Persistence frequently pays off, said James West, reacting to his selection for Pipeline’s latest fellowship. The Lawrence biotech founder applied to join the elite entrepreneur network off and on since 2011 — and is now among 13 new fellows.
“To finally get accepted is recognition of the work and progress I’ve made in the last few years,” said West, co-founder of Clara Biotech. “[We] had a lot of wins in 2021, including simply surviving, completing our seed funding round, growing our team and preparing for our upcoming product launch as well as being named one of the world’s top biotools innovators. To get into Pipeline has been a dream of mine for years and I’m super proud and excited to be starting on this journey.”
West’s ongoing interest in Pipeline is rooted in its connected network, he said.
“Being an entrepreneur is hard and being able to join this community is a lifelong commitment not to just my current company, but to building and being part of a community that creates value and drives change,” West said.
Click here to read more about Pipeline’s efforts to develop the region’s next great serial entrepreneur through its 2022 fellowship and Pathfinder cohort selections.
Joining the Pipeline community for 2022, fellows include:
- David Biga, Particle Space (Lenexa) — Creating the proptech infrastructure for the internet through plug-n-play API services.
- Nick Buchanan, BUCS Analytics (Kansas City) — Real time analysis of key financial, operational and market metrics coming from multiple data sources such as ERP, CRM, MRP, Payroll and Project Management.
- Terri Foudray, ConvIOT (Overland Park) — Improves productivity by leveraging factory floor data for real-time, prescriptive action (formerly RUMBLE IoT).
- Jannae Gammage, The Market Base (Overland Park) — Helps entrepreneurs, product creators, and small businesses achieve more with unlimited expert marketing support at one flat monthly rate.
- Mark Goetz, HomeCare Advocacy Network (Omaha, Nebraska) — Delivers senior care services in the areas of companionship, personal care and dementia related services along with home health and hospice support services.
- Claude Harris, College Coaching Network (Kansas City) — Provides college planning and scholarship services with the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
- Philip Hickman, PlaBook (Lee’s Summit) — Innovative reading technology that uses artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and speech recognition to help children learn to read.
- Joshua Lewis, Updown Nightlife (Kansas City) — Monetizes consumer data and behavior by matching the right people with the right brands at the right time in order to increase consumer spending in a fun user friendly way.
- Jessica Loseke, Midwest Barrel Company (Lincoln, Nebraska) — Premier barrel broker for domestic and international client partners, guaranteeing the finest quality fresh-dumped, once-used bourbon and wine barrels with fast, personalized service.
- Carlanda McKinney, Bodify (Overland Park) — Addresses one of the apparel industry’s most costly conundrums; profit shrinking returns from online orders.
- Jeff Stull, RiskAnalytics (Overland Park) — Protects businesses and individuals by producing real-time authoritative and trustworthy threat intelligence — and then weaponizing it.
- Jeffrey Weiner, Realquantum (Overland Park) — Helps commercial real estate valuation professionals eliminate tedious manual work and boost revenues 50 percent.
- James West, Clara Biotech (Lawrence) — Developing the Exosome Sorting System, while focused on establishing strategic partnerships for development in diagnostic and therapeutic applications, equipment manufacturing, antibody sourcing, distribution, sales and marketing.
New fellow David Biga, Particle Space, was among founders selected for Startland News’ Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2022 and Jannae Gammage, The Market Base, was named to the Startups to Watch in 2021 list.
Click here to read about The Market Base’s newly announced exit.
Carlanda McKinney looks forward to the meaningful resources she’ll expects to amass for her startup, Bodify, through the course of Pipeline’s year-long fellowship, she said.
“As a Pipeline Fellow, I hope to gain insights, guidance, tips, tricks and all manner of advice and insider info that I may not otherwise be privy to without access to this curriculum and network,” McKinney said. “This is definitely going to be pivotal for Bodify and I am so excited about being part of this cohort!”
“The fact that I and Bodify have been chosen for the fellowship this year speaks to the fact that we’re building a breakout company and people are taking notice,” she continued. “It’s further validation that we are on the right track and there are big things ahead.”
Click here to read more about Bodify’s momentum in 2021, including McKinney’s selection for a Tulsa-based accelerator.
Pipeline’s offerings provide a unique opportunity in Kansas City, said Melissa Vincent, executive director of Pipeline, noting the recent departure of other established resources makes their work perhaps more important than ever.
And that’s a boon for entrepreneurs selected for the program, she added, who benefit from Pipeline’s agnostic approach and focus on mentoring through networking with peers.
“We’re also unique in that we don’t take equity in our founders. We’re not focused only on companies that are looking for investments, whether that’s angels or VCs,” Vincent said. “We’re able to take someone like Jeff Weiner at Realquantum, who’s like ‘I want to bootstrap this the whole way!’ to a person who knows they’re planning to grow their business with a Series A, Series B, then try to exit. We cater to their individual growth strategy.”
For Weiner, joining Pipeline was a chance to both gain insight to successfully lead Realquantum through its current rapid scale, as well as fully support his fellow cohort members in their own success, the startup’s co-founder said.
Like West and McKinney, he saw his selection for Pipeline as a sign of momentum and hard work paying off.
“Starting a company is so full of uncertainty,” Weiner said. “I hope the judges saw we have a solid idea gaining traction — and that I turned a group of talented people into a team that can succeed.”
Up next for Pipeline: the return of its hotly anticipated Innovators Gala. Largely on hiatus because of the ongoing pandemic, the event is set for April 29 in-person in Kansas City.
Two years’ worth of entrepreneurs are set to be honored with Pipeline announcing Innovator of the Year Awards for its 2020 and 2021 fellowships, Vincent said.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.