Venture Connectors will host the final round of its 5th annual Venture Sharks competition on May 7, where five entrepreneurs seeking funding for their business plans fend for themselves against a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal.

The finalists are:

  • Gear Brake, which creates products to help make motorcycle riding safer and more enjoyable. The company‚Äôs first product can reduce rear-end collisions by 90%.
  • Louisville Fish Co.,which sells live fish, fish on ice and make its own Paddle Fish Caviar. The company partners with Kentucky aquaculture producers, purveyors and distributors.
  • Million Dollar Scholar, an ed-tech venture that makes college more affordable for families through a platform that teaches students how to win scholarships.
  • Recovery Station, which manufactures, markets and services a kiosk that dispenses customized protein shakes in the convenience of a gym.
  • YouSawMe, which has patented a retro reflective vest embedded with 60 custom-color LEDs for runners, bicyclists and anyone wanting to ensure noticeability.

This year, Venture Connectors received more than 50 applications from entrepreneurs across the nation. The Venture Sharks committee chose the top 12 big ideas for the first round of the competition, held April 16 and 17. During those events, the field was narrowed to five finalists. The final “Shark Bait” round will be held on May 7 during at the monthly Venture Connectors’ Luncheon Meeting at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. Sixth St. Networking will begin at 11:30 a.m., with the meeting to start promptly at noon.

Presenters are allowed just five minutes to describe their idea to the judges, who then have five minutes to question the presenters. A combination of judges’ feedback and audience votes determine the winner. During the final round, judges will ask the finalists specifically about the marketability of their ideas. One lucky survivor will receive $10,000 in cash and prizes to help them take their idea to market.

Judges for the 2014 Venture Sharks competition are: Bob Saunders, venture capitalist who helped create XLerateHealth; Dee Maynard, entrepreneur; Tony Schy, managing director for Velocity Indiana; and Lou Kelmanson, founder of Kelmanson Holdings LLC.

“We have been very impressed with the preparation and innovation demonstrated by the Venture Sharks applicants this year. These are not just concepts, they are well-though-out, market-ready companies,” said Larry Horn, Venture Sharks committee chairman and co-founder of TNG Pharmaceuticals and Liberate Medical. “We are also pleased with the increased buy-in the program has garnered from our entrepreneurial community. While it makes our job harder that the competition has gotten so tough, it’s certainly a great problem to have.”