At our January lunch, Dan Oliver, founder and CEO of the Dan-O’s Seasoning, shared what it was like to grow his startup more than 3,000% in just one year. Dan’s entrepreneurial journey began with some chicken thighs he got from his mother when he was in college. Unsure what to do with them, he experimented with an original blend of herbs and spices that he then perfected over 15 years — what is now Dan-O’s Original Seasoning. He shared his “aha” moment, and the successes and challenges that followed as he worked to get his spice blend to market. Ranked No. 1 on Business First’s Fast 50 this year, Dan-O’s has grown to 65 employees and $6.2 million in revenue in 2021, up from just under $2 million in 2020, with more expansion on the way. The brand is available in more than 12,000 retail stores across the country.
Our February lunch featured Jose Gaztambide, CEO of GoodMaps, who shared how the company’s unconventional story turned into one of the Kentucky’s fastest growing startups. He talked the company’s social enterprise ethos, its recent $3.5 million funding round success, and the challenges GoodMaps faced along the way. Founded in 2019 out of the American Printing House for the Blind, GoodMaps’ mission is to improve the accessibility, safety and productivity of indoor spaces through digital mapping and its navigation app, GoodMaps Explorer.