Announcing the 22nd annual Vogt Award recipients!
The Community Foundation of Louisville is thrilled to announce the recipients of our 22nd annual Vogt Invention and Innovation Awards. These six, early-stage industry disruptors 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, all designed to boost their growth and take their tech-enabled businesses to the next level. We’re excited to share that this year’s recipients represent the program’s first majority minority cohort — 83% are minority/founders of color and 50% are women-founded.
The Vogt Awards will culminate with Demo Day on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 5 p.m. at The Speed Art Museum. Join us for networking, live presentations by company founders, and an in-person reunion with the Louisville startup community.
The recipients are:
- Arrow Health, a defined contribution (fixed budget) insurance product that allows small businesses to provide their employees’ health insurance at a fraction of the cost of a traditional group health insurance plan. Founders are Erik Anderson and Waleed Bahouth.
- C2 Keep, a hub for controlled substances inventory management and compliance. Founder is Roland Achenjang.
- LimitLess, a tech-based, on-demand delivery app allowing consumers to order fresh produce, groceries, food delivery and more. Founder is TaMeka Bland.
- Melanated Healthcare, a multidisciplinary, digital health platform that connects Black patients and other people of color to culturally congruent health professionals. Founder is Lecresha Sewell.
- TitleWise, a powerful, web-based tool for creating digital reports and databases specifically designed for real estate title abstractors. Founders are Chris Mason and Jennifer Mason.
- Xena Intelligence, an AI-powered, eCommerce platform that uses data intelligence to automate and optimize eCommerce growth on Amazon and Walmart. Founder is Akhil Suresh Nair.
The Vogt Awards are funded by the Vogt Invention and Innovation Fund at the Community Foundation, an endowment established in 1999 thanks to the generosity of businessman and philanthropist Henry Vogt Heuser Sr. The Fund’s purpose is to strengthen Louisville’s economic health by supporting innovative startups and inspiring entrepreneurship. The Vogt Award funding and accelerator program is unique in that it allows founders to retain full ownership in their businesses.
The Fund’s originating $5 million principal is still intact after providing non-dilutive grants to 102 startup companies totaling more than $3.8 million, with 38% of those funds going to women or founders of color.
“The Community Foundation is dedicated to mobilizing people, networks and capital to spark meaningful and measurable progress, and the Vogt Awards provide a critical mechanism for us to do just that,” says Ron Gallo, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Louisville. “The Vogt Fund’s legacy is its lasting impact on Louisville’s economic health through the power of generosity. We think Mr. Heuser would be tremendously proud of the business and industry he continues to foster more than 20 years later, including the pioneering ideas of this newest group of award recipients.”
Awardees were carefully chosen by a selection committee made up of leading entrepreneurs and investors in the startup community and past Vogt Award recipients. The committee was led by Chair Monique Quarterman, Deputy Executive Director of Kentucky Innovation at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.
“The Vogt Awards program is very much a leader among philanthropy-based venture programs,” says Quarterman. “By broadening the program’s eligibility requirements this year to be more inclusive to female founders and entrepreneurs of color — without diluting its competitiveness — we’re empowering more Louisvillians to share their ideas and drive real change. These six, outstanding recipients rose to the top as clear leaders in their fields. I’m excited to see how this diverse group of innovators changes the world.”
Please join us in congratulating this year’s exceptional cohort!