Building a startup is hard. Funding it is oftentimes harder.
The Render Competition invests $100,000 into eight companies each year, encouraging their growth within and beyond our region. We cast a wide net, opening up applications to startups from anywhere, and then our community of judges work to identify the eight, most promising companies. The winners are required to locate within the Greater Louisville region and our team and network of partners will provide tailored support.
Diverse, decentralized decision-making
What founders are saying
“We are now experiencing firsthand, what founders of other Render portfolio companies have told us all along, they go out of their way to open doors of opportunity and help us grow our business through their network. We knew the Render Competition was an opportunity worth competing for!”
"Unitonomy pursued the Render Competition to gain the support of the region’s first venture fund for early-stage startups. Render’s support supplied a strong signal for our business, provided us with a partner to help build relationships, plus 100-thousand financial reasons!"
“The $100K investment has provided us with confidence and strength to grow our team to revolutionize the legal industry. We have been able to hire additional talent to meet the needs of our industry and continue improving our solution."
What we offer, besides capital
Through our local and national network of partners, we offer winning startups free coworking space, community memberships, and consultation and support from professional service providers.
Memberships & Discounts
Pro Bono Consulting
Program service providers include:
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
We are looking for high-growth, tech-forward, for-profit startups that are in pre-seed or seed funding stages. We especially encourage startups that are solving problems within our region’s strategic industries including healthcare/aging care, advanced manufacturing, food and beverage, logistics and e-commerce, and business services.
Ineligible industries include brick and mortar businesses, consulting practices, restaurants, real estate development, biomedical science, investment vehicles, adult entertainment and materials, illegal substances and paraphernalia.
WHAT ARE THE TERMS?
The $100,000 is invested through a SAFE (simple agreement for future equity), with a $2.5 M post money valuation cap. The full terms of the SAFE will be available at a later date.
WHY GREATER LOUISVILLE AND SOUTHERN INDIANA?
The Greater Louisville region offers a strategic location, talented and affordable workforce, and accessible support services that make it an awesome place to grow your startup. Check out StartupLou Amplify Louisville, or Greater Louisville Inc. to explore some of the resources dedicated to serving our entrepreneurs.
Besides the business benefits, the region is a great place to live. A large and diverse city with a small-town feel that boasts a cost of living that is 9% lower than the national average. Food, bourbon, horses, arts, outdoors, and much more to explore.
Applications open in April each year followed by a preliminary application review in May. Judge evaluations take place in June and July and finalists are notified in August. A live pitch event will take place in September.
IS THIS AN ACCELERATOR?
No. The Render Competition is focused on providing capital and connections rather than direct programming. We compiled an extensive list of resources and perks that are offered to winners on an “opt in” basis. Further, we seek to support our portfolio companies as a traditional venture investor would, offering tailored support to the company based on its unique needs.
DO I NEED TO RELOCATE?
Yes. You must be willing to locate your company headquarters and at least one full-time founder to Jefferson County, Kentucky or Clark or Floyd counties in Indiana for at least one year after selection. We welcome applications from any location and can provide personalized relocation services through our partners.
WHAT DOES THE APPLICATION REQUIRE?
Applicants will need to provide detailed information to tell your company’s story including detailing your company’s origin, the current conditions, as well as future plans. If your company progresses to Stage 3, you will need to pitch live in Louisville in September. Please know that you do not have to complete your application in one sitting. Feel free to begin the application, get comfortable with the requested information, and work on your submission over time (as long as you submit before the period closes).
WHO ARE THE JUDGES?
A panel of external judges reviews and scores the submissions at each stage of the program. The selection process has been carefully constructed so that many smart minds, with diverse backgrounds, are contributing to a startup’s review. Our judges include corporate executives, startup advisors, experienced investors, and established entrepreneurs who are all experts in their fields. You can see a list of our judges here.
WHAT CRITERIA WILL BE USED FOR JUDGING?
Our application seeks to identify the eight most promising companies based on Solution, Market, Product Market Fit, Competitive Landscape, Team, Business Model, Financials, and Scalability.
HOW DO I KNOW WHERE I STAND?
Login to your account here. Your status should be clearly stated.