We are thrilled to announce Matt Thornton, Principal of Thornton Capital, Founder of L3 Capital, and former President and CEO of Thornton’s, as our new Board Chair. Matt will be following in the footsteps of outgoing Board Chair Brook Smith, who fostered many new relationships and partnerships for Endeavor while serving in the position from 2018-2020. 

Matt brings with him many years of entrepreneurial experience, having seeded prime urban retail and mixed-use real estate investment firm, L3 Capital, in 2009, which targets institutional quality real estate investments within first tier US markets. He later established and currently leads his family investment firm, Thornton Capital, with concentrations in real estate, public securities, private equity and venture capital. Matt formerly served as President and CEO of Thornton’s, a 200-unit convenience store chain in the Midwest and Southeast from 2001-2019.

“Matt is the perfect person to now serve as Endeavor’s Board Chair,” Endeavor Managing Director Jackson Andrews said. “We plan to take Endeavor to even greater heights and couldn’t be more bullish on the entrepreneurial activity across our region.”

In addition to his business ventures, Matt is also a proud recipient of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award and a Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame laureate. He also serves as the Chairman of the Greater Louisville Inc. Foundation and as a trustee of Bellarmine University.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to serve as the next Board Chair and to build upon the great organization we know today,” Matt said. “Backed by the leadership of our current board and the passion of our current entrepreneurs, I look forward to helping continue the growth that Brook has been so instrumental in fostering thus far.”

While we look forward to what’s to come with Matt leading as Board Chair, we are grateful for the incredible influence Brook Smith has had on our region over the past three years in the role.  

“Brook’s leadership as Board Chair has fostered so many achievements,” Andrews said. “During his tenure we expanded regionally like never before supporting entrepreneurs across Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. With Brook at the helm, our office also launched our Scale Up program in partnership with EY to support and on-ramp earlier stage companies to become Endeavor Global ready. Now in our third year of Scale Up, we see the quality of companies getting better and better.”

Brook also helped our office and entrepreneurs navigate all that 2020 presented, while achieving one of the organization’s most impactful years. This includes the announcement of AppHarvest‘s IPO at a billion dollar valuation, marking the first ever Unicorn and/or IPO for Endeavor in the U.S. Though he may be stepping away from the Chair role, we will still value Brook’s presence as he continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.

“The past few years have been mind blowing,” Smith said. “To see first hand as a Board Member and Board Chair the entrepreneurial ecosystem Endeavor is cultivating within Louisville, regionally, is not only unique, it’s game changing. To serve entrepreneurs through Endeavor has been an honor. With Matt Thornton as our new board chair, the best is yet to come.”

Learn more about our board members here.