The Community Foundation of Louisville has announced the recipients of its 21st annual Vogt Invention and Innovation Awards. These six early-stage companies will receive $25,000 in non-dilutive grant funding, participation in a 10-week accelerator program, startup coaching, mentorship from industry veterans, strategic introductions, and recognition. The culmination of the program will be on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 5 p.m., when the founders present their company pitches.
Winners were chosen by a selection committee made up of leading entrepreneurs and investors in the startup community and past Vogt Award winners, led by Chair Maggie Galloway.
The Vogt Awards are funded by the Vogt Invention and Innovation Fund at the Community Foundation of Louisville, an endowment established in 1999 thanks to the generosity of businessman and philanthropist Henry Vogt Heuser Sr. The purpose of this charitable fund is to strengthen Louisville’s economic health by providing funding and support to innovative startups and inspiring entrepreneurs.
Here’s information about this year’s recipients and their companies:
Legal Gantt provides law firms with a client portal to facilitate communication, case status, and progress with their clients. Think of it as similar to the Domino’s pizza tracker or Amazon package tracker but for legal services. Their app provides legal clients with a road map of their legal services and any upcoming steps—all while having direct access to their attorney 24/7. Founders are Hishem Alsalman and Carlos Acevedo.
Real estate agents historically have had to use complex, sometimes inconvenient technology like Excel spreadsheets and task apps to do their jobs, which doesn’t match their on-the-go lifestyles. Symba is a mobile-first real estate CRM that allows realtors to grow and manage their businesses from their pockets. Founders are Ryan Harris, Evan Knowles, and Tanner Wilcox.
The idea for Gluconfidence came from founder Brian Oliver while he was serving as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Navy, and trying to manage his blood sugar. His experience made him want to reduce the daily burden for insulin-dependent diabetes patients by improving blood glucose control through data- driven glucose delivery.
Timeout Software is a mobile application that provides personalized mental health resources to athletes and mental health care teams in real time. The mental health app is athlete-centered and can fully integrate with any mental health care model to optimize help. The app uses evidence-based resources to meet athletes where they are in their mental health journeys and to mitigate suicide risk factors. Founder Maya McClendon was a psychology major and former volleyball player for the University of Louisville. The suicide of a teammate sent her on the journey to develop this app.
Yornest is developing a group messaging platform that brings the fun of social media functions into group chats. The brand is focusing on allowing people to socialize in a more meaningful way, by letting them share intimately with the people they care the most for, instead of the whole world. Michael Brizendine is the founder of Yornest. (You can read about Brizendine’s unusual journey to entrepreneurship in our interview from July.)
Black UX Labs
Black UX Labs founder Amber Fields worked in advertising and felt encouraged to make an impact by bringing more Black representation into the UX space. UX design helps determine that the experience a user has with a product through the interface design, usability, accessibility, information architecture and Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Fields’ company seeks to increase the number of Black people in the field with UX coaching, virtual events and connections to UX job opportunities.
Lisa Bajorinas, Vogt Awards program director, says, “We are particularly proud of the program’s history of diverse entrepreneurs and are excited to continue to support talented inventors and innovators who are developing big solutions to large-scale problems. The Vogt Awards are a great example of how we, as a community, encourage bold, creative thinking and action. The companies selected show great promise, and I’m excited to see that promise become reality.”