LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky tech startups are now able to apply to Launch Blue, an early stage accelerator program designed to nurture the most promising Kentucky founders with scalable, technology-based startup ideas and empower them to move from the idea stage to successful launch.
Launch Blue has been developed to meet a need for startup focused training and support for Kentucky entrepreneurs. It engages the full entrepreneurial ecosystem to empower and equip Kentucky’s best ideas to succeed at the next level. This program will provide resources to Kentucky tech startups by engaging entrepreneurship resources, mentors and investors to competitively position portfolio companies for national accelerator programs.
The organizing partners are University of Kentucky’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC), Base 110, Bluegrass Angels (BGA), Bullard, Commerce Lexington, Kentucky Small Business Development Center (KSBDC), Kentucky Science & Technology Corporation (KSTC), Awesome Inc, and Marrow. These partners represent a diverse base of experience, insight and continued support from across the ecosystem. Funding is being provided by KY Innovation, Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Government (LFUCG), and UK OTC.
“The Bluegrass Angels are proud and eager to support the Launch Blue venture accelerator program,” said Brian Luftman, member and fund manager for BGA, Kentucky’s most active angel investor organization. “We were thrilled to be included in the planning and execution of the program, and we believe that Launch Blue will be vital in offering support and resources for early-stage companies in Kentucky. As avid investors in Kentucky startup ventures, the Bluegrass Angels appreciate Launch Blue’s goal of helping early-stage entrepreneurs evolve their ideas into robust, investable companies.”
Launch Blue participants will enjoy use of co-working, meeting and event space at Base110 in downtown Lexington.
“We are thrilled to be the home of Launch Blue,” said Randall Stevens, co-owner of Base 110. “We’ve worked closely with the Launch Blue team on numerous startup and founder initiatives and we are so impressed with this new program. With Base 110’s community of creatives, entrepreneurs, and people in tech, Launch Blue will be the perfect complement to our existing member base. Anyone who participates in Launch Blue is going to receive the highest level of leadership, mentorship, and guidance in the Bluegrass.”
UK OTC is a thought leader and significant contributor to startup efforts throughout Kentucky, and it enjoys strong collaborative relationships with various state and community partners. Members of the UK OTC team and Launch Blue partners will coach, mentor and advise portfolio companies.
“We are excited to be a part of bringing this type of high caliber program to Kentucky,” said Taunya Phillips, senior associate director of New Ventures & Alliances and Launch Blue advisory board chair. “The founders that emerge from the Launch Blue program will be in a great position to grow and scale their companies, as well as attract investment funding and attention from top national accelerator programs. In turn, they will contribute to a growing Kentucky startup ecosystem.”
“I have seen first‐hand the need that Launch Blue aims to fill in the Kentucky ecosystem,” said Kristina Joyce, state director KSBDC. With service centers statewide and an experienced and knowledgeable staff, KSBDC provides unparalleled business coaching, consulting and training services that help existing business owners and potential entrepreneurs succeed. “Launch Blue’s structured programming and intense coaching around pre‐seed startups has a unique opportunity to provide benefit to KSBDC clients.”
“Many Kentucky entrepreneurs have proven their ability to produce groundbreaking, successful tech companies. Yet too many ideas in Kentucky have not had the support needed to reach that level of success,” said Terry Samuel KSTC president. KSTC is a statewide non-profit organization with a mission to facilitate an innovation-driven, science and technology-based economy in Kentucky. “KSTC has a long history of assisting entrepreneurs in bringing those ideas to fruition. We are excited to support and partner with Launch Blue in accelerating the best ideas from Kentucky.”
The application for the fall cohort closes June 30. Kentucky founders can learn more or apply at the Launch Blue website.