We've been meeting with lots of startup entrepreneurs. One recently sold his concept and had some opinions (GOOD AND BAD) about our startup community. We have attached his entire letter with our comments (in bold italics):

His Letter:

The State of Venture Capital in Louisville from a Startup’s Point of View

Before offering my viewpoints and experiences on the state of venture capital in Louisville, one has to first recognize two other important elements of the money hunt. First is the established and formal educational and support opportunities, and secondly, the network of professionals that enhance their effectiveness. This is where Louisville shines.

Few other cities approaching Louisville’s size have programs and commitments like those of GLI’s Enterprise Corp., the University of Louisville’s Nucleus program and Business School Entrepreneurial offerings.

(I agree.  We have great resources.)

Under the leadership of Lisa Bajorinas, GLI’s Enterprise Corp. creates and connects startups with resources that are valuable and effective. Some complain about the “revolving door of talent” at Enterprise Corp, but I see it differently, very smart and driven people are recruited, create opportunities for the community, and as a result are naturally sought by other organizations. Witness the recent departure of Terry Gill and Amelia Gandara, just two examples of high value talent, going forward to new challenges after demonstrating stellar performances locally. More than just creating programs of awards and recognition, Enterprise Corp connects, supports, and locally advocates for the startup community.

(Again, I agree.  There are great people and programs in Louisville that help our startup community.)

The University of Louisville has an internationally recognized program of support for health related startups, both internally licensing research as well as having impressive physical support facilities such as the Nucleus complex. Also, the University of Louisville’s Nucleus umbrella includes the Launch It program, (of which I am a graduate) that helps startups focus and accelerate the very hard but necessary work of creating a minimum viable product and customer discovery.

The Business School at the University of Louisville, especially the MBA Entrepreneurial program, repeatedly wins awards and real money, from the efforts of the students, and many go off to start their own businesses, or help larger organizations create opportunities internally. Other treasures for the startup community include Start Up Weekend, GE First Build, and Maker Spaces.

In addition, Louisville has a business savvy Mayor that supports the business community and startups in particular. An integral part of this network is the dedicated experts, coaches, and investors who give tirelessly and enthusiastically advice and support. People like Greg Langdon, Bob Saunders, and others support and connect start ups while never expecting anything in return, other than the satisfaction that they are nurturing and growing a vital start up community. Businesses like Mightily, and Execuity, help in marketing and strategy, and firms like Frost, Brown, & Todd give expert advice in the spirit of paying it forward.


Now for the ugly side.

Formal groups of investors, such as the Venture Connectors, are very risk adverse. In my opinion, despite the best efforts of the board of directors, Venture Connectors should be renamed the “Chickenshit Club. “ I know what you may be thinking, sour grapes from another founder that was not able to get funding locally, besides,