vs_Sharktank_headerSquareVenture Connectors will host the preliminary round of its 6th annual Venture Sharks™ business competition on Wednesday, April 15, at 5:30 p.m. at The Pointe, 1205 E. Washington St. During the event, 11 entrepreneurs will present their business plans to a panel of savvy investor sharks fishing for the next great deal. The field will be narrowed to four finalists, who will then vie for a $10,000 prize at Venture Connectors’ regular monthly lunch on Wednesday, May 6, at the Muhammad Ali Center.

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. The semifinalists are:

  • Credit Fair-e: Provides affordable and flexible small-dollar consumer loans to the emerging middle class.
  • Ecobridge Industries II: Works with Kentucky farmers to source kenaf and hemp plant fiber for end use in biocomposites, green building, pulp and paper, automotive.
  • Fuelytics LLC: Provider of an innovative process for managing fuel transactions so businesses don’t have to do it themselves.
  • Hello Parent: A mobile application that allows parents to connect with other families and organize events.
  • iPillBox: A wireless mobile pillbox w/cloud-based software for proactive caregiver-patient health decisions and improved patient compliance and health.
  • Logjustrips: Collects stop/start data from company cars and presents a decision to the driver, ‚ÄúWas that trip business or personal?‚Äù
  • MixxThis: An app designed to aid communication in a loud club or bar. Made for people with hearing and/or speech impairments, but useful to anyone.
  • Pawn Metrics: A web based app for pawn shops to run their business, including transactions, inventory, cash flow, reporting, and more.
  • Phone Falcon LLC: A mobile repair service for smartphones and tablets that brings the repair shop to its clients for their convenience.
  • Solar Screen: Provides sun protection to individuals overexposed to the sun at outdoor events through innovative backpack sunscreen dispensers.
  • Switcher Studio: Develops easy-to-use and affordable live video streaming tools that allows users to create TV-style productions for the web.

For the final round May 6, 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 popular television show, “Shark Tank.” One lucky survivor will receive $10,000 in cash and prizes 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 2015 Venture Sharks preliminary round of competition are: Ross Jordan, senior associate, Yearling Funds LP; and Jackson Andrews, partner, Spouting Rock Financial Partners. 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 both events are required. Click here to register. The preliminary event on April 15 is free and open to the public. The final round on May 6 is free to members and $40 for nonmembers. Doors open at 11:30 a.m., and the meeting runs from noon-1:15 p.m.