top of page
1674682203104 - Raechele Smalls.jpeg

Meet Raechele Smalls

Director, Launch Blue Ventures

 

 

“Helping entrepreneurs navigate challenges, secure funding, and achieve milestones is something I still wake up fired up about every single day."

  • LinkedIn

Q & A

Q1: What is your background and what are you doing now?

A1: "I have a diverse background in venture capital and ecosystem building with over a decade of experience in supporting visionary founders located in overlooked geographies! Currently, I am the Director of Launch Blue Ventures, where I lead initiatives to increase startup capital for early stage Kentucky startups and foster a vibrant ecosystem of talent, resources, and capital networks."

Q2: What inspired you to become an investor?

A2: "My journey into venture was inspired by a deep-seated passion for helping others succeed, particularly those who are often overlooked. I’ve always been driven by the desire to unlock potential and create value. Seeing the transformative impact that capital access can have on fueling startups and the economy more broadly, ignited my passion for venture capital. It's incredibly rewarding to play a small part of a founder's journey and help them turn their vision into reality."

 

Q3: What has been the most rewarding part of investing in startups?

A3: "The most rewarding part has to be witnessing the growth and success of the founders and startups I've supported over the years. It's thrilling to see an idea evolve into a thriving business. Helping entrepreneurs navigate challenges, secure funding, and achieve milestones is something that I still wake up fired up about every single day. And every success story reaffirms my belief in the power of entrepreneurship, innovation, and high impact."

 

Q4: What community resources do you like to new investors or to the founders you invest in?

A4: ​

"Startup building is 100% a PEOPLE-driven business! This means your network is one of the most invaluable assets you have as a founder and as an investor! -- and you'll need to intentionally build this network both locally and abroad to ensure success along your high growth journey! With that in mind -- I would highly recommend founders and new investors tap into local accelerators and incubators, like Launch Blue, which offer invaluable programming, mentorship and value-added connections. Additionally, organizations like KY Innovation, Commerce Lex, Keyhorse Capital / KSTC, Bluegrass Angels, Awesome Inc. and soon Invest Blue, provide fantastic support through access to talent, capital, and value-added connections. Lastly, networking groups and founder communities, such as StartupLex, SBDC, the various KY Innovation hubs across the Commonwealth and others, are also great for building connections and gaining insights from experienced professionals in the ecosystem."

 

Q5: If you could share one piece of advice to another person considering becoming an investor, what would it be?

A5: "My biggest piece of advice is to approach investing with a mindset of collaboration and support. It's not just about providing capital; it's about having a founder-first approach and always looking for ways to add value beyond the financial investment. Building strong relationships and understanding the unique needs and challenges of each startup will ultimately lead to more successful outcomes. And most importantly, believe in the potential of the founders and their vision—your support can make all the difference."

bottom of page