University of Kentucky Research Foundation

Launch Blue - Launching Nationally Competitive Kentucky Startups

Lexington, KY

Venture Challenge

Federal Share: $600,000
Local Match: $600,000

Launch Blue (LB) is a non-equity seeking pre-seed accelerator program that aims to launch nationally competitive Kentucky startups. LB engages the full entrepreneurial ecosystem around Kentucky’s best ideas to empower and equip them to succeed at the next level. Launch Blue’s paramount impact metric is the placement of portfolio companies in national seed-stage accelerator programs that provide industry-specific expertise, networks, resources, talent, capital, and exposure that startups will need to reach scale and marketplace disruption. LB’s core features include a hybrid-virtual operating model, an immersive training curriculum, and a rigorous performance-driven culture. The LB Incubator will surround pre-seed accelerator graduates with mentors while they continue pursuing a scalable and profitable business model, learn investor and board relations by reporting to a mock board, and target national accelerators and early capital (investment or SBIR). LB Labs will provide topic-focused intensive training in areas such as investment, SBIR, marketing, and scale. LB Demo Days will feature portfolio companies and LB alumni. LB partners represent economic development, universities, startup space and community, capital, and industry. Partners are motivated by a shared mission to launch nationally competitive Kentucky startups and accelerate Kentucky’s innovation economy. EDA funding will support initial LB operations and help build relationships and momentum around this class of startup training for Kentucky. Serving all 120 Kentucky counties, the performance site will be Base110 in downtown Lexington.