Startup Week Louisville 2021 Startup Week Louisville 2021


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Venture Connectors Networking & Venture Sharks Competition

Jump in the water with the the sharks during Venture Connectors’ 12th annual business pitch competition!

Early-stage startups in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee were invited to apply for Venture Sharks. We’ve narrowed the pool of applicants to a select group of semifinalists, who will compete in the preliminary round to be held Tuesday, Sept. 21. Four finalists will then vie for cash and prizes at Venture Connectors’ regular monthly lunch on Wednesday, Oct. 6.

The semifinalists are:

  • Athelo Health, a B2B SaaS-based mobile application aimed at improving quality of life outcomes for patients with cancer while decreasing costs of service. Founder is Jessica Thurmond.
  • GTM Technologies LLC, developer of Bare Trace, a B2B service designed to help companies of any size regain customer and employee confidence after a security breach or significant impact event. Founder is Jay Smith.
  • Grouper, a social messaging platform that connects users and creators based on their interests, hobbies and passions. Founder is Chris Wiedmar.
  • HBCU Tour, a subscription-based vendor services platform for current and former students of historically black colleges and universities. Founder is Nasir Jones.
  • Statcode, maker of solutions designed to bridge the data gap between major companies and medium to small companies by making data science affordable for everyone. Founder is Caryle Blondell.
  • USS Veteran Services Co., developer of world’s first Smart Ladder, built with LED lights and sensors for better safety. Founder is Cliff Johns.

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 $5,000 in cash and thousands of dollars in startup coaching and services designed to help them take their idea to market.

Competition will be held at TEN20 Craft Brewery. The Venture Sharks Prelims are presented by Amplify Louisville & Ky Innovation. Register for both events

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

How to build a kickass Network (Techstars)
John Hill
John Hill
Techstars, VP of Network

Learn the tools, the approaches and the results of the networking techniques that power the most effective entrepreneurial network in the world, Techstars.

Networking Event with Keynote by Debra Clary - Narrative Leadership: How storytelling is the secret elixir to ‘why’
Dr. Debra Clary
Dr. Debra Clary
Humana, Associate Vice President, Organization Effectiveness CAO Leadership


At the end of the session, participants will understand why storytelling is essential in being heard, understand the elements of a strong story and how to become a great narrative leader.  



  • Why the brain craves stories – we’re wired to make connections  
  • What are the elements of a great story – storytelling is a formula 
  • How to become a  great narrative leader  - it’s required for great leadership 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Startup Chowdown

Separate Registration:

Startup Chowdown is a monthly lunch, held the last Friday of every month to foster random collisions and non-transactional relationships in our startup community. Founders will also have the opportunity for an open mic to offer and ask for support, celebrating the wins (#celebratethewins hosted by Amplify) and share company updates.

Bring your whole self, come grab some delicious lunch and a mocktail provided by Story partners FOKO Familia + Modica meet someone new and network in a laid back space full of awesome people.

This in-person event will be completely FREE for members, guests and friends of Story $10 and $5 for Students, hosted by our Community Champions Amplify Louisville.