vs_Sharktank_headerSquareVenture Connectors has selected four startups to compete in the final round of its 6th annual Venture Sharks™ business competition on Wednesday, May 6. Entrepreneurs seeking funding for their business plans will fend for themselves against a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal.

This year, Venture Connectors received 35 applications from entrepreneurs across the region. The Venture Sharks committee chose the top 11 big ideas for the first round of the competition, held April 15. During that event, the field was narrowed to four finalists.

The finalists are:

  • Sean Vandevander, Ecobridge Industries II: The company works with Kentucky farmers to source kenaf and hemp plant fiber for end use in biocomposites, green building, pulp and paper, automotive.
  • Candice Peters and Amanda Kranias, Hello Parent: A mobile application that allows parents to connect with other families and organize events.
  • Steve Arkon, Logjustrips: The company collects stop/start data from company cars and presents a decision to the driver, ‚ÄúWas that trip business or personal?‚Äù
  • Gil Roberts and Jarett Duker, Phone Falcon LLC: A mobile repair service for smartphones and tablets that brings the repair shop to its clients for their convenience.

Presenters will be allowed just a few minutes to describe their idea to the judges, who then will fire off questions to the presenters in the style of the popular television show, “Shark Tank.” One lucky survivor will receive $10,000 in cash and professional services to help them take their idea to market. The Venture Sharks 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. The winner must agree to use both the cash award and the in-kind services to directly pursue the business opportunity presented in the competition.

Sponsors for this year’s Venture Sharks include: University of Louisville College of Business, platinum sponsor; AT&T Kentucky and Commonwealth Seed Capital, gold sponsors; ARGI Financial, silver sponsor; and Nucleus, Stoll Keenon Ogden, Chase Bank and McCrorey Digital, in-kind sponsors.

Judges for the final round are: Bob Saunders, general partner, OCAVentures; Elizabeth Rounsavall, director of research and analytics, Chrysalis Ventures; Lou Kelmanson, president, Kelmanson Holdings LLC; and Vik Chadha, managing director, GlowTouch Technologies.

RSVPs to the luncheon are required here. The event is free to members; the cost for nonmembers is $40.