We served 193 startups from Kansas, as well as connected startups from 21 other states and 4 countries to resources and growth opportunities in Kansas.
2022 Annual Report
connected with community assets.
mobilized to help early-stage ventures succeed.
engaged with business and community customer prospects.
Helping startups thrive is rubber-meets-road economic development, vital to economic vibrancy for Kansas & expanded opportunity for all.” Josh Oeding, President and CEO, NXTUS
Entrepreneurs and innovators continually face obstacles in the pursuit of building their businesses and thereby improving society.
Numerous challenges existed in 2022’s fiscal, economic, and geopolitical environments. At NXTUS, we faced a key question, “How best to help entrepreneurs build companies of significance right now?” As you’ll see in this annual overview, we and the growth-minded founders we served stepped up and made fantastic progress, despite volatile market conditions.
We & the growth-minded founders we served stepped up & made fantastic progress, despite volatile market conditions.
Within the innovation economy, this volatility hit early-stage companies squarely, as sales to enterprises moved slower and growth financing got harder. Undaunted by this, entrepreneurs in your community kept building. It helped that Heartland startups are accustomed to doing exactly what you must do in a cautious market—get to “default alive” and keep bringing real innovation and value to customers.
Alongside our region’s courageous entrepreneurs, the team at NXTUS kept building too. We launched two new programs, expanded existing programs, and served more than 400 entrepreneurs and innovators.
I’m proud of the work of the NXTUS team and the entrepreneurs we serve, and especially thankful for our supporters and partners.
The work of helping startups thrive is rubber-meets-road economic development, vital to economic vibrancy for Kansas and expanded opportunity for all. The work is never done, but 2022 was a reminder that through all economic conditions, entrepreneurs build, and their communities should support them on that journey.
“The NXTUS team has had our back in so many ways. It’s powerful to be supported by their ‘can help, will help’ approach.”Alan Fairless, Co-Founder & CTO, Transportant
Transportant is a Lenexa-based ed-tech startup focused on ensuring safe and efficient school bus transportation through their all-in-one student tracking and monitoring system.
NXTUS’ angel investment group, Accelerate Venture Partners, invested in Transportant initially in 2020 and has since invested three additional times, as Transportant continued to hone their technology offerings and worked to overcome COVID-19 disruptions in school-district purchasing and supply chains.
Martin Staples, Transportant CEO, said, “NXTUS has been a true partner to Transportant in every sense of the word. They not only provided us with capital to help us get off the ground, but they have also offered valuable guidance and support at every step of the way. Their belief in Transportant's vision and commitment to our success has been unwavering, and we are extremely grateful to have them on our team.”
NXTUS’ priority is the entrepreneur.
We know each needs three things.
NXTUS connects innovators and growth-minded entrepreneurs with a supportive community to power their growth and success.
Working one on one and through organized programs, we help founders find peer support and tap into mentorship and the diverse resources they may need.
We do this work alongside regional partners, such as NetWork Kansas, Create Campaign, Groover Labs and Wichita State University, among others. And we integrate our efforts with volunteer-led ecosystem efforts, such as Wichita Startup Week and Startup Grind.
”Collaborations are vital for us to reach & support diverse founders & improve equity of opportunity for those with the courage to build companies.”Mary Beth Jarvis, NXTUS Executive Director
From NXTUS Partners
”Attending the NXTUS event during Wichita Start Up Week and seeing so many startups engaged was inspiring. Each company showcased had great innovation behind it, and the unique training as part of the Enterprise Engagement Series set them up to succeed.”
“Alongside the WBDC & other support organizations, NXTUS is helping the region’s startups grow into thriving businesses.”Jennifer Brundgardt, Associate Director, Certification Programs & Services, Women Business Development Center, Overland Park, Kansas
The work that NXTUS does for entrepreneurs has never been more important.”
“It's never been more important for entrepreneurs to be connected to mentors, resources, and a community that can accelerate their ability to execute on their growth strategies. NXTUS fills this known gap by providing a wealth of programs, knowledge, and experience. We see this play out every day in our work with NXTUS locally and across the state.”
Building Community Around Entrepreneurs
One of the 395 early-stage companies connected to community resources by NXTUS in 2022 was More than a Meal, a social enterprise that helps people and companies strengthen relationships with meal kits delivered to the door of employees, clients and friends in need. The More than a Meal team experienced first-hand NXTUS’s dedication to supporting growth-minded entrepreneurs, even beyond just tech companies.
“Since our first introduction to NXTUS, the staff was incredibly inviting & quick to offer introductions & community connections that could help our business.”Mitch Case, Founder, More than a Meal, Kansas City
NXTUS helps provide risk capital for entrepreneurs and educates investors about high growth opportunities.
Risk capital is the lifeblood for launching and growing high-impact companies.
NXTUS looks to increase the amount of risk capital mobilized for entrepreneurs by growing and educating a diverse group of capital providers. NXTUS provides resources and knowledge to entrepreneurs on how to appropriately fund their business and facilitates these interactions through an angel investment syndicate, Accelerate Venture Partners.
Members of AVP are qualified investors that choose to mentor and invest in early-stage, high growth companies in Wichita and the Midwest.
500+ total attendees
at 14 capital education sessions
with 75% to companies led by traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs
“We’ve kept expanding the breadth of companies & investors we’re able to support, & the ways we can help them.”Quinn Robertson, AVP Senior Associate
The angel investment group saw phenomenal growth in 2022 and eclipsed $6 million in capital mobilized since its inception in late 2018.
AVP saw its first investment returns and showcased regional startups that represented excellent-quality investment opportunities. With all portfolio companies remaining operational through COVID and volatile 2022 capital markets, AVP has excellent momentum going into 2023.
AVP By the Numbers
54 AVP Members
24 new AVP Members added in 2022, and first 6 Observer Members learning about angel investing
500+ opportunities evaluated
27 presented to the group
in 12 deals, including 7 in Kansas and 2 in Wichita
Jim West, an entrepreneur based in Kansas City, is an AVP portfolio company who is propelling medical breakthroughs for patients with their biological sampling technology.
“NXTUS understands the difficulty of the entrepreneurial family and are always asking me how they can help.
“They have one of the most exciting angel groups in Kansas, & maybe the Midwest. I have & will continue to refer top-performing entrepreneurs to them, because these guys add money & value.”Jim West, Founder and CEO, Shawnee, Kansas-based Clara Biotech
“AVP offers the opportunity for connection between all parts of the ecosystem that support startups.”John Messman, AVP member
By allowing investors to make their own decisions through an LLC, AVP makes it possible for John and others to give back to the community and help make entrepreneurs in Wichita successful.
“We were looking for ways to support & help grow our hometown, & AVP gives us that chance.”Alexandra Marriotti, Co-Owner, Il Primo Espresso Caffe
Alexandra Marriotti, co-owner of Il Primo Espresso Caffe and 2022 AVP Member, said she and her husband joined AVP for four reasons:
- To diversify their investments
- To fuel the passion of creative entrepreneurs and problem-solvers
- For the invigorating networking, and
- To give back to the community that has supported her family’s businesses.
We help startups grow more quickly by matching them with Kansas businesses and communities that are ideal early customers.
In 2022, NXTUS doubled its NXTSTAGE Startup Programs, which serve early-stage companies looking to grow revenue and thrive in Kansas.
Two pilot competitions that offer Kansas organizations early access to curated groups of startups offering ground-breaking solutions in their fields continued, plus two new programs began serving growth-minded Kansas entrepreneurs looking to advance their customer-acquisition journeys.
NXTSTAGE by the numbers
for NXTSTAGE Startup Programs
connected with customer prospects
50 cohort members
across four programs
NXTSTAGE Pilot Competitions are open to startups around the nation and the world that have technologies able to add immediate value to Kansas businesses and communities.
These programs help Kansas to grow as a proving ground for promising technologies and speed the pace of innovation in the region.
76% of pilot competition applicants had minority and/or female founders
100% of the final cohort members who visited Kansas and met with prospective customers and pilot partners had ethnic minority or female leaders.
Community Health & Vibrancy
Community Health & Vibrancy Pilot Competition, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, matched leading startups with Kansas communities looking for innovative solutions to their toughest community health and growth challenges.
After evaluating 119 competitors from 28 states and six countries, NXTUS brought 12 promising startup teams to Kansas, and forward-thinking communities around the state embarked on 21 pilot projects aimed at improving access to mental health and addiction treatment, enhancing services for seniors aging in place, and providing systems to help local micro-businesses thrive.
“Rural communities often must address big needs, such as scarce childcare & mental health services, on their own. To be able to tackle these by partnering & engaging startups is a big benefit.”Travis Rickford, Executive Director, LiveWell Northwest Kansas
The Financial Technology Pilot Competition connected Kansas banks with technology solutions to help them thrive in this age of online competition and digital transformation. From among 97 competitors from 27 states and 13 countries, two pilot project winners emerged, aimed at helping our bank partners modernize identity verification and implement advanced digital banking offerings.
New in 2022
Customer Traction Cohort
In 2022, NXTUS launched the inaugural Customer Traction Cohort, a hyper-customized accelerator program helping Kansas founders with product in market and scalable companies to focus on product-market fit, test sales strategies, and accelerate revenue growth.
10 early-stage Kansas companies
80% of the participating startups have ethnic minority and/or female founders
“Through my coaching & FLEX experiments, I understand my customer personas & their pain points more now than I ever did before.”Jocelyn Powell, Founder, 2uAuto, Wichita, KS
“I’m about to make more money in profit this month than I did the entire 6 months prior, & the majority of my recent success can be attributed to all the help I got in the Cohort!”Jake Calhoun, Founder, SOYA, Wichita, KS
Enterprise Engagement Series
In 2022, NXTUS launched the NXTSTAGE Enterprise Engagement Series to bridge the knowledge and access gaps between early-stage companies and established enterprises.
The program aims to drive innovation, accelerate startup growth, and promote supplier diversity in the region. In year one, 11 Enterprise Partners collaborated successfully with 20 growth-minded cohort members, representing NXTUS’ commitment to serving diverse entrepreneurs throughout the state of Kansas.
75% Minority or female founders participating
10% Veteran founders
89 Net Promoter Score
Through their participation in the Enterprise Engagement Series, Cody & Britini Spencer, Co-Founders of Nomad Laser Cleaning, went from cold calling to making meaningful enterprise connections, fully understanding enterprises' buying behaviors and processes, and significantly shortening their sales cycle with these prospects.
“The matchmaking process that NXTUS provided was incredible. What would have taken us years to get to organically, allowed us to jump right ahead.”Cody & Britini Spencer, Co-Founders, Nomad Laser Cleaning
In 2022, these NXTUS partners helped unlock a future of growth and prosperity for Kansas by powering our efforts to support entrepreneurs and strengthen the startup ecosystem to boost the region’s participation in the innovation economy.