A remixed Pipeline Innovators gala honored veteran and emerging fellows from within the elite startup founder network Friday — returning the full live celebration to a stage in Kansas City for the first time since 2018 and crowning two new Innovator of the Year recipients.
Marking the first Innovators gala for Pipeline executive director Melissa Vincent, the event incorporated classic awards from the entrepreneurship fellowship, as well as a new recognition to honor the life and legacy of the late Mike Bosch, founder of RG Fiber and a longtime Pipeline Entrepreneur. Bosch passed away April 1, about a week after his company exited.
All but one of the major honors were awarded to Kansas City entrepreneurs.
Set at the Abbott in Kansas City’s East Crossroads, the 2022 Innovators provided space to honor an Innovator of the Year from both the 2020 and 2021 classes — neither of which had a formal gala because of the pandemic — along with the public presentation of the classes of 2022 Pipeline fellows and Pipeline Pathfinder founders.
Click here to read more about the 2022 Pipeline fellows, which were announced in January.
Participants in Pipeline Pathfinder — developed in 2021 as an entryway into the elite fellowship for often-overlooked founders who have not yet made the jump to full-time work with their startups — joined the fellowship’s members and guests Friday for the packed event.
Click here to see who joined the first class of Pipeline Pathfinder.
Awards and awardees from the evening included:
Innovator of the Year (2020) — A.J. Mellott, Ronawk
Innovator of the Year (2021) — Parker Graham, Finotta
The Pipeline Innovator of the Year award is based on three components — performance during the Pipeline year, scores from their retooled business plans post Pipeline impact and presentations given during the Innovators daytime competition event.
Best Pitch Award — Clarence Tan, Boddle Learning
The Pipeline Innovator of the Year award is based on three components—performance during the Pipeline year, scores from their retooled business plans post Pipeline impact and presentations given during the Innovators daytime competition event.
Member Growth Award — Beth Handrigan, Lean Media
Pipeline Members continue to work with the Pipeline organization, and each other, as they grow and scale their businesses. This award recognizes a Pipeline Member for a particularly strong demonstration of growth, be it revenue, capital raised, creation of high-salaried jobs, new ventures or innovation.
Member Inspiration Award — Maria Flynn, Ambiologix
Pipeline is about the many entrepreneurs within it — both working hard to individually succeed in building a high impact company, while simultaneously aspiring to help each other and Pipeline as we strive to be more successful and supportive as a group. This award recognizes outstanding contributions by a Pipeline Member to the organization and the many peers within it.
Mike Bosch Entrepreneurial Resilience Award — Jason Tatge, Farmobile
The Pipeline Resilience Award is our newest award and is awarded to an entrepreneur who exemplifies what it means to be an entrepreneur through and through. To show resilience and strength against all odds and continue to keep building and give back to the community and the membership.
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.