Venture Connectors is excited to announce the six semifinalists chosen to compete in the preliminary round of our 12th annual Venture Sharks™ business pitch competition! During the prelims on Tuesday, Sept. 21, the field will be narrowed to a few finalists. Those lucky survivors will then compete in front of a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal at our regular monthly lunch on Wednesday, Oct. 6. Both events will be held at TEN20 Craft Brewery, 1020 E. Washington St.
The brave 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.” The winner will receive a prize package designed to help them take their idea to market. In addition to a $5,000 cash award, they will receive one-on-one mentoring from established entrepreneurs and advisors.

Doors open for the Venture Sharks prelims on Sept. 21 at 5 p.m. The event, presented by Amplify Louisville and Ky Innovation, is free and open to the public. 

The Oct. 6 finals will be held from noon-1 p.m. There is no cost for Venture Connectors members and $40 for guests. Registration is required. 
This year’s Venture Sharks sponsors are Amplify Louisville, the Community Foundation of Louisville, PNC Bank, Fleur de Lis Communications and Frost Brown Todd