WICHITA — NXTUS, a nonprofit working to connect startup founders with community resources, capital and customers, on Tuesday announced a top-level leadership change while celebrating milestones in the rollout of its work to help innovators and entrepreneurs grow “companies of significance” in Kansas.
Mary Beth Jarvis, who joined Wichita-based NXTUS as executive director in August 2019, becomes president and CEO in March. She succeeds Josh Oeding, who remains on the NXTUS board of directors.
Since Oeding took the helm in July 2018, the organization has expanded the number of entrepreneurs served annually from 30 to nearly 400, helped mobilize more than $6 million in growth capital for startups in the region, and secured funding support from the private sector, leading regional foundations, and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
NXTUS also has increasingly drawn Kansas City startups to its programming and NXSTAGE accelerators, including the now-exited Bellwethr, as well as a range of companies from SoulFIRE Health and Kadogo to InnovaPrep and More Than A Meal.
Most recently, Kansas City-based Clara Biotech, Grad Cap Remix, Poshed On The Go and Dexer were accepted into the NXTSTAGE Customer Traction Cohort.
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“Under Josh’s leadership, NXTUS honed its focus, developed excellent programs and grew tremendously in its ability to secure assets,” said Erik Pedersen, board chair for NXTUS and president and COO for NetWork Kansas. “All of us on the board are excited for Mary Beth and the team to continue helping Kansas succeed in today’s innovation economy by giving growth-minded entrepreneurs the support they need.”
Oeding, who also is general partner at Wichita-based Tenzing Capital — a venture fund he founded in 2021 that has since gone on to invest in such locally known startups as Novel Capital and WorkTorch — called leading NXTUS a highlight of his career.
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“I’m thankful for the support and collaboration we received from many within the community and proud of the significant milestones achieved. The work to support our innovators is never done, and I’m excited to keep doing that as I scale Tenzing Capital and continue my work with NXTUS as a board member.”
The organization’s ongoing work comes at a pivotal time for startups across the state, said Jarvis.
“The NXTUS team and I are ready to keep expanding our impact on entrepreneurs’ journeys and helping Kansas design a ‘next us’ that enables our people and our economy to thrive,” she said.
In addition to the leadership transition, NXTUS recently welcomed new board members, Abel Frederic, vice president of community impact with United Way of the Plains; John Messman, principal partner of the Messman Group; and Tonya Witherspoon, associate vice president of industry engagement and applied learning at Wichita State University.
Click here to read more about the organization’s impact in its NXTUS 2022 Annual Report.