St. Louis entrepreneur Michelle Faits was dubbed Pipeline Entrepreneurs’ Innovator of the Year at last night’s culminating event, The Innovators.
Faits is the founder of Pro-Arc Diagnostics — a medical startup that is developing a next-generation laboratory test for patients at risk of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) which is caused by the John Cunningham Virus. The JC virus is responsible for thousands of deaths each year.
Founded in 2006, Pipeline is a fellowship program cultivating a network of high-growth entrepreneurs in the Midwest, including those from Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. The Innovator of the Year was presented at its annual gala, the Innovators, which this year celebrated Pipeline’s 10th anniversary and recognized its 2016 fellowship class.
“I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate our past decade, and launch our next, than recognizing the outstanding growth and contributions of our own entrepreneurs,” said Pipeline CEO Joni Cobb in a release. “This day and night has always been my favorite way to express the tremendous gratitude we all feel for our many partners who have helped us reach this amazing decade milestone.”
The Innovator of the Year award was decided by three components: presentations made during the Innovators daytime competition, the firm’s business plan and a cumulative score of the performance at each Pipeline module.
In addition to the Innovator of the Year award, Pipeline awarded three other entrepreneurs — all of which are from Kansas City. Founder of Silvergate Pharmaceuticals Michael Beckloff was awarded the entrepreneurial leadership award. SoftVu founder Tim Donnelly with Member Inspiration Award. EyeVerify co-founder Toby Rush and ProPharma Group founder Jeff Hargroves shared the Member Growth award.
Sarah Mirth, Pipeline class of 2016, was recognized as having the best pitch after fellows presented their firm’s earlier in the day at the Alamo Drafthouse. Mirth is the founder of St. Louis-based ARTIFOX which offers customers minimalist, functional furniture designs.
At the event, Pipeline also announced its 2017 fellowship class:
- Iyad Aldalooj, Fairshop, Omaha
- Jared Bakewell, Proseeds, Omaha
- Austin Barone, Just Play Sports Solutions, Kansas City
- Dan Curran, PowerPost, St. Louis
- Joe Fischer, Greetabl, St. Louis
- Beth Handrigan, Lean Media, St. Louis
- Evan Luxon, Esculon, Omaha
- Jennifer Rosenblatt, MusicSpoke, Kansas City
- Roy Scott, H3 Enterprise, Kansas City
- Lei Shi, UAVradars, Lawrence
- Derek Weber, goBRANDgo!, St. Louis
- Elisha Yaghmai, Vigilas Telehealth, Wichita