Top angel investors in Kentucky

Last updated: January 29, 2024

Kentucky, often known for its accelerating startup scene, is also home to many angel investors and investment networks. However, in the past years, many individual investors have become inactive, leaving the startups worried about the future of the state. 

So, are there any angel investors in Kentucky who invest in cities other than Louisville or Lexington?

Well, Yes! Even when these cities have a massive entrepreneurial landscape, there are some angels and VC firms who are willing to boost startups in other cities as well.

So, let’s wait no longer and jump onto the list of the top 5 angel investors in Kentucky and how to pitch to them.

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    Top 5 Angel Investors in Kentucky

    Following is the list of some of the top angel investors, investment networks and venture capital firms that fund startups in Kentucky. While the list may not feature a lot of individual investors, it is important to remember that most investors who used to fund startups in Kentucky have become inactive.

    Still, there are some top-ranked investors and investment firms that can help you secure the much-needed capital for a startup. 

    Katie Wells

    LinkedIn: Katie Wells | LinkedIn

    Investor Type: Individual Investor

    Investment Interests: Food

    Investment Stage: Early and Seed

    Funding startups for almost 5 years now, Katie Wells is one of the most famous and active angel investors in Kentucky. Aside from funding startups, Katie is usually known for her exceptional entrepreneurial career as she is the CEO of Wellnesse and Founder of Wellness Mama. 

    When funding startups, Kaite looks for ventures that have a strong basis, a unique idea, and chances to secure huge profits. Although she usually makes early-stage investments, Kaite Wells has also funded 1 startup at the seed stage. 

    Moreover, Katie Wells usually funds startups through fundraisers or networking events, by meeting entrepreneurs and hearing out their ideas. The investment range of Katie Wells often depends on the growth potential and stage of the startup. Some of her recent portfolio companies are:

    SteadyMD: This is a company that provides outpatient services. It operates in the healthcare sector, offering a telehealth platform that connects patients with doctors based on their health needs.

    Ready. Set. Food: This company operates in the food products industry. It offers a system designed to introduce babies to peanuts, eggs, and milk, which are among the most common food allergens.

    Serenity Kids: This is another company in the food products industry. It offers nutrient-dense baby food products that are low in sugar and high in protein and healthy fats.

    Keyhorse Capital


    Website: Keyhorse Capital

    Investor Type: Venture Capital Firm

    Investment Interests: Tech, Food & Beverage, VR, Cloud, Digital Businesses and AG.

    Investment Stage: Seed and Early

    Investing more than 45M in the past decade, Keyhorse Capital is the biggest and most active VC firm in Kentucky. In total, the network has made more than 500 investments, and the investors at Keyhorse Capital are planning to increase this number.

    During the investment stage, the investors prefer startups that are building innovative, technology-enabled products or services. They also look for companies that present a well-articulated market opportunity with some level of customer validation and a strong founding team.

    Once the network has funded startups, it also conducts numerous mentorship programs and networking events. They also invite other investors into their networking events to create a thriving startup community and help startups find an investor with identical interests.

    The investment range of Keyhorse Capital ranges from $100,000 to $5M, as they invest in both seed and early staged startups. Although they have a lot of successful companies with successful exits, some names are:

    Allylix: Allylix was an early-stage biotechnology company that developed terpene products and their derivatives for the flavor and fragrance, food ingredient, pharmaceutical, agricultural, and biofuel markets. The company raised a total of $34M in funding.

    ALT Distilling: ALT Distilling is a beverage company based in Louisville, Kentucky, that produces a wide range of beverages 

    BehaVR: BehaVR develops evidence-based, immersive, digital therapeutics for behavioral health using VR. They create personalized, dynamic experiences that are governed and adapted in real time based on biometrics, protocols, and machine learning models. BehaVR has raised a total of $21.2M in funding over 4 rounds.

    Chrysalis Ventures


    Website: Home | Chrysalis Ventures | Louisville KY

    Investor Type: Venture Capital Firm

    Investment Interests: Tech, Education, Healthcare and AI.

    Investment Stage: Early and Seed

    Chrysalis Ventures was founded by David Jones in 1993 and has funded around 170 startups. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, the network prefers related to the tech industry. This is evident from their 170 investments; almost 80 startups are from the tech sector.

    Similarly, during the funding stage, the investors at Chrysalis Ventures invest in startups that solve problems and have chances to grow. Once they have invested in a startup, Chrysalis Ventures ensures that the startup can get the best guidance, thanks to their experienced network of mentors.

    They also organize a lot of mentorship programs, networking events and startup accelerators. The investment range of Chrysalis Ventures can range upto $3M, depending on the growth potential and the related sector. Some of their notable portfolio companies are:

    Advanced Academics: Advanced Academics provides Learning Management Systems for educational institutions. They partner with hundreds of districts and schools, offering web-based curriculum for grades 6–12, including online courses. Advanced Academics has raised a total funding of $7.5M over 1 round.

    Embold Health: Embold Health is a physician-led healthcare analytics company that measures and creates transparency around provider performance. Their data analytics offer employers health plans, and health systems, based on real-time data. Embold Health has raised a total of $47.9M in funding.

    Swift Medical: Swift Medical provides an AI-powered, digital wound care platform that allows any patient or clinician to easily capture a high-precision image of their wound with their mobile phone. Swift Medical has raised a total of $48.1M in funding.

    AlayaCare: AlayaCare delivers an end-to-end home healthcare software platform and hardware ecosystem for patients. AlayaCare has raised a total of $293.4M in funding.

    Poplar Ventures



    Investor Type: Venture Capital Firm

    Investment Interests: Neurotech, Software, Healthcare, Digital Business and Consumer Products. 

    Investment Stage: Early and Seed.

    Poplar Ventures is also an active VC firm that has made around 12 investments in Kentucky. The network was founded by John Willmoth in February 2019 and is headquartered in Louisville. The investors at Poplar Ventures focus on startups that can show profitability. They prefer to invest in early to growth-stage companies operating in the B2B software technology sector across Middle America.

    During the investment stage, investors often question entrepreneurs about their intended aim, estimated growth and market competition. Startups that usually have the least competitors and can generate 3-6x ROI within 2 years often secure the investment.

    The investment range of Poplar Ventures ranges from $100,000 to $5M. However, they usually invest around $2M. Some of their previous investments are:

    Colossus: Colossus is a software and service company focused on accelerating the clean-energy movement. They raised $36M in a Series A round.

    nQ Medical: nQ Medical is a neurotechnology company that uses artificial intelligence for Data Defined Disease Management via digital biomarkers. They provide a digital therapeutics platform addressing neurocognitive and neuromotor disorders. 

    VividCharts: VividCharts offers data visualization software designed to generate and distribute real-time reports that make data-focused decisions easy and efficient. They help businesses prepare dashboards, automated reports, and presentations. They raised $2M in a seed round.

    Podchaser: Podchaser is a comprehensive podcast database collecting and distributing podcasts for listeners, podcasters, and brands. They raised $4M in a funding round led by Greycroft.

    Travis Howle

    LinkedIn: Travis Howle | LinkedIn

    Investor Type: Individual Investor

    Investment Interests: AGtech.

    Investment Stage: Early.

    Travis Howle is also an individual angel investor who likes to fund Kentucky-based startups. Even when he doesn't have alot of companies in his portfolio, Travis Howle usually likes to go big when he makes his investment.

    Similarly, another reason for his low investments is because of his strict investment criteria. Travis believes that startups looking for funding should at least generate massive ROI and have unique solutions to survive the market. Even though he may not be the easiest investor to pitch, entrepreneurs still have a chance to boost their startups.

    Aside from funding, Travis Howle doesn't arrange any mentorship programs or networking events. Among his investments, one portfolio company is:

    Elwoh Solutions: This company provides local agricultural services and high-quality alfalfa hay available nationwide. The technology division, Elwoh Solutions, provides global technology and engineering services.

    Wrap Up 

    Summing up, remember that even when there are a few investors in Kentucky, you can still secure an investment. At the end of the day, the angels only care about the startup that can offer a unique idea and help them secure profits.

    Try to prepare a decent pitch deck by looking at some of the best examples for a pitch deck. During the screening tests, entrepreneurs attending their first investor meeting often get confused and lose their confidence.

    To avoid that, try delivering your pitch infront of the mirror and belive strongly in your startup idea.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What are startup stages?

    A: Startup stages represent the critical milestones in a company's evolution. These stages typically include creativity, development, launch, growth, and scaling.

    Creativity is the inception phase, where the business idea is conceived and refined. Development involves creating the product or service, often requiring significant research and investment. The launch marks the introduction of the product or service to the market.

    Q: How does funding startups benefit Angel Investors?

    A: Angel Investors benefit from funding startups through potential high returns on investment, diversification of their portfolio, and the satisfaction of contributing to new business growth. They also gain access to innovative ideas and networks that can expand their business opportunities.

    Q: Do most angel investors fund late-stage startups?

    A: No!

    Most angel investors usually direct their investments towards early-stage startups rather than late-stage ones. Their focus lies in identifying promising ventures at their outset and contributing to their growth and success.

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