Evan Luxon (center), founder and CEO of Esculon, received Pipeline's Innovator of the Year Award on Thursday in Kansas City. | Courtesy of Pipeline

Entrepreneur program Pipeline announces awards, new class at annual bash



Pipeline, the Kansas City-based organization that runs a fellowship program for Midwestern entrepreneurs, announced its 2018 class and annual awards at its Innovators gala on Thursday.

The new class includes 13 startup executives from Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska:

  • Andrew Barnell, Geneoscopy (St. Louis)
  • Johnna Beckham, BOOST Apparel Group (St. Louis)
  • Trevor Crotts, Buddy Brands (Wichita, Kansas)
  • Glen Dakan, Prestio (Kansas City)
  • Dennis Doerfl, Fourstarzz Media (Lincoln, Nebraska)
  • Will Edwards, MetKnow (St. Louis)
  • Colin Nabity, LeverageRx (Omaha, Nebraska)
  • Robin Rath, Pixel Press Technology (St. Louis)
  • BryanSapot, SensrTrx (St. Louis)
  • Ben Schultz, LaborChart (Kansas City)
  • Ali Schwanke, Simple Strat (Lincoln)
  • Matt Sellers, Rack Performance (Kansas City)
  • Linda Van Horn, iShare Medical (Kansas City)

The entrepreneurs, chosen through a months-long application process, will participate in one-year training program that involves intensive quarterly modules. They will also have access to Pipeline’s national network of mentors, partners and past participants.

Also Thursday, Pipeline announced the winners of four awards:

  • Evan Luxon, CEO of Esculon, a medical device startup based in Omaha, received the Innovator of The Year Award, recognizing performance during the yearlong program, quality of his business plan and presentations given during Thursday’s event
  • Pipeline’s Nebraska sponsors — the University of Nebraska, Linseed Capital, Prairie Ventures and Nelnet — received the Entrepreneurial Leadership award, recognizing “outstanding contributions to entrepreneurship and the Pipeline efforts to build a vibrant Midwest.”
  • Alfred Botchway, CEO of Kansas City-based Xenometrics, and Paul Jarrett, CEO of Lincoln-based Bulu Box, shared the Pipeline Entrepreneur Growth Award, recognizing “revenue, creation of high-salaried jobs, and new innovations last year.”
  • Kim Gandy, CEO of Kansas City-based Play-It Health, received the Pipeline Entrepreneur Inspiration Award, recognizing “outstanding contribution by a Pipeline Member to the organization and the many peers within it.”

“We are all so incredibly proud of the continued growth and leadership of our Pipeline entrepreneurs and partners,” Joni Cobb, Pipeline’s president and CEO, said in a release. “We hope that these entrepreneurs and leaders — and our night celebrating their work — inspires new generations of entrepreneurs, investors and advocates to continue our entrepreneurial growth in the Midwest.”

The 2017 class marked the 11th to graduate the Pipeline program.

In October, the organization announced that the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation was extending its support of Pipeline with a matching grant worth up to almost $2.1 million over four years.

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