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WICHITA — A member of the inaugural Pipeline Pathfinder cohort is already fueling his entrepreneurial journey with a tank-full of news: acceptance into the just-launched NXTSTAGE Customer Traction accelerator and a soon-to-launch crowdfunding campaign.
Designed for founders who are in the thick of their product-market fit, the eight-week program is intended to help startups like Wichita-based Soya boost customer acquisition, identify scalable solutions, and accelerate revenue. It includes both in-person workshops and intensive 1:1 coaching.
“I expect to gain the necessary knowledge to expand, market, and run Soya the way it needs to be run at this stage,” said Jake Calhoun, founder and CEO of Soya, an on-demand fuel service. “Adding my own personal effort with the skills I gain from this cohort, I expect to guarantee the early success that is needed for a startup to prosper successfully.”
Click here to learn more about Calhoun’s recent selection for Pipeline Pathfinder, as well as the other members of the cohort.
The NXTSTAGE Customer Traction cohort — a program of Wichita-based NXTUS — includes 10 regional startups with tech-enabled solutions that include improving health care collaboration and market transparency, vehicle services for consumers and businesses, elevating the leadership of women, and more, organizers said.
- 2U Auto (Jocelyn Powell), Wichita — A mobile detailing company that specializes in traveling to wherever a car is parked to detail it inside and out, on a one-time or recurring basis. 2U Auto also specializes in detailing fleets. No access to water or electricity needed.
- Cognition Med (Sanjay Khicha), Wenatchee, Washington — The developer of Coltrain, the first mobile medical collaboration platform designed by providers for providers. It’s a free, simple, and HIPAA-secure application unifying providers to deliver patient centric care — in real-time. Coltrain is neither telemedicine nor linked to the electronic medical record.
- EZLater (Faith Tucker), Wichita — A consumer app that painlessly manages the repayment of buy now pay later loans, putting customers in control so they can enjoy their purchases without fear of hurting their credit score or incurring extra fees.
- Fair Market Health (Dean Jargo), Wichita — An online healthcare marketplace where providers offer transparent, all inclusive services and patients (primarily through employers) can shop for quality, cash-priced healthcare services.
- RetentionEngine (Mat Moody), Wamego — Offers no-code cancel flow for retaining customers and subscribers. The application handles customer cancel requests with artificial intelligence and learns what is going wrong for your customers, then resolves issues with personalized interventions, resulting in improved outcomes for your bottom line.
- Soya (Jake Calhoun), Wichita — An on-demand fuel delivery service that delivers to consumers and company fleets. If you’re at home, work, or running errands, Soya will deliver fuel to you.
- The Thread (Audra Dinell), Wichita — Aims to fill the void of a pattern of leadership gaps in Wichita for women who’ve been held back by a lack of confidence and connection.
- Unified (Ramsey Jamoul), Wichita — Works to create real unity that empowers the gaming community from youth to pro, and to unleash unique shared experiences for player and fan alike.
- Virtual Goals Assistant Agency (Taishma Council), Wichita — Hires, trains and sub-contracts virtual assistants to small serviced-based businesses to help streamline their operations and increase productivity.
- Zeep & Co (Ashley Dewey), Wichita — Creates happiness through scents; for people looking for results they can actually feel and smell. Zeep & Co makes premium quality body care and home fragrance with high quality ingredients, at affordable prices.
Click here to learn more about the accelerator.
Calhoun’s journey began about a year ago when he started working on the app that powers the Soya fuel delivery service. He was quiet about the startup’s development until its MVP was closer to completion — formally launching Soya in October 2021.
“As with most startups, things went slow the first couple of months, but in the last month or so things have started to pick up,” Calhoun said. “Programs like Pipeline and this NXTUS accelerator are not only helping me get significant publicity, but are also helping the momentum of Soya by informing others of what Soya is and helping me gain the knowledge I need to market Soya the best way possible.”
The next step: a crowdfunding campaign to raise further awareness — and the funding needed to take Soya to the next level, he said.
“Things like the safety of Soya trucks, Alexa and Google Voice adaptations, OBDll sensors that will make consumers never even have to think about getting fuel again, fast charging stations for electric vehicles and much more will be explained in this crowdfunding profile,” Calhoun said. “When this profile is made public, people will be able to get to know Soya, see the future plans of Soya, and if they believe in Soya, they will have the opportunity to invest. I am extremely excited to let people know what I expect Soya to be for them in the not-so-distant future.”
Click here to learn more about Soya now, before the crowdfunding campaign debuts.
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.