Lexington area early-stage companies attract $65 million in venture funding

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 25, 2011) — In 2010, entrepreneurial companies in the Bluegrass Region attracted $65 million in venture funding, including angel and venture capital investments, according to the annual survey by the Lexington Venture Club. The 89 Central Kentucky early-stage companies that participated in the survey reported a total $94 million in revenue and 748 people employed with an average full-time salary of $63,485. These companies hired 240 people for newly created jobs in 2010.


The Lexington Venture Club released the survey results at Buster's Billiards & Backroom during the annual entrepreneur celebration. The keynote speaker was Jeri Smith, president and founder of Galmont Consulting in Chicago, Ill. Smith, a UK alumna, has opened a software testing center in downtown Lexington and plans to hire UK engineering graduates.


UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. received the lifetime achievement award for promoting entrepreneurship and economic development in Kentucky. Todd, a graduate of UK and MIT, is a former UK engineering professor who helped found two Kentucky technology companies.


"It was another remarkable year for early-stage companies in the Bluegrass," said Dr. Todd. "I applaud the entrepreneurs in our community who dare to do something new – to do something different. And I thank those who provided funding to these entrepreneurs, as strategic investment holds the key to creating a thriving high-tech economy."


A total of 465 technology jobs have been created in the Bluegrass Region in the last five years. The employment total of 748 reported for 2010 represents 537 full-time and 211 part-time jobs.


"The Lexington Venture Club is proud to work with entrepreneurial companies in Central Kentucky that are creating quality, high paying jobs," said Bob Quick, President and CEO of Commerce Lexington Inc. "These companies are strengthening Lexington's high-tech sectors and we're impressed each year by their growth. They truly are rocks stars in our community!"


The Lexington Venture Club event was hosted by Bob Quick and included remarks from Dr. Todd and Mayor Jim Gray. New companies APO CMS, founded by UK alumnus Tony Schmidt, and Intralink, that moved from Austin, Texas to Coldstream Research Campus last year, were also recognized.


Venture funding rose 38 percent over 2009 and is at an all time high since the first Lexington Venture Club survey in 2003. In the past eight years, $300 million in early-stage capital has been raised by these Lexington area companies. Early stage funding not only comes from angel investors and venture capital firms, but also from founders, friends and family; federal funds including SBIR and STTRs; Kentucky state funds; and from strategic partners.


The majority of the companies participating in the survey are in the biotechnology and healthcare, advanced manufacturing, IT and software, and energy and biomass sectors.

The Lexington Venture Club was founded in 2002 to bring entrepreneurs, investors and service providers together to share new business opportunities. It is co-founded by Commerce Lexington and the University of Kentucky Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship and Lexington Innovation & Commercialization Center in the UK Office for Commercialization & Economic Development. Survey results are available at www.lexingtonventureclub.com.