DECEMber 20, 2019

For past editions, visit the SHELTOWEE NEWS ARCHIVES

Louisville Angel Investors Step Up: Now Is the Time to Raise Investment

By Alex Day, CEO and Founder of the Sheltowee Business Network, 

If you are interested in helping entrepreneurs innovate and develop societal-changing technologies, then you need to read this article.  I have had the opportunity to watch the Louisville Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for the past 20 years.  I often hear some of the high-profile early stage investors state that there is plenty of money in Louisville, that we don’t have enough “good deals.”  When I hear people say this, I usually have a couple of thoughts.  I will share those later.  I have had the opportunity to manage a couple of investment funds.  What I found, is that with a small amount of money, you can attract a LOT of deals.  You can even attract “good deals.”  That is one of the reasons that a major thrust for Sheltowee is to help establish more early stage investment dollars through the establishment of an angel investor network.  We believe that by establishing a formal group that shares our core values, we will be able to have a very positive effect on the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Sheltowee will be merging with the Angel Capital Group (ACG) in January to establish the Sheltowee Angel Network and this will expand our reach into Knoxville, Nashville and several other communities.  We will also leverage the experience, talent and skill set of Eric Dobson, the CEO of ACG, to help us establish a Louisville Angel Investor group. 

Communities around us have established successful angel investor groups.  Lexington with the Bluegrass Angels, Cincinnati with the Queen City Angels, Ashland with the Tri-State Angels, and Elizabethtown with the Lincoln Trail Venture Group.  We will be seeking to collaborate with these groups to help grow the angel investing community in Kentucky.  For those who say that we have “plenty of money in Louisville,”  to an extent they are correct.  But to lay it at the feet of entrepreneurs, that we do not have enough “good deals” is disingenuous.  As someone who has leveraged small amounts of capital to develop deal flow, this is a red herring. 

As an observer of this ecosystem for 20 years, I have found the high profile “angel investors” to be anything but angelic.  Those who shout, “there is plenty of money in Louisville” the loudest, are the ones who do not want any outside capital coming into Louisville. 

For 20 years there has been a small group of people who have dominated entrepreneurial investment.  They have enjoyed tremendous influence and the ability to dictate terms to entrepreneurs that were often “take it or leave it” situations.  Many of the entrepreneurs who were embraced by this community have a difficult time seeing the long-term results of an incestuous and conflict-ridden investment environment.  An environment, where if you were not willing to accept onerous and disrespectful terms you have to leave the Kentucky.  For each entrepreneur who was embraced and willing to accept the monopolistic terms for investment, there are many more who either did not get they capital they needed, or had to leave the state to continue their business. 

Now the “high profile” capital providers would say that the best deals received the funding they needed.  The ones who complained are just cry babies who didn’t get funding.  Well let’s look at some of those so-named “cry babies” who left the state.  Alex Frommeyer of Beam, Nate Morris of Rubicon Global, Chris Jaynes from Mersive to name a few.  These are all companies that left Kentucky, in part, because they could not source the financial resources they needed here to grow their businesses.  I believe that this is proof positive that the mantra from “high profile” investors that there is “plenty of money” in Louisville is a self-serving and false narrative. 

If you would like to play a role in helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and make money while doing it, then please reach out to me at  We are seeking angel investors who share our core values of helping others, acting in a kind, ethical and transparent fashion, and honoring those who assume the risk.  Together we can truly impact our city, our state and our region, by changing our entrepreneurial investment environment from one of self-serving toxicity to one of collaboration and mutual respect.  We look forward to collaborating with LEAP, TALK (our local tech council), and Story Louisville to help effect the overall positive change in our entrepreneurial ecosystem, to which they have been a catalyst. 

Jan 11. UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF FOR BUSINESS OWNERSHIP LIVE WORKSHOP. 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM. iHub Coworking Space, 204 S. Floyd Street, Louisville, KY 40202.
Jan 16. LOUISVILLE SHELTOWEE BUSINESS NETWORK MEETING. 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM. iHub Coworking Space, 204 S. Floyd Street, Louisville, KY 40202.
Jan 18. SBN RAISING CAPITAL WORKSHOP FOR ENTREPRENEURS. 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM. iHub Coworking Space, 204 S. Floyd Street, Louisville, KY 40202.
Jan 21. LEXINGTON SHELTOWEE BUSINESS NETWORK MEETING. 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM. BASE 110, 110 W. Vine Street, 4th Floor, Lexington, KY 40507.


Six Steps That Startup Leaders Can Take for Success in 2020

By Dawn Yankeelov

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.

Given that your startup investment continues to be worth your time, take a moment to put yourself on my guidance through this “Six-Step Program,” as an exercise in forward motion for the New Year.

1.        Get out there and meet new people.  It’s holiday time, so how many parties or engagements have you accepted?  If the answer is very few because you are “working on the business,” think again.  Investments in your startup can come from casual handshakes and good sip of beer at holiday events, because people are generally more relaxed and open to new ideas, suggestions, as well as may have more time to be supportive.  This is proven from my past Technology Association of Louisville Kentucky holiday gatherings where investments have been reported as from “that networking holiday party you hosted.”

2.       Do your homework by joining a trade association—local, regional or national. If you have no sales targets, then look to area trade associations and their websites for suggestions on people and places to go. There are still plenty of websites that list their members in a searchable database.  Need to join?  Well, go ahead.  Costs are generally worth participation in access to a membership list.  Join the Sheltowee ...   continue reading    

Sales Forecasting Approaches Vary, But Must Be Done for 2020

By Dawn Yankeelov

“The goals you set for yourself are a prelude to action, a track to run on, a course to take.” – Paul J. Meyer, Personal Development Entrepreneur, exceeding $3B in sales in his lifetime.

Planning for growth comes by actually doing the work of sales forecasting, because in the process of evaluation of your past months, demographic or related sales research, competitive analysis, and contemplation of industry trends known, you will find your path.

There is never one path forward in growing a business, but without assessment, knowledge-gathering, and strategic planning, new sales growth may become a distant hope for “next year.”

Sales forecasting often begins by asking your startup team tough questions and measuring past performance:

  • What did we achieve in growth this year? What have we learned about our business model?
  • What products and/or services are really ready for a full marketing launch or when will they be?
  • Do we know and understand our target audiences?
  • What sales goals do we have for Q1, Q2, Q3, and year-end of 2020?
  • What is known about our competition in the marketplace?
  • Do we have sales assigned to key players in our organization, and what are their strengths we can accentuate for achievement of the company vision?
  • Can we leverage existing contact lists, sales leads, and potential partners to our 2020 advantage and how are we going to do that?

Sales forecasting theories or techniques in business books may seem overly complicated, but really at their core, they...   continue reading    

THE SHELTOWEE BUSINESS NETWORK in conjunction with the SHELTOWEE VENTURE FUND is a member driven-network that helps entrepreneurs start and build businesses.

Our Core Values are:
1. Help others
2. Always act in a kind, ethical and transparent fashion
3. Honor those who assume the risk
4. Expect a financial return from your interactions

Become a member of the network!  Go to: