A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Venture Connectors’ Nov. 6 lunch to feature panel on Portland revitalization efforts led by Gill Holland

On Wednesday, Nov. 6, Venture Connectors will feature a panel of influential local leaders and successful business owners, who will share an update on revitalization efforts in Louisville’s historic Portland neighborhood. Panelists will include Mike Mays, co-Founder and president of Heine Brothers’ Coffee; Sherry Hurley, founder of Farm to Fork Catering; and Terra Leavell, president and CEO...

Venture Connectors Oct. 2 lunch to feature update on West Sixth Brewing’s expansion in Louisville

The Venture Connectors luncheon on Oct. 2 will feature Ben Self, co-founder of Lexington-based West Sixth Brewing, who will share the story behind its $2 million expansion in Louisville. West Sixth is turning a 120-year-old carriage house in NuLu into a 9,000-square-foot brewery, barrel-aging warehouse and taproom. The new location at 821 E. Market St. is slated to open in early 2020. West Sixth Brewing...

Venture Connectors Aug. 7 luncheon to feature financial technology startup success story in Carla Dearing

The Venture Connectors monthly luncheon on Aug. 7 will feature Carla Dearing, who is the founding CEO of Sum180 and head of product for FlexWage Solutions LLC. Venture Connectors luncheons are held at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St., in Louisville on the first Wednesday of the month. Doors open at 11:45 a.m., and the meeting runs from noon-1 p.m. Networking takes place after the lunch. Dearing...

Prodigy Biosciences wins grand prize in 10th annual Venture Sharks business competition

Venture Connectors has named Prodigy Biosciences the winner of its 10th annual Venture Sharks business competition. Prodigy is developing a rapid tableside food testing device that will specifically detect traces of peanuts in food samples. The final round of competition was held May 1, where four entrepreneurs seeking funding for their business plans faced off with a panel of savvy investor sharks...

Venture Connectors announces 10th annual Venture Sharks semifinalists; preliminary round April 17

Venture Connectors has chosen nine semifinalists to compete in the preliminary round of its 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...

Venture Connectors lunch to feature dynamic panel of research and innovation leaders on April 3

Venture Connectors will host a panel of local leaders who will discuss how their organizations are providing the cornerstones of the Louisville region’s innovation economy in order to fuel economic development and ensure a vibrant startup community. The event will be held on April 3 in Louisville. The panelists are: Patrick Henshaw, CEO of the Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership...

Applications now being accepted for 10th annual Venture Sharks business pitch competition

Venture Connectors has announced that applications for its 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 as the competition’s...

Cedric Francois to share Apellis Pharmaceuticals success story at Feb. 6 Venture Connectors lunch

Venture Connectors will feature Cedric Francois, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Crestwood, Ky.-based Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc., on Feb. 6 in Louisville. Dr. Francois will share the story behind taking the pharmaceutical company public, as well as challenges the company has faced in finding/attracting talent and securing funding. He will also share his perspective on changes in the local entrepreneurial...

Early-stage tech innovators to share how SBIR match helped them grow at Jan. Venture Connectors lunch

On Wednesday, Jan. 9, Venture Connectors will host a panel of tech-focused innovators who took advantage of the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program’s matching funds to relocate their early-stage companies to Kentucky and have stayed to grow their businesses. They will discuss why they chose Louisville over other locations in Kentucky, the benefits of doing business here, and...

Blue 222 CEO Alan Grosheider to discuss nontraditional ways to raise startup capital Nov. 7

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, Venture Connectors will feature Alan Grosheider, CEO of Blue222 and director of Metro Startup Launcher, who will discuss nontraditional ways to raise capital for startups, including investment crowdfunding. He will explore crowdfunding regulations and the challenges startups may face when seeking alternative funding. He will also share ways the nonprofit Metro Startup Launcher...

Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development executives featured at Venture Connectors lunch

On Oct. 3 in Louisville, Venture Connectors will feature Terry Gill, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, and Brian Mefford, executive director of the Cabinet’s Office of Entrepreneurship, and they will share how their office is working to cultivate programs and support for the commonwealth’s entrepreneurs, small business owners and startups. The Office of Entrepreneurship...

Venture Connectors to host Genscape co-founders Sean O’Leary, Sterling Lapinski September 5

On Wednesday, Sept. 5, Venture Connectors will feature Sean O’Leary and Sterling Lapinski, who will share their career journeys as successful data entrepreneurs. The two were co-founders of Genscape Inc., a Louisville-based company that provides proprietary data and intelligence to global energy markets. Under their leadership, Genscape made the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing U.S. companies...

Venture Connectors to host A Southern Drawl blogger Grace Wainwright at June 6 luncheon

Fashion, fitness and travel blogger Grace Wainwright will share the story behind her success as a social influencer June 6 in Louisville. Grace Wainwright Wainwright, whose reach now includes more than 174,000 followers on Instagram, will be the featured speaker and Venture Connectors’ June luncheon. Venture Connectors’ monthly luncheons are held on the first Wednesday of the month at the Muhammad...

Venture Connectors names Innovative Therapeutix winner of 2018 Venture Sharks competition

Venture Connectors has named Innovative Therapeutix Inc. the winner of its 9th annual Venture Sharks™ business competition. Innovative Therapeutix is the developer of LullaFeed, a feeding device for infants that uses music reinforcement. The final round of competition was held May 2, where five entrepreneurs seeking funding for their business plans faced off with a panel of savvy investor sharks...

Venture Connectors announces 2018 Venture Sharks finalists; $30K in cash and services up for grabs

Venture Connectors has selected four startups to compete in the final round of its 9th annual Venture Sharks™ business competition on Wednesday, May 2. Entrepreneurs seeking funding for their business plans will fend for themselves against a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal. The final round will be held during the monthly Venture Connectors’ luncheon meeting at the...

Venture Connectors announces 2018 Venture Sharks semifinalists; preliminary round set for April 9

Venture Connectors has chosen eight semifinalists to compete in the preliminary round of its 9th annual Venture Sharks business competition on Monday, April 9, at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St. Doors open at 5 p.m., and pitches begin at 5:30 p.m. During the event, all eight entrepreneurs will present their business plans to a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal....

Venture Connectors to host panel of Venture Sharks, Vogt award winners at monthly luncheon April 4

On Wednesday, April 4, Venture Connectors will host a panel of entrepreneurs who will share their successes and challenges in the years since they won local business pitch competitions. The panel will feature Alli Truttmann, founder and CEO of Wicked Sheets, the Venture Sharks 2012 winner; Nicholas Mattingly, co-founder of Switcher Inc., the Venture Sharks 2016 winner; and Dustin McGehee, vice president...

Venture Connectors accepting applications for 2018 Venture Sharks business competition

Venture Connectors has announced that applications for its ninth annual Venture Sharks business competition are now open. Early-stage companies and entrepreneurs are invited to compete for more than $10,000 — roughly $5,000 in cash and the rest in professional services — provided by the competition’s sponsors. This year’s title sponsor is the Vogt Invention and Innovation Fund and in-kind sponsor...

SuperFanU CEO Tendai Charasika named 2018 chairman of Venture Connectors board of directors

Venture Connectors has announced new leadership for 2018. Tendai Charasika, CEO of SuperFanU, has been named chairman of the region’s premier entrepreneur and investor forum. Other new members of the executive committee are: president, Larry Horn, president of Great American Specialty Fasteners and CEO of Derby City Cut & Sew; and president-elect, John Williamson, founder and CEO of RCM Brain....

Venture Connectors to highlight Greater Louisville Inc. talent attraction initiative Nov. 1

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, Venture Connectors will feature Lisa Bajorinas, vice president of entrepreneurship and talent with Greater Louisville Inc., who will provide an overview of market research and strategy that supports the economic development organization’s talent attraction initiative, Liveinlou.com. Bajorinas is responsible for leading EnterpriseCorp, GLI’s entrepreneurial support organization...