Brains, Brands & Bourbon was a monthly meetup group I helped conceptualize with a co-founder to refine and scale tech ideas while connecting thought leaders. We believe there are rising stars, talented problem-solvers, and worthwhile opportunities in geographic areas that do not have proximity to coastal cities or technological hubs like Silicon Valley. The concept behind Brains, Brands & Bourbon was to prepare the smartest Midwestern minds to pitch their ideas to incubators, angel investors, and venture capitalists to accelerate funding.

States included: Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Tennessee, with alternating cities and states each month.

During each event, innovators would pitch their ideas to the group, with the end goal of finding potential business partners, funding, and teams of contractors to assist with ideation and/or implementation. Through elevator pitches, role plays, design thinking, and a democratic process, we’d help prepare teams and ideas for pitching to angel investors for venture capital funding. Each team would use a shared intellectual property model when pitching any finalized ideas to investors. The focus was on refining ideas while networking with others in a supportive environment where entrepreneurs could potentially find the connections and knowledge needed to ensure success.

Why Brains, Brands & Bourbon?

If the American Midwest region were a country, The New York Times reports that it “would be fourth-largest by gross domestic product and include nearly half the U.S. population.” Despite the Midwest’s astonishing size and GDP, however, only 5% of America’s venture capital funding goes to businesses and ideas in this region. Brains, Brands & Bourbon brings the Silicon Valley model of innovation to the American heartland. 

Our main emphasis is on networking rather than the idea itself. Our events are timed, with rapid-fire pitches followed by Q&A sessions. We’re very team-oriented and democratic, with a focus on helping you network with potential business partners who will share your intellectual property while expediting your path to success.

Our Mission & Values:

  • ENABLE rather than limit entrepreneurial growth in Middle America
  • SOLIDIFY ideas that are scalable, repeatable, and could potentially qualify for funding
  • BUILD successful partnerships, teams, connectors & networks
  • ENCOURAGE multiple ideas per person
  • STIMULATE innovative ideas to solve real-world problems
  • COLLABORATE to build community through democratic, team-oriented idea management 
  • AMPLIFY diverse, underestimated individuals so they can succeed in entrepreneurship

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