“Technology is best when it brings people together.” — Matt Mullenweg
Innovators podcast: data & decisions
AppHarvest goes public
Certilytics stands out
Tech helping diagnose child abuse
XLerateHealth’s Demo Day
Around the region
October 20, 2020
GROWING THE ECOSYSTEM
GLI network supports tech-focused businesses
John Launius; Image courtesy GLI
Greater Louisville has a strong and growing technology ecosystem. And beyond the tech-focused companies, scads of local companies rely heavily on technology—after all, it’s not just planes and trucks that keep UPS packages moving.
To prompt further growth, Greater Louisville, Inc. (GLI) launched TechFirst, a network whose mission is to support and grow Greater Louisville’s technology ecosystem through the development of talent pipelines, a strong innovation culture, and resources.
Louisville Future talked with John Launius, GLI’s acting vice president of regional economic development, to learn more.
How did the new network come about?
Launius: We had a number of events and efforts centered on 2019 being the Year of Technology. We convened industry leaders in technology and conducted a number of meetings, focus groups, and roundtables to better understand their needs and to better understand the assets here within the region.
That really coalesced with a visioning committee that was formed—about 20 individuals primarily within the tech or tech-supported ecosystem. That committee adopted a visioning report and identified that there was a need in our community to create a more formalized structure to support and promote opportunities within that industry.
The visioning report talks as much about talent and culture as it does about infrastructure. Why?
Launius: You can kind of see the intersection of all those focus areas to really meet the ultimate need of the companies, which is to make sure our community has a compelling environment for the talent to come to, for the talent to maintain and be afforded professional and personal opportunities to make Greater Louisville their home.
What are next steps for TechFirst?
Launius: These strategic initiatives will now be supported by a guiding team that will comprise 12 to 18 C-suite leaders throughout the region. The first step in that was identifying our inaugural chair, and Stacy Griggs with El Toro has agreed to serve in that capacity. After we put the guiding team together, the next step will be to have kind of an invite-only meeting with either early adopters of TechFirst or those targets that we’re looking at recruiting.
How does TechFirst relate to groups like Bit 502 and LouTechWorks?
Launius: We want to be a complement to a lot of the work that’s being done. We want to celebrate all the businesses as well as the professional development organizations and academic institutions.
And inaugural membership is free, right?
Launius: We’re offering a complimentary membership to TechFirst for GLI members and non-GLI members. We want to make sure nobody feels late to the table and that they hear us sincerely opening this as an opportunity to get in at the ground floor to really help us build and shape this as we move forward.
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Data driving decisions from appliance repair to brand colors
How does data keep your refrigerator from breaking down on you? Can data select the best colors for your company logo?
Hear different data-centered perspectives from two longtime collaborators - creative marketer Jenn Callahan (liveFire) and fintech veteran Julie Messer (Hornbeam Insurance) on this week’s episode of Flyover Future’s Innovators podcast. These guests have a conversation about data culture, legacy systems, and solving problems with hosts Ben Reno-Weber from Louisville’s Future of Work Initiative and our executive producer Brian Eichenberger.
AppHarvest, an indoor farming company based in Morehead, KY, has gone public. The company makes massive, high-tech greenhouses that distribute water more effectively and use a highly efficient LED lighting system. The company says its system uses less water than traditional farming and yields 30 times more food. The company plans to employ 350 people by the end of this year in an area of rural Kentucky that desperately needs economic development.
AppHarvest went public via a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) called Novus Capital, with an initial market value of $1 billion. The deal includes big equity commitments from Fidelity, Inclusive Capital, and Novus, and VC funding from ValueAct Capital, Revolution (Rise of the Rest), and Equilibrium Capital. AppHarvest’s board includes foodies Martha Stewart and Impossible Foods CFO David Lee, as well as J.D. Vance, author of the bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy.
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Certilytics up for Data Impact Award
Healthcare analytics company Certilytics is a finalist for a Cloudera Data Impact Award in the Data for Enterprise AI category. The award honors companies that build systems for machine learning and have “industrialized AI to automate, secure, and standardize data-driven decision making.” The company is up against Bank of America, Experian, and Gazprombank OAO for the trophy. The winner will be announced on November 18.
Certilytics, which has its national headquarters in Louisville, develops predictive analytics for healthcare companies. Its AI deep-learning platform and library of predictive models help healthcare companies gain financial, clinical, and behavioral insights. The company started in 2014 and now has about 100 employees.
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Helping clinicians diagnose child abuse
Five children die every day from child abuse. Victims often go undiagnosed or are diagnosed incorrectly. And there’s a wealth of research that is mostly unknown. Now, a Louisville app developer and a leading expert on child abuse are teaming up to create a mobile app to make abuse easier to detect in clinical settings. The app is a collaboration between Louisville’s Slingshot and Dr. Mary Clyde Pierce, professor of pediatrics at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
The app will make child abuse research data accessible to pediatricians, clinicians, ER staff, and other medical personnel. Using the app, clinicians will be able to document skin, skeletal, and organ injuries using an interactive 3D human model. Workers will also be able to conduct an injury plausibility assessment by answering questions about symptoms and injury details. The app will not store patient data and is HIPAA compliant. Slingshot and Lurie are making it available free of charge when it comes out later this year.
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Healthcare startups demo solutions on October 28
Six healthcare startups will be presenting their innovative solutions at XLerateHealth’s Louisville Virtual Demo Day on Wednesday, October 28th. Some of the startups are located in cities other than Louisville. Jackie Willmot, CEO and co-founder of XLerateHealth told Louisville Future:
“Our focus over the next year is on 'Building Bridges' nationally and further growing and extending our relationships with large health systems, payers, venture funds and other strategic partners around the US."
The startups participating in the Demo Day are:
BooknDoc (New York City, NY) is a SaaS platform that connects doctors with patients that seek medical care in real-time.
Dr. Opinion (San Leandro, CA) offers an AI solution that automatizes claims processing to reduce workload, costs, and human errors in the dental insurance industry.
Gluconfidence (Louisville, KY) is a veteran-owned company that aims to develop innovative, low-calorie, all-natural liquid glucose supplements for the insulin-taking diabetic community.
Mediscan (London, England) optimizes hospital processes by leveraging sensor-based AI on a long range, ultrasecure IoT capable network, turning even the oldest hospital infrastructure into a smart facility.
Repaytient (Louisville, KY) provides increased cash flow and reduced collections overhead and cost to healthcare facilities and clinics by offering interest-free payment plans to help hospital and clinic patients pay their rising out-of-pocket expenses.
RxLightning (New Albany, IN) digitizes, automates and streamlines the historically complicated manual enrollment process of starting a patient on specialty medications. Specialty medications are expected to account for 70% of new medication launches through 2023.
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A look back at one of Louisville's best-known companies
Image from Brown-Forman
The year: 1870. The entrepreneur: a young pharmaceutical salesman with a bodacious mustache named George Garvin Brown. The investment: $5,500, some of it borrowed. The innovation: selling hooch in sealed glass bottles to assure its quality. The product: Old Forester Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. This inauspicious beginning led to what today is a company with a market value of $29.7 billion and a workforce of 4,700: Brown-Forman.
There’s a good chance you’ve enjoyed one or more of Brown-Forman’s brands or you’ve likely benefited from any number of city amenities funded by Brown-Forman’s (or its heirs’) generosity.
But you might not know that George Garvin Brown’s descendants took the helm of the company for most of the past 150 years, including his fifth-generation descendants who sit on its board today. (The Forman in the name was Brown’s partner in the late 1800’s, George Forman. He did not invent the grill.)
The next time you pour a shot of Woodford, curl up with the company’s website, where you’ll feast on tidbits like:
Within days after Pearl Harbor, Brown-Forman began producing industrial alcohol for the war effort.
The company once owned china-maker Lenox, Hartmann Luggage Company, and cookware maker Dansk International Designs.
During prohibition, Owsley Brown applied for and received a license to bottle whisky for medicinal purposes.
We’ll drink to that!
AROUND THE REGION
We hope you enjoy these headlines from the latest issue of Flyover Future, chronicling innovation throughout the Midwest. If you'd like to subscribe to Flyover Future, click here.