Venture Connectors was pleased to host the team from Beyond Zero in June, who shared the manufacturing firm’s journey from startup to success, and how they found the perfect partner to manufacture their patented machines that turn alcohol into ice. The team includes Jason Sherman, Tim Couch, Bob Mandel and Paolo Pincente.
Venture Connectors is pleased to announce Toggle Health has been named the winner of our 8th annual Venture Sharks™ competition. Toggle Health is a manufacturer of a patented device that connects surgeons to their pre-operative and mobile data from the sterile field of the operating room.
The final round of competition was held on May 3, where five entrepreneurs seeking funding for their business plans faced off with a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal.
In a lively Q&A with Venture Connectors board member Zack Pennington on April 5, founder of C.I.Agent Solutions, Dan Parker, shared how he grew his environmental cleanup company into an industry leader that got the attention of Mattoon, Ill.-based Justrite Manufacturing Co., a provider of products for the safe management of flammable liquids. Justrite purchased C.I.Agent Solutions in November.
Founded in 2000, C.I.Agent Solutions developed the C.I.Agent product, a non-toxic, petroleum-based polymer that turns fuels and oils into a rubberlike substance, allowing for better and easier cleanup of land and water spills. Among many notable projects, the company helped clean up the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Venture Connectors has chosen nine semifinalists to compete in the preliminary round of our 8th annual Venture Sharks™ business competition on Wednesday, April 12, 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 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 more than $37,000 in cash and prizes at Venture Connectors’ regular monthly lunch on Wednesday, May 3, also at the Muhammad Ali Center.
Thanks to generous sponsors, Venture Connectors has increased the prize for our eighth annual Venture Sharks™ business competition to more than $37,000 in cash and services, topping last year’s prize of $23,000. In addition, a new Audience Participation Crowdfunding Campaign will award a separate prize to a company chosen by the audience via a text message vote during the Venture Sharks finals. You can donate online or in person at upcoming Venture Connectors events. Early-stage startups and entrepreneurs in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee are invited to submit applications before midnight on March 22. Donate here or apply here.
Ever wanted to go behind the scenes of Louisville restaurants? Venture Connectors did just that at our March 8 luncheon with an exciting panel of local restaurateurs. Moderated by food writer Steve Coomes, the panel featured prominent restaurant owners Fernando Martinez, Susan Hershberg and Chad Coulter, who discussed the restaurant landscape both in Louisville and nationally. They shared successes in the marketplace as well as challenges in a competitive culinary city and what the future holds for independent restaurants. The panelists also offered thoughts on current threats facing restaurant operators and insights into what makes them and their restaurants tick.
Applications for our eighth annual Venture Sharks business competition will open Monday, Feb. 6! Early-stage companies and entrepreneurs are invited to compete for a $15,000 prize — roughly $5,000 in cash and $10,000 in professional services — provided by the competition’s sponsors. Sponsorship commitments received to date include Commonwealth Seed Capital, University of Louisville College of Business, Mightily and Nucleus. The prize package may increase as additional sponsors commit.
At the Venture Connectors Feb. 1 lunch, Laurie Daugherty, executive director of the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE), discussed how her organization prepares Kentucky high school students to be successful entrepreneurs by exposing them to the tools and skills necessary to start a company. She shared how the accelerator-style program offers teens opportunities to gain high school credit, scholarships and build a company from the ground up.
During our first lunch of the new year, Jackson Andrews, managing director of Endeavor Louisville, spoke about the Endeavor network and how the organization supports and grows entrepreneurial communities worldwide.
Founded in 1997, Endeavor works to fuel long-term economic growth in cities across the globe by selecting, mentoring and accelerating the best high-impact entrepreneurs. In 2015, Endeavor entrepreneur-led companies collectively generated $8.2 billion in revenue and have created over 600,000 jobs.
On Wednesday, Dec. 7, Venture Connectors featured an exciting panel of City Collaborative board members, who discussed the importance of community engagement and innovation. They provided a brief history of its ReSurfaced program and shared future plans for the initiative.
Panelists included Dave Durand, co-founder of City Collaborative and CEO of Forest Giant; Rebecca Matheny, executive director of the Louisville Downtown Partnership; and Patrick Piuma, co-founder and director of City Collaborative, director of the Urban Design Studio at the University of Louisville, and planning director for Louisville Downtown Partnership.