NOVember 1, 2019

For past editions, visit the SHELTOWEE NEWS ARCHIVES

Louisville Startup Week is Coming on Nov. 11-15: SBN’s Pitch Event & More

During the Louisville Startup Week brought to you by Techstars, the Sheltowee Business Network will unveil its new technology tool, called  Sign up early, and receive a free one-month membership in the Sheltowee Business Network. The Konexons platform is a mobile platform being designed to assist Sheltowee Business Network members in staying connected. 

This platform will allow for members to connect with other members and provide feedback on events and companies.  All surveys for the upcoming startup week from Nov. 11-Nov. 15th will be done on the application.

Highlights of Startup Week:

The Founder Hunt, Nov. 15—11 AM to 5:30 PM, Churchill Downs, Starting Gate Suites. Registration Required.

As part of Techstars 1st Startup Week in Louisville, a new event is being unveiled called The Founder Hunt at Churchill Downs from 11 AM to 3 PM, then networking and racing action.  This event is designed as a startup pitch in reverse. Research-backed technologies from universities and related facilities are seeking investors and founders who want to build a company around them. 

Attendance is expected from those who are investors, corporate innovators or founders particularly in healthcare, bio tech, or life science in the Midwest region looking for new technology to integrate into their products or services.  Founder Hunt is supported by commercialization efforts at the University of Louisville, University of Kentucky and the Commonwealth Commercialization Center (C3).  Other partners include LEAP, and the Louisville CEO Healthcare Council.  The event will be inside Churchill Downs’ Starting Gate Suites. The venue features a bar, several breakout rooms and a balcony overlooking the track.  Attendance is free, but all must register.

New Startup Week Event Announced

The Sheltowee Business Network will be holding a pitch event on Nov. 11 from 3 PM to 5 PM at 900 E. Main St. (The Center by SIDIS), 3rd Floor.  The general public is invited to attend. There will be 7 pitches at 7 minutes each with 5 minutes of Q&A from the judges.  The winner will receive a full-year of the Sheltowee Business Network membership at the Entrepreneurial Level, which is valued at $2,100. 

Judges will be: Lisa Benson -  publisher of Louisville First; Brigid Morrissey – Co-Founder of The Root; Alan  Grosheider – CEO and Founder of Blue222; Carlos Ocampo – Principal of Emergence Law; and Natalia Bishop – CEO and Founder of Story Louisville.  For more details on how to participate, write to JR Rose at  For attendance, go to or on Eventbrite.

 Another Techstars Startup week in Louisville event...   continue reading    

Early Marketing for Your Startup:

How to Think About the Start Line Before Rushing In

By Dawn Marie Yankeelov

This is your wake-up call.  The new year will dawn soon, and a 2020 marketing plan calls for dollars, business insight, and execution to generate sales. Still, the “build it they will come” philosophy remains prevalent among startups of all kinds.  Founders often bet all their dollars on the technology or the product, or even a retail location, before realizing something has to be left for marketing to beta customers or clientele. 

It is often recommended that companies that have been in business for 1-5 years should allocate 12-20% of their anticipated revenue on marketing for the year, but depending on the product or service, it actually may be a higher percentage.  If you are offering a product or service in an entirely new model or category (often true in technology corridors), then wisdom dictates substantial marketing dollars. 

With the buzz of terminology out there describing marketing outreach, the average startup founder tends to bypass digital marketing categories he or she just doesn’t understand—words like SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), CPM (cost per impression), retargeting, conversion paths, churn rate….You could learn as you go, or research key terms as they are thrown at you, but rely on a professional with experience for guidance.  

The successful startup founder will review the overall communications and marketing plan with an eye on categories ascribed to branding, research, public relations, social selling and related digital engagement, lead generation, and web development. 

Important first steps in discussing your marketing plan:

  • Begin with the end in mind.  When allocating dollars know your sales goals and list out benchmarks in your first-year plan for today’s available products or services from your startup.  Determine what level of “expert status” should be developed for recognition of the company in the appropriate buying circles.  Figure out who really is your target audience in the next cycle of activity.  In other words, don’t spend dollars on a product you hope to...   continue reading    

Nov. 11-15th. Techstars Louisville Startup Week. See the links for the events.
Nov. 11, Sheltowee Business Network Louisville Startup Week Pitch Event. 900 E. Main St., 3 to 5 PM. Free.
Nov. 12, Vogt Awards Demo Day. 5 PM to 7:30 PM, Story Louisville. 900 East Main St. Free, but registration required.
Nov. 14. Inventors Network KY Online Meeting—Michael Weinstein. 6:30 PM-8:30 PM. Michael was the Chief Marketing Officer of Allstar Products Group who introduced the Snuggie to market. $7.
Nov. 14. 6 to 8 PM. Network of Entrepreneurial Women. 900 E. Main St. Speaker: Natalia Bishop, Founder & Chief of Happiness, Story Louisville. $10.
Nov. 15. Founder Hunt. 11 AM to 3 PM. Churchill Downs, Starting Gate Suites. Registration Required. A Louisville Startup Week event.
Nov. 15. Technology Association of Louisville KY’s 5G Event. 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM, 900 E. Main St.,Speaker Phillip Brown, Crown Castle. A Louisville Startup Week Emerging Tech event. Beer/Wine. Cash Bar. Appetizers.
Nov. 16, Understanding Yourself For Business Ownership Live Workshop. 10 AM-3 PM, iHub Coworking Space | 204 South Floyd Street. Free for SBN Members or $149 (w/ Eventbrite fee).
Nov. 20th, KY Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Dinner. Louisville Marriott Downtown. 5 PM. $125 per individual.

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:


By Eric Dobson

Sometimes when you see a great idea, it is easy to be captivated into believing all aspects of the venture are equally as well organized. However, you can’t take this at face value.  If you do not validate your assumptions, you stand to earn a learning experience…and usually an expensive one!  This is especially true of the management team.  Several years ago, the Angel Capital Group, now a part of the Sheltowee Business Network, was working under its Version 2.0 business model for angel investment, setting up microfunds.  We had six cities up and running and we traveled with the favored company of the month to ALL six cities to do a live presentation, which we called the “Road Show.”  And, we accepted dealflow from all over the country. So, our challenge was two-fold with these companies.  We had only 30 – 60 days to perform a deep diligence dive on them, understand their team dynamics, and travel with them to six cities.  We focused less on investor- lead diligence in those days, which lead us to our Version 3.0 business model for investment from our microfunds, which focuses almost entirely on investor-led diligence.

We met a company with a great idea from one of our groups.  The company was recommended to apply by a trusted source -- who was one of our angels in the group.  The deal seemed like a “no-brainer.”  They had a great, unique idea.  They believed they had filed the seminal patent in the space.  They had a rock-solid plan for building the device that would give them essentially a monopoly on a municipal market that was in dire straits and desperately in need of a solution on a national scale. And, this solution looked like a lock.  The cost was right and the model naturally lent itself well to project-based financing or franchising avoiding the need for substantial further investment.  In short, it had all the makings of a “baby unicorn.”

So, we dove in with verve.  The local folks provided context for the deal and there was high praise for the charismatic new CEO.  Only one report came back that hinted at problems between the founding team and their first outside CEO, forcing his departure.  But, we largely dismissed it because ...   continue reading