Seven startups have been selected as finalists for the Startup Appalachia Pitch Competition, presented by Community Trust Bancorp. They will have a shot at a $10,000 grand prize during the SOAR Focus Summit on June 23 at the First Federal Center on the campus of Hazard Community and Technical College.
A record 37 applicants for 23 counties were narrowed down to the eight finalists, which represent eight counties. Aside from the grand prize, second place will receive $3,500 and third place $1,500.
Let’s meet the finalists!
Reimagines is a family-owned and operated custom design and print shop located in Somerset (Pulaski County). They specialize in large format printing and UV printing services. They bring ideas to life with in-house design, state-of-the-art equipment, and the highest quality materials. A few of their most popular products include personalized Moleskine Notebooks, custom lunchboxes, t-shirts, stickers, decals, static clings, and banners.
They offer prints on a variety of surfaces, including on metal, leather, wood, plastic, and other materials to create one-of-a-kind artwork. Their large format printer/cutter prints and cut designs to create custom stickers, decals, clings, wallpaper, banners, and transfer vinyl for apparel and accessories.
Justin and Kristen Matthews
Justin Matthews started as a home brewer following his passion for craft beer. Kristen Matthews has had a lifelong interest in holistic remedies such as herbal teas. That’s a unique combination that formed Eridanus Brewing, a craft beer and herbal tea tap house in Russell (Greenup County).
Eridanus Brewing is housed in a historic Kentucky train depot along the Ohio River, complete with a mysterious bullet hole window story and loads of historic charm. This brand incorporates eco-friendly practices, promotes inclusivity, and supports the community. In addition to craft beer and herbal teas, you can also find Appalachian Folkology, an herbal product line, and herbal education. Justin and Kristen use their business platform to share knowledge about craft beer brewing, the benefits of herbal teas and products, and old Appalachian remedies
Dr. Kyle Mann resides in Columbia (Adair County). He is a practicing dentist in neighboring Liberty, Kentucky. When he isn’t at his practice, he is the founder and CEO of UpScore Test Prep.
This idea came to Dr. Mann after he struggled to find affordable and comprehensive ACT prep in high school. He wanted to make the path easier for other students. UpScore provides individual and school-based courses that support college and career readiness for all students.
Payton Keathly has been an avid gamer and a part of an organized community, or what gamers call Clans, for 14 years. He works in competitive Esports and a variety of high-profile projects, including XGN and FindAClan.com. Payton, who resides in Pikeville (Pike County) created Xiled Inc. with hopes to introduce a new spin on traditional gaming clans.
The site offers a one-stop-shop for social gaming Clan experiences by offering management tools, and opportunities for Clans.
Dakota Hoskins is a native of Liberty (Casey County) and is the owner of Safari Solutions, a technology start-up focused on high-tech car wash innovations. Safari Solutions’ barcode scanner module enables car wash operators to add barcode scanning capabilities to any existing kiosk, providing greater efficiency and profitability for car wash owners.
Kevin Poole is the founder and CEO of Hemp Cattle Company in Winchester (Clark County). He’s a ninth-generation farmer and believes that using innovation is critical to advancing the farming industry. He has developed products to increase farm efficiency and treat animals more humanely. His inventions have been recognized by the national publication Farm Show Magazine. Kevin hopes to scale his products to allow other family farms to work more productively and stay operational.
Charles Young and Daniel Greider
In 2020, Daniel Greider and Charles Young co-founded a software development company called EmreeSoft in Grayson (Carter County). Their software product for online review management. They are hoping to launch their product within the year to businesses all over the country.
Daniel started his business career in Louisa selling radio advertising. From there, he grew to work in online marketing and software development and has been doing so for the last 10 years. Charles has been a software engineer for the past 10 years.
You can still register for the SOAR Focus Summit. Register here.