Jake Miller of Toggle Health (right) accepts the 2017 Venture Sharks winner's check from Venture Connectors President-Elect Larry Horn.

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.

The other finalists were Credit Fair-E, which provides affordable loans up to $500 to low- and middle-income families to help break their cycle of debt; Herelancer an online community that connects entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations with creative talent in their local market; Meta Construction Technologies, a construction-tech firm that gives control to the asphalt industry with an innovative fleet management and dispatch software solution, BlackTop; and Lifebit, winner of Startup Weekend Louisville and developer of a fire alarm alert system for the deaf and hard of hearing.

In addition to the main prize, two other cash prizes were awarded. Six past winners pooled their resources to offer a $300 cash prize to the finalist of their choosing. Switcher Studio, Logjustrips, Revio, Wicked Sheets, U.S. Chia and Surgical Serenity Solutions awarded their “alumni prize” to Lifebit for the company’s outstanding presentation.

New this year, the audience was invited to choose their favorite finalist via text voting at the finals. In addition to the alumni prize, Lifebit also took home audience favorite and received more than $800 raised (minus processing fees) via an Audience Participation Crowd Funding Campaign.

Presenters were allowed a few minutes to describe their idea to the judges, who then fired off questions to the presenters in the style of the popular television show, “Shark Tank.” The lucky survivor received $37,000 in cash and prizes to help them take their idea to market. Toggle Health was 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.

This year’s main prize is up from $23,000 last year, thanks to our generous sponsors. Sponsors for this year’s Venture Sharks include: Commonwealth Seed Capital, University of Louisville College of Business and KiZAN Technologies, gold sponsors; Sterling G. Thompson Co., silver sponsor; and Mightily, ARGI Financial, Intellectual Property Insurance Services Corp., Stoll Keenon Ogden, Guthrie Mayes Public Relations, Nucleus and Goodson Clothing & Supply, in-kind sponsors. The in-kind portion of the prize package includes marketing, legal, financial, public relations and other consulting services.

Judges for the 2017 Venture Sharks final round were: Bob Saunders, general partner, OCAVentures; Elizabeth Rounsavall, growth capital consultant, Rounsavall Investments LLC; Lou Kelmanson, president, Kelmanson Holdings LLC; and Vik Chadha, managing director, GlowTouch Technologies.