The blood is in the water: Larry Horn of Venture Connectors announced the 2017 competitors for Venture Sharks in May during Wednesday’s Venture Connectors’ Luncheon.

The eighth annual event includes a prize package that blows all the previous Shark prizes out of the… water. The competitors will vie for more than $37,000 in prizes and undiluted cash. Not exactly chum(p) change.

On Wednesday, April 12, at 5:30 p.m. at the Muhammad Ali Center, the 9 competitors will face off to pitch their businesses to a panel of investors. At that event, the field will be narrowed to four who will compete at Venture Connectors’ regular monthly lunch on Wednesday, May 3, also at the Muhammad Ali Center.

In addition to the grand prize, two other prizes will be presented. A new Audience Participation Crowdfunding Campaign will go to a company chosen by the audience via a text message vote during the finals event. The minimum suggested donation is $5 and can be made in person during the preliminary competition, at the finals or online at

Also, past winners Switcher Studio, Logjustrips, GearBrake, Wicked Sheets, U.S. Chia and Surgical Serenity Solutions have pooled their resources and will offer a $300 cash prize to the finalist of their choosing.

So the grand prize winner could potentially win three prizes or the afternoon could end with three different winners.

The semifinalists are:
  • Credit Fair-E, a provider of affordable loans up to $500 to low- and middle-income families to help break their cycle of debt.
  • 502 FIT PASS, a monthly fitness membership that connects its members to over 40 gyms and studios in Louisville.
  • G3 Tri-Tech, a manufacturer and marketer of products for the triathlete community designed to help them obtain an edge in swimming, cycling and running.
  • Herelancer, an online community that connects entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations with creative talent in their local market.
  • Meta Construction Technologies, a construction-technology firm that gives control to the asphalt industry with an innovative fleet management and dispatch software solution, BlackTop.
  • NiteCap Inc., developer of NightSaver, a snoring prevention and sleep apnea therapy product.
  • Stuccco, an online marketplace that connects users with residential and commercial interior designers.
  • Toggle Health, a manufacturer of a patented device that connects surgeons to their pre-operative and mobile data from the sterile field of the operating room.
  • Winner of Startup Weekend Louisville, TBD.

This weekend’s Startup Weekend winner gets an auto bid into the competition.

Speaking of Startup Weekend, the volunteer organizers announced their food lineup for the weekend, and it seems like reason enough to go: Taco Luchador, Mussel & Burger Bar and Vega’s Delicious Wishes are just a few of the caterers.

Also, their logo for the weekend, designed by Austin Lopesilvero, is so spiffy that the national company that is printing their stickers, StickerGiant, blogged about it. Organizers from all across the country have been ordering T-shirts of the design for themselves, according to lead organizer, Paul Blakeley.

This is the 10th Startup Weekend in a row for Louisville. According to a representative from the parent company, Techstars, there are almost no other cities in the world that have had 10 events organized by the same group consecutively.

Use the discount code JOINME to get $10 off tickets.