LEXINGTON, Ky. — Launch Blue and the Bluegrass Angels (BGA) recently announced investments totaling $270,000 into six Kentucky startup companies based on their performances in the recent KY270 startup pitch competition. The investments, which ranged in value from $30,000 to $90,000, will help the companies advance their innovation-based businesses with ongoing support from Launch Blue and BGA.
These companies were among 12 finalists that pitched to a panel of investors on Oct. 22 as part of the KY270 competition. A diverse group of finalists was selected through a competitive application process that included written and video applications submitted by emerging Kentucky startups.
KY270 funding partners are the Bluegrass Venture Fund IV operated by Bluegrass Angels, the Kentucky Enterprise Fund (KEF) operated by Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), Commonwealth Seed Capital (CSC), and KY Innovation at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. Investments will be structured as convertible notes with startup-friendly terms.
“The Bluegrass Angels Venture Fund IV, along with our funding partners, was proud to join the Cabinet for Economic Development and KY Innovation to hold this pitch competition,” said Chris Young, who serves as president of BGA and chair of the fund. “We were pleased to see applications from all across the commonwealth representing a wide variety of businesses led by a strong group of founding teams. The quality of pitches was quite high, making for some difficult decisions by the judges. We look forward to working with all of the winners to assist them in building their companies.”
The winners are:
Moolathon LLC (Louisville, Ky.) received the top investment award of $90,000. Moolathon was founded in 2017 by former collegiate athlete turned entrepreneur Mac Wilkinson. The company’s goal is to expand the fundraising reach of groups and organizations by allowing them to create virtual fitness fundraisers that their supporters can participate in any time, anywhere using the Moolathon mobile app.
“Being selected amongst the final 12 companies was an honor in itself … and being chosen as the winning company means so much more than the sum of investment we are being awarded. We are looking forward to the doors this will open for us, and the guidance we will receive now that we are associated with Bluegrass Angels, Launch Blue, and winning the KY270 competition,” said Wilkinson.
Synaptek LLC (Lexington, Ky.), a software platform for assessment and management of concussion data for athletes, received the second place investment award of $60,000. Personal Medicine Plus LLC dba PreventScripts (Paducah, Ky.), Bluegrass Advanced Materials LLC dba HumMed (Lexington, Ky.), BrainStem LLC (Louisville, Ky.), and Pavr Solutions LLC dba Pav*r (Louisville, Ky.) each received investment awards of $30,000.
Each of the six startups will receive ongoing coaching, mentoring, and services from Launch Blue as participants of a special KY270 cohort of its incubator program.
“It was a privilege to work with our partners on KY270 and see how much we can do working together to support technical startups in Kentucky,” said Laura Halligan, executive director of Launch Blue. “We are excited to continue to work with and support these amazing founders going forward.”
Companies will receive a six-month membership to Base110 as part of the Launch Blue package of services. Base110 is a coworking and shared office space in downtown Lexington serving the technology and creative markets, and is the home of Launch Blue.
Launch Blue is a pre-seed accelerator program serving early-stage scalable, technology-enabled Kentucky startup companies. Launch Blue’s goal is to launch nationally competitive Kentucky startups. Launch Blue provides education and coaching based on nationally accepted best practices for startups and helps Kentucky startups compete for opportunities in national accelerator programs where they can attract the startup talent and secure the startup funding that they will need to scale.
Launch Blue was formed in 2020 by a consortium of community partners led by the University of Kentucky’s (UK) Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) and comprising Base 110, Bluegrass Angels (BGA), Bullard, Commerce Lexington, Kentucky Small Business Development Center (KSBDC), Kentucky Science & Technology Corporation (KSTC), Awesome Inc, and Marrow. Launch Blue funding is provided by KY Innovation, UK OTC, and the US Economic Development Administration.
The Bluegrass Angels, one of Kentucky’s most active angel investing groups, is a volunteer-led group of skilled and experienced business leaders who find, fund and mentor innovative, high-tech Kentucky startups seeking long-term success and a financially viable exit strategy. Through its portfolio of Kentucky investments, BGA syndicates with other local investors and angel groups nationwide. BGA’s mission is to invest in Kentucky startup technology companies who have identified a clear exit strategy, the ability to create strong financial returns for our members, and a promise to create new jobs for the Kentucky economy.