Venture Clubs Sprouting Across Kentucky
Kentucky has often been considered a “fly-over state” based on the traditional view that it lacks substantial private venture capital investments. Typically, most venture capital investments come from large investor funds on the East and West Coast who don’t regularly consider projects spanning outside of the top U.S. financial centers. However, within the last few decades, many have made efforts to move Kentucky past this traditional status by creating innovative, entrepreneurial programs that will bring together investors in new projects. These venture clubs attract entrepreneurs, investors and service providers.
These community-based venture programs are quickly spreading throughout Kentucky and outside of just large cities too. The decade-old Venture Connectors in Louisville, Ky. has been the model for many venture clubs. These efforts are prime examples of how groups in the state are reaching out to each other to encourage capital flow to those with innovative ideas and solid business plans.
Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP partner Robert L. Brown chairs Louisville’s venture club, Venture Connectors. Founded in 1995, Venture Connectors averages about 150 people per month at its meetings. When Brown moved back to Kentucky from the venture-intensive Silicon Valley, he noticed a lack of education and networking and decided to get involved. Brown recognized part of the issue was getting everyone together and educating entrepreneurs on where to go and who was willing to invest. Venture Connectors reminds innovators that there is money in Kentucky to fund promising new ideas.
Brown was featured in an article regarding start-up funding in The Lane Report this month and spoke about the success of the Venture Connectors. An excerpt from the article is below.
Excerpt from “Start-up funding seeds sprouting”
“The key to our success is we’re a networking place,” he said. It invites high school and college students on a regular basis. “We’re one of the best shows around, even larger than other regional venture clubs.”