Silicon Valley Event Shines Spotlight on Louisville’s Growing Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
Nearly 150 business and community leaders from greater Louisville and the Bay Area convened in Silicon Valley September 9 for “Endeavor Day,” a dedicated day of programming featuring a robust roster of speakers drawn from Endeavor’s network in Louisville and throughout the U.S. The gathering was part of an annual city-based retreat organized by Greater Louisville, Inc. (GLI), the Louisville Chamber of Commerce, and is designed to gather best practices and lessons learned that can be taken back home and implemented, while showcasing Louisville’s entrepreneurial talent to a wider audience.
This year’s theme, “The Year of Tech,” drew speakers such as Rusty Rueff (Glassdoor, Tech 4 America), Joanna Rees (West Ventures), Dan Green (Gunderson Dettmer), Rhett Morris (Endeavor Insight), and Jackie Carmel (Endeavor Catalyst), alongside Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Louisville, to discuss high-impact entrepreneurship, community reinvestment, and how technology is shaping both.
Highlights of the event included on panel on the “Importance of Venture Capital for Entrepreneurship,” during which Endeavor Louisville Managing Director Jackson Andrews led a conversation with Endeavor Board Member Joanna Rees, Endeavor Catalyst Managing Director Jackie Carmel, and Dan Green of Gunderson Dettmer, which focused on VC’s widening lens to entrepreneurs outside of Silicon Valley.
“It was exciting to discuss how the venture capital landscape has dramatically improved between the coasts with so many important stakeholders of the Louisville community,” said Carmel, highlighting the growing pace of investment in U.S. entrepreneurs scaling businesses outside of the country’s hubs. To date, Endeavor Catalyst has invested in 10 U.S. companies, including two supported by Endeavor’s Louisville office, SkuVault and Lisnr.
Louisville entrepreneurs Demetrius Gray (WeatherCheck), Nick Mattingly (Endeavor Entrepreneur, Switcher Studio), and Stacy Griggs (Endeavor Entrepreneur, El Toro) also spoke on a panel with Palo Alto-based angel investor Armando Mann about growing an entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture in Louisville, and the challenges surrounding that.
“I was one of those guys that used to say you need to come to Silicon Valley to build your company,” said Mann. “However, I’ve been converted over the last five years. I now tell the companies I meet with to get out, because it is so hard to find talent that will stick with you for the long haul.”
Griggs agreed, highlighting the benefits of a rich talent pool coming out of local universities and the importance of showing the next generation that world class tech opportunities are not just in Silicon Valley. “We don’t want to become a Silicon Valley, we want to become the best Louisville we can be.”
Watch a recording of their panel discussion here.
View other videos from the event on GLI’s Facebook page here.