The Community Foundation of Louisville today announced the recipients of its 21st annual Vogt Invention and Innovation Awards. These six early-stage companies will receive $25,000 in non-dilutive grant funding, participation in a 10-week accelerator program, startup coaching, mentorship from industry veterans, strategic introductions and recognition. The program will culminate with introduction of the founders and company pitches at Demo Day on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 5 p.m. at Waterfront Botanical Gardens, 1435 Frankfort Ave.
The winners are:
- Black UX Labs connects Black and Brown User Experience (UX) practitioners to hiring managers through a fun and innovative professional development platform. Founder is Amber Fields.
- Gluconfidence improves outcomes and reduces the daily burden for insulin-taking people with diabetes through a combination of real-time data driven guidance and automated glucose delivery. Founder is Brian Olivier.
- Legal Gantt provides law firms with a client portal to facilitate communication, case status and progress with their clients. Founders are Hishem Alsalman and Carlos Acevedo.
- Sports Metaphor offers Timeout, a mobile app that uses AI and gamification to improve athlete mental health with personal recommendations and therapy-based exercises. Founder is Maya McClendon.
- Symba empowers real estate agents with a mobile-first CRM to grow and manage their business with clients. Founders are Ryan Harris, Evan Knowles, Kendall Weihe and Tanner Wilcox.
- Yornest is developing a group messaging platform that brings the fun of social media functions into group chats. Founder is Michael Brizendine.
The Vogt Awards are funded by the Vogt Invention and Innovation Fund at the Community Foundation of Louisville, an endowment established in 1999 thanks to the generosity of businessman and philanthropist Henry Vogt Heuser Sr. The purpose of this charitable fund is to strengthen Louisville’s economic health by providing funding and support to innovative startups and inspiring entrepreneurs. The Fund’s originating $5 million principal is still intact today after providing non-dilutive grants to 96 startup companies totaling more than $3.7 million.
“The Fund’s purpose is to memorialize the Vogt engineering tradition in the Louisville region by providing engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs with grants to fund product development and commercialization of ideas,” says Ron Gallo, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Louisville. “Mr. Heuser understood that in order to strengthen Louisville’s economic health, philanthropy is an essential tool for supporting innovative startups and inspiring entrepreneurship.”
Winners were chosen by a selection committee made up of leading entrepreneurs and investors in the startup community and past Vogt Award winners, led by Chair Maggie Galloway. Committee members included:
- Jackson Andrews, Endeavor
- Tawana Bain, TBain & Co.
- Katie Bush, Katie Bush Designs
- Tendai Charasika, Saling Wealth Advisors
- Dave Christopher, AMPED
- Maggie Galloway, Avanos Medical
- Raechele Gray, Endeavor
- Stacy Griggs, El Toro
- Angelique Johnson, MEMStim
- Ross Jordan, Weller Equity Partners
- Raffi Kayat, Borderless
- Greg Langdon, Startup Advisor & Investor
- Alisia McClain, Louisville Workforce of the Future
- Rishabh Mehrotra, Avionte Staffing Software
- Charley Miller, Unitonomy and OrgVitals
- Sean O’Leary, EdjAnalytics
- Kelby Price, KY Science & Technology Corp.
- Elizabeth Rounsavall, Rounsavall Investments
- Alli Truttmann, Wicked Sheets
- Jennifer Williams, Cuddle Clones
- John Willmoth, Poplar Ventures
- Phoebe Wood, CompaniesWood
“We are particularly proud of the program’s history of diverse entrepreneurs and are excited to continue to support talented inventors and innovators who are developing big solutions to large-scale problems,” says Lisa Bajorinas, Vogt Awards program director. “The Vogt Awards are a great example of how we, as a community, encourage bold, creative thinking and action. The companies selected show great promise, and I’m excited to see that promise become reality.”
ABOUT THE VOGT AWARDS
The Community Foundation of Louisville’s Vogt Awards is the longest-standing startup accelerator of its kind. Funded by the Vogt Invention & Innovation Fund at the Community Foundation of Louisville, the program was made possible by an endowment left by Henry Vogt Heuser, Sr. in 1999. The awards program is unique in that it allows founders to retain full ownership of their business while leveraging funding and education, receiving mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, and obtaining access to an extensive network of startup support. The Fund’s mission is to help entrepreneurs, inventors and tinkerers commercialize their startup ideas, products and projects so they can develop into viable and successful businesses. The Vogt Awards program and the fund’s other initiatives support economic growth, diversification, stability and employment for the Greater Louisville region, including Southern Indiana.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF LOUISVILLE
As a leader in social impact and innovation, the Community Foundation of Louisville brings together individual donors, nonprofit organizations, businesses and civic partners to transform our community through charitable giving. Founded in 1984, the Community Foundation is one of the largest charitable foundations in Kentucky with over $700 million in assets and more than 2,200 charitable funds. Each fund has its own name and charitable purpose as defined by its donors. In 2020, these funds made over 11,700 grants totaling more than $68 million, approximately 82% of which stayed in Kentucky and Southern Indiana to support local nonprofits. To learn more, visit www.cflouisville.org.