Thanks to new in-kind sponsor, Mightily, Venture Connectors is increasing our 2016 Venture Sharks prize to $23,000, up from $10,000 in past years!

Early-stage companies and entrepreneurs from any industry in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee are invited to compete in the region’s hottest business competition, modeled after the popular television show, “Shark Tank.” The total prize package includes $5,000 in cash and $18,000 in professional services.

Venture Connectors board member, Lesa Seibert, is CEO of digital branding agency Mightily, which has generously agreed to donate a branding package valued at $10,000 to our 2016 Venture Sharks winner, including:

• Brand strategy development, which includes a two-hour strategy session to identify the winning company’s brand; logo design; color and font selection; business card and letterhead design.

• Company website design, which includes custom design and programming of a six- to seven-panel responsive parallax site. Additional functionality and internal pages will be quoted.

Stoll Keenon Ogden is back as a sponsor for the second year in a row, donating $5,000 of in-kind legal services. McCrorey Digital also is a returning sponsor, donating digital animation services valued at $2,000. Finally, Nucleus again will be offering the winner one free year at the iHub incubator, valued at $1,000.

Venture Connectors and our Gold Sponsors, Commonwealth Seed Capital and UofL College of Business will furnish the cash prize of $5,000, bringing the grand total to $23,000!

We could not host Venture Sharks without our generous sponsors. Thanks to them, this annual competition is just one more way that Venture Connectors is able to stand at the forefront of entrepreneurial and investor activity in the Louisville area.

If you’re a startup or know of an early-stage business that could benefit from our prize, don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity — applications are due by midnight on March 16. Click here to apply. The Venture Sharks committee will choose the top ideas to compete during the preliminary round of the competition, held April 13, where the field then will be narrowed to four finalists. The final round will be held on May 4 during the monthly Venture Connectors’ luncheon meeting.

The Venture Sharks winner must agree to use both the cash award and the in-kind services to directly pursue the business opportunity presented in the competition. The winner will be 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.

Sponsorship opportunities for the 2016 Venture Sharks competition still are available. (Who knows, we may increase the prize again before it’s all said and done!) For information, contact Larry Horn at (502) 380-6550 or