Editor’s note: Startland selected 12 Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2019’s companies. Click here to view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch.
Bellwethr’s elevator pitch: Software firm using artificial intelligence and machine learning to eliminate the need for technical expertise in web development and the inevitable site adjustments that have to be made to tailor to customers.
Fresh out of the Techstars 2018 accelerator program, Bellwethr puts usually “restrictive” concepts like machine learning into the hands of the people who need it, said Matt Moody.
Founders: Matt Moody, Darron Jamison
Founding year: 2016
Amount raised to date: $120,000
Noteworthy investors: Not disclosed
Programs completed: Techstars Kansas City
Current employee count: 4
“[Machine learning] is another one of those things that it’s important for it to be in a lot more people’s hands and the tools right now are just way too complex — I just don’t think that’s necessary,” said Moody. “At the same time that we’re building a business, I think we also see it as really valuable if we can put this into more people’s hands. Then this becomes a lot more meaningful than just making sales.”
The platform reduces thousands of dollars spent on outsourcing site analyses and AI usage upkeep to data scientists and machine learning experts, he said. Instead, the user experience boils down to a single line of code.
With the leadership team consisting of Moody as the engineering mind and co-founder Daron Jamison providing the financial and operations side, participating in Techstars helped the team better reframe the firm’s messaging, Moody added, noting the pair spoke too technically to resonate with the chosen customer base at first.
“Since going into Techstars, we’ve doubled our monthly recurring revenue to roughly $50,000 and we are increasing that by at least 10 percent month over month,” said Moody.
Click here to read more about the Techstars 2018 cohort.
Two acquisitions from previous ventures gave rise to a lack of a desire for a “quick cash-out,” he added.
“Within reason,” Moody laughed. “I’d like to think I’m reasonable, but I think we’re trying to build something bigger. If this was the first instance of this, I can see the inclination to be like, ‘Yeah! I want to go through an acquisition — that’s success!’ But I think we’re building something significant, something that lasts longer.”
To that end, forming an engineering team to support the business development side is among the most important next steps for Bellwethr, he added.
“Going from a really small team, adding [more expertise], and having more resources — I think that’s gonna help us with rolling out some of the product features and fine tuning some things,” he added.