Updated: Dec 9, 2020
The entrepreneurial community in this region has a long way to go but it is rapidly growing in size and interconnectedness. This is vital because entrepreneurs need all the support they can get from mentors, government, service providers, financial institutions, and many others. The more interconnected the community becomes, the more access entrepreneurs have to the right kind of support at the right time. Endeavor, a global network of high-impact entrepreneurs that connects founders with mentors, funders, and other resources, has been making a very concerted effort to provide entrepreneurs in cities like Louisville, Lexington, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis with the necessary resources and connections to grow successful businesses.
Endeavor offers entrepreneurs access to a network of support and mentorship with the goal of fostering long-term economic growth in the regions it operates in. Brought to Louisville in 2014 with the help of the late Humana co-founder Mr. David Jones Sr., Endeavor has been an integral part of this region's entrepreneurial growth. Locally, In the 5 years they have been operating in this region, 18 entrepreneurs from 14 companies have been selected to join the network, generating more than $110 million in revenues and raising $134 million in capital in 2019 alone. These companies have also created more than 1100 jobs to date. Globally, Endeavor is in 37 countries, 8 U.S. markets, and in 2019 Endeavor Entrepreneur led businesses generated excess of $24 billion in revenue and employed over 4.1 million people around the world. Middle Tech has had the pleasure of interviewing several members of the Endeavor network so we wanted to look back and highlight those conversations.
Endeavor currently has two programs for entrepreneurs. They have the primary Endeavor Entrepreneur network of high-impact entrepreneurs and the regional Scale Up program for high-potential earlier founders. Entrepreneurs in the global network are required to pass an extensive selection process before becoming Endeavor Entrepreneurs. These entrepreneur-led companies are typically generating at least several million in revenues and are Series A stage or beyond. Scale Up Entrepreneurs participate in a 6-month regional growth accelerator program and are usually $500k-2M in revenue. Below are those entrepreneurs as well as several Endeavor mentors we’ve interviewed on the Middle Tech Podcast.
Episode 117. Kyle Green (Endeavor Entrepreneur, selected in 2017)
Kyle and his team at Handle Global are building a software platform that is helping hospital systems manage their supply chain using Handle’s marketplace and capital cycle management (CCM) SaaS product. The powerful combination of these two solutions will change the way hospitals manage their assets, allowing them to focus more on the care they deliver to their patients. Handle is especially important today when COVID-19 has created a great deal of stress and chaos in the healthcare system. We discussed Kyle’s background, Handle’s origin story, the company’s future, and advice Kyle has for entrepreneurs solving difficult problems.
Episode 67. Jonathan Webb (Endeavor Entrepreneur, selected in 2019)
Jonathan is the CEO and founder of AppHarvest. With several environmental and political threats to our food supply, AppHarvest is hoping to make Kentucky the AgTech Capital of the World by creating fresh, quality produce that can be grown efficiently and safely within a day's drive of 75% of the US. With a recent move to go public, AppHarvest is making major moves toward that goal and we have not only spoken with Jonathan but several of his teammates to continue coverage from different perspectives on how they plan to accomplish the goal of making Kentucky the AgTech capital of the world.
Episode 87. Andy Eastes (Endeavor Entrepreneur, selected in 2016)
Andy Eastes has been a successful entrepreneur his entire life. From mowing lawns to flipping items on eBay, Andy has managed to take simple ideas and make them into successful businesses. So it comes as no surprise that he co-founded SkuVault with Slav Ivanyuk to make inventory management a breeze vs the confusing and complicated process he was used to with his e-commerce background. We discussed lessons that Andy learned along the way and how he's managed to build SkuVault into one of Louisville’s software gems.
Episode 116. Mo Sloan (Endeavor Scale-Up Entrepreneur 2020)
Mo is the founder and CEO of EZ-Chow. They are giving control back to restaurants when it comes to online ordering by creating a software solution that allows the customer to order directly from the restaurant's website. By using EZ-Chow's software, the restaurant controls the customer experience and does not have to pay heavy fees as they do with big names such as DoorDash & UberEats. We discuss Mo's journey from the corporate world to starting his own company, what he's learned along the way, and his experience starting a company in Louisville, Kentucky.
Episode 110. Nate and Richard Walsh (Endeavor Scale-Up Entrepreneurs 2020)
Richard and Nathan Walsh are the co-founders of Continuud. Continuud is a telehealth platform that is focused on using data to improve patient retention rates, while also helping healthcare clinics gather insights on how they can improve their care. While Continuud envisions utilizing their platform to help clinics deal with all different types of chronic illnesses, they are currently focused on HIV. We discuss their experience being married LGBTQ+ founders, how their platform is changing HIV care, and the importance of telehealth.
Episode 85. Brad Luttrell (Endeavor Scale-Up Entrepreneur 2020)
The outdoor recreation industry accounts for more than $400 Billion of America's economic activity. Brad Luttrell recognized that there was a gap in the market for a social media platform dedicated to the outdoors and came up with the idea for GoWild, a social media and activity tracking platform for outdoor enthusiasts. On this episode, we covered his background, his entrepreneurial mindset, and where he sees GoWild going into the future.
Episode 78. Sarah Alessi and Jacob Isaac-Lowry (Endeavor Scale-Up Entrepreneurs 2020)
Sarah and Jacob created FlyWire Cameras, a hardware + SaaS company, to provide data and analytics that are used to help make the commercial fishing industry more sustainable and profitable. On this episode, we explored exactly how they help and their journey starting the company.
Episode 99. Christian Beck (Scale-Up Mentor)
We sat down with the Christian who is the Executive Design Partner of Innovatemap which is an Indianapolis-based design firm that helps companies of all sizes design & build digital products and services. In this episode, we focus heavily on the importance of good design. Christian walks us through what early-stage companies should be doing in regards to design, and also shares lots of wisdom about the role that good design plays in building successful digital products.
Episode 91. John Willmoth (Endeavor mentor and panelist)
John Willmoth is the Managing Partner at Poplar Ventures where he invests in many of Kentucky's most successful software companies. Before getting into the venture capital space, John helped grow the communications giant, Nextel, from just a few million dollars in revenue to $15 Billion. On this episode, we will discuss the Nextel story, the ZirMed story, what it means to be a venture capitalist and John's opinions on the state of entrepreneurship in Kentucky.
Episode 121. David Willbrand (Endeavor mentor)
David Willbrand is a Startup & Venture Capital Lawyer at Thompson Hine. David provides a unique perspective on this region and its startup ecosystem as he has been working in it since 1996. In addition to acquiring a great deal of experience helping founders navigate the legality of starting a company, David has also had a front-row seat to watch this region's startup ecosystem grow & evolve over time. We discuss the role that law plays in starting a company, the legal implications of big tech turning into monopolies, and what David has observed during his time serving this region.