, at Saints Pizza Pub & SkyBar, 131 Breckinridge Lane. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and pitches begin at 5 p.m. During the event, all nine entrepreneurs will present their business plans to a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal. The field will be narrowed to four finalists, who will then vie for a $5,000 cash prize, one year of startup coaching and thousands of dollars of in-kind services at Venture Connectors’ regular monthly lunch on Wednesday, May 1, at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St.

Venture Connectors received more than 30 applications from entrepreneurs across the region. The Venture Sharks selection committee chose the top ideas for the first round of competition.

The semifinalists are:

  • Concussion Triage, a concussion baseline development tool and telemedicine service
  • Gluconfidence, a convenient source of fast-acting, concentrated glucose for people with diabetes
  • Jensen Dynamics, developer of a mechanical battery for use in solar Installations and backup emergency power generation
  • Kare Mobile Inc., developer of a mobile application that connects patients to dentists and a mobile dental unit that provides concierge-style dental services
  • ParkBot, a near-fully automated automated license plate reader (ALPR) parking enforcement system geared toward universities
  • Pascal Tags LLC, the first completely passive inventory tag allowing for identification without a chip or battery
  • Prodigy Biosciences, rapid tableside food testing device that will specifically detect traces of peanuts in food samples
  • The Read Read, the first device that allows children and adults with visual impairments and blindness to independently learn and practice phonics and braille
  • Stacks Mobile LLC, a social savings app designed to makes short-term saving simple

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.

Venture Sharks’ title sponsor is the Vogt Invention & Innovation Fund. Thanks to many generous sponsors over the years, Venture Sharks has awarded more than $100,000 in prizes since it launched in 2010.

RSVPs to the both events are required. The preliminary event on April 17 is $10 for members and guests. The final round on May 1 is free to members and $40 for nonmembers. Doors open at 11:45 a.m., and the meeting runs from noon-1 p.m. Click here to register.

April Lunch: Cornerstones of an Innovation Economy

It’s knowledge/talent, entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and collaboration that drive economic growth within communities. At our April lunch, a panel of local leaders discussed the roles their organizations play in the ever-important need to have these cornerstones of an innovation economy in place in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to fuel economic development and ensure […]

It’s knowledge/talent, entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and collaboration that drive economic growth within communities. At our April lunch, a panel of local leaders discussed the roles their organizations play in the ever-important need to have these cornerstones of an innovation economy in place in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to fuel economic development and ensure a vibrant startup community.

Our panelists were: Patrick Henshaw, CEO of the Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership (LEAP), a new collaborative effort that is leveraging Louisville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem for significant national impact; William Metcalf, Senior Director of Research Development & Strategic Initiatives, Office of the Executive Vice President – Research & Innovation at the University of Louisville, a university-wide resource for identifying and capitalizing on intramural and extramural resources for research, innovation and scholarship; and Tammy York Day, President and CEO of the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council (LHCC), a nonprofit organization that is leveraging the voices of Louisville’s top healthcare companies to solve the industry's collective problems. Tendai Charasika, Venture Connectors Chairman and CEO of SuperFan Inc., moderated the discussion.

At LEAP, Henshaw is bringing together entrepreneurs, corporations, venture capitalists and the community to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the region. He most recently served as Vice President for Growth, Startups and Technology for Cintrifuse, a Cincinnati-based startup support organization and venture fund. Henshaw also is a founding member of Cincinnati-based rapid prototyping studio Spry Labs. He earned a bachelor of science in civil engineering from U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a master’s degree in civil engineering from Norwich University and a master’s of project management from the San Francisco Institute of Architecture.

In his current role, Metcalf works to promote internal and external collaborations and build strong connections with the research community, leveraging the strengths and assets of UofL to move discoveries from the conceptual stage through development. He also serves as the Director of the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic at the university’s Brandeis School of Law, where he supervises a small group of upper level law students as they provide legal support to entrepreneurial students throughout the university, including students from the Entrepreneurship MBA program. He holds a juris doctorate degree and a bachelor’s degree in business administration, both from UofL.

York Day is leading LHCC’s initiatives to improve both the local and national healthcare economy. She joined LHCC after a 21-year career with Delta Dental, most recently as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. She is Co-Founder of the Unbridled Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization that holds events such as the Unbridled Eve Gala to raise money for local charities and raise Kentucky’s profile nationally. She holds a global MBA in finance and economics from Duke University Fuqua School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from University of Phoenix.

SuperFan is a leading provider of mobile and web applications that help high schools, colleges and professional teams connect with their fans in order to increase fan engagement and revenue. As CEO, Charasika has overseen the company’s growth from startup into a million-dollar enterprise serving partners around the world. He has served as Chairman of Venture Connectors since 2017, and also held other leadership roles within Louisville’s most established entrepreneurial organization over the past six years, including President-Elect and President. He is a graduate of UofL, with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering degree and an Entrepreneurial MBA.