Startup Week Louisville 2021 Startup Week Louisville 2021

Pitch Competition

Monday, September 20, 2021

Advice from Coaches and Judges of the SXSW Pitch Competition
Kevin Rapp
Kevin Rapp
AppWell.Health, Co-Founder
Sivaram Arabandi
Sivaram Arabandi
AppWell.Health, Chief Data Officer

proven guidance along with stories of success and losses beyond the competition

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

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Render Capital Competition
Brian Brackeen
Brian Brackeen
Lightship Capital, General Partner

Register Separately!

This September, the 2021 Render Competition will have narrowed down its applicant pool to the top 16 companies. On September 23, Render Capital will host a Pitch Event to conclude the final selection process and announce the 8 winners who will each be awarded a $100,000 investment. The winners will also pitch their company to the community. The event will take place at the Lynn Family Stadium and includes a keynote address from Brian Brackeen, networking, and a general celebration of the regional startup ecosystem as an official event of Louisville Startup Week. 

Keynote Speaker: Brian Brackeen

Brian Brackeen is a General Partner at Lightship Capital, the $50 million dollar Cincinnati-based VC firm dedicated to backing underrepresented entrepreneurs in the Midwest. As General Partner, Brian oversees fund operations, leads the AI, Design & Engineering teams, and serves on the investment committee.Brian is a thought leader in the Artificial Intelligence space, having founded and led a globally recognized provider of face recognition technologies. His leadership saw the company positioned alongside tech giants like Microsoft and Face++ as one of the industry’s foremost providers, with operations in the US and Asia. Brian’s early acknowledgment of the dangers associated with algorithmic ethnic bias, stance against the government use of facial recognition, and commitment to eliminating racial bias in its datasets inspired the current movement toward organized regulation and oversight of the technology.