An application for Pipeline’s 2019 fellowship class isn’t just about next year, said Joni Cobb — it’s an opportunity for a lifetime of support from the organization’s network of developing and top-tier entrepreneurs.
“Pipeline is available for life for each entrepreneur who successfully completes the fellowship year,” said Cobb, president and CEO of Pipeline, in a press release. “The ongoing support has helped many entrepreneurs navigate growth challenges years down the road.”
And that’s just one of the elements that shines a spotlight on the novel approach taken by the fellowship program — which is accepting 2019 applications Saturday through Oct. 22, she said. Click here for more information about applying.
“Pipeline is unique in that it does not require equity stake in the companies of its entrepreneurs,” Cobb added, noting that through the program, fellows invest in their own professional development, and also give generously of their time, talent and capital to enable them to build global businesses from wherever they choose.
Pipeline now boasts more than 120 entrepreneurs who employ over 2,300 people in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska and have raised more than $513 million in outside capital since joining the fellowship, Cobb said.
Kansas City firms like Farmobile and ShotTracker — both led by Pipeline entrepreneurs — were among some of the most high-performing businesses on Startland’s recent list of 2018 Top Venture Capital-Backed Companies. Click here to see the full list.
Such success is no accident, according to founders like Tim Donnelly, whose KC-based Software-as-a-Service marketing automation platform, SoftVu, was acquired earlier this summer.
Donnelly, a member of the fellowship’s charter class in 2007, credited Pipeline not only with providing structure for his entrepreneurial growth, but also vital, real-time human support and expertise. Both helped him survive a critical juncture in an economic downturn that could have meant the end for SoftVu, he said in July.
“If it wasn’t for Pipeline, I wouldn’t be here,” Donnelly said, reflecting on the company’s exit.
The founder was among key Pipeline family members on hand in January at The Innovators gala when the Pipeline introduced the 2018 fellowship class, which includes Kansas City entrepreneurs Glen Dakan, founder and CEO of online automotive retailer Prestio; Matt Sellers, co-founder and CEO of the fitness software firm Rack Performance; and former LaunchKC winners Ben Schultz, founder and CEO of the construction scheduling SaaS platform LaborChart, and Linda Van Horn, president and CEO of the medical records platform iShare Medical.
Van Horn and another Kansas City Pipeline entrepreneur — Jeff Rohr, CEO of SquareOffs — are expected to be featured Oct. 3 at 1 Million Cups as part of a special three-city pitch event at 1MC gatherings in Kansas City, Wichita and Lincoln, Nebraska, Cobb said.
“1MC is an amazing program that allows reach into so many communities — including Kansas City, of course!” she said. “It is great fun to rally our entrepreneurs on one day across the region to focus on the Pipeline fellowship opportunity, while also keeping current on the pulse of the startup community.”
“We have met so many from these events who are building compelling companies and are ready to invest in their own professional growth as founders,” Cobb added. “It inspires us for the future of Pipeline — and for the future of our entire region.”
The fellowship also plans to wrap up its application season with a “Tailend Tailgate” party Oct. 18 at SoftVu’s headquarters in Kansas City. Click here for details about the event.
Pipeline’s 2019 fellowship class is set to be announced Jan. 25 at the next The Innovators gala, Cobb said.
To learn more about Pipeline, watch its Emmy-nominated “I Am Pipeline” short film below.