Accelerate Venture Partners powering regional growth, recovery by backing promising young companies.
Wichita, Kan. — As it works to spur regional growth by mobilizing capital to invest and mentor high-potential young companies, Accelerate Venture Partners today announced it completed three investments in April totaling $750,000 in Heartland startups driving innovation and creating value across diverse industries.
Accelerate Venture Partners, formed just a year and a half ago, is flourishing in its mission to expand the region’s angel investor base and provide startups with capital and organizational support. The group’s 2019-2020 investments – totaling $2.3 million in seven companies – make it one of the nation’s fastest-growing angel investor groups.
"Great companies can be built in tough economic times, and the founders we are backing are showing their true grit as they do the hard work of bringing new technologies to market and growing their commercial adoption,” said Josh Oeding, Accelerate Venture Partners’ Founder and Managing Member, who is also President and CEO of NXTUS, Inc.
“It’s a testament to these future-minded investors and our regional syndicate partners that we have been able to close these investments and maintain our momentum, and even grow stronger, in these uncertain times,” said Oeding.
In 2019, Accelerate Venture Partners invested in four exciting startups, based in Lawrence, Overland Park, Wamego and Wichita, Kansas. The group’s most recent investments are in Kansas-, Missouri- and Oklahoma-based technology companies serving diverse global industries:
Transportant’s Smart Bus technology and service suite is a breakthrough, improving safety and modernizing student transportation knowledge systems. Wifi-equipped buses make students’ commute time more productive. Drivers receive turn-by-turn instructions and a readout of students as they get on and off. Mobile app MyBusHopper, similar to Uber’s service, sends updates and alerts to parents and students. School administrators can watch a live map of routes and the bus interior via live video.
“We close an information gap that is hindering the advancement of student safety and security,” said John Styers, co-founder and CEO of the company, based in Leawood, Kan. “By collecting, sharing and measuring the right data, we make the school bus experience safer and smoother for students, parents, school administrators and drivers.” Transportant is working with districts nationwide, including local districts, such as Circle and Maize. During COVID-related closures, schools are using the smart buses as wifi hotspots to serve students with limited access to the Internet.
InnovaPrep, based near Kansas City, Mo., is a biomonitoring technology company on the front lines of community pathogen tracking, food production and other vital processes. Since 2009, it has developed a suite of instruments to enable faster, easier and better detection of microorganisms to help people and animals live safer, healthier lives.
The company has 35 awarded and pending patents for innovations across a wide range of industries. For example, Beverage Tech magazine, in its May 2020 edition, named InnovaPrep as a Top Ten Solutions Provider for the Beverage Industry for its quality control tools for brewers. Tuesday, InnovaPrep was chosen by Black & Veatch from among hundreds of applicants to participate in the BV IgniteX accelerator focused on real-time solutions to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak.
"The ability to use the rapid technology that's available now is kind of our secret weapon in this fight with pathogens like the coronavirus,” said David Alburty, CEO and co-founder. “From a pandemic protection standpoint, this is our first chance to help." InnovaPrep has sent monitoring kits globally – for use where people concentrate, such as in hospitals, airports or schools – and is working with communities to track outbreaks via wastewater and other testing.
Ten-Nine Tech, led by CEO, founder and inventor Paige Johnson, has developed and patented battery chemistry to extend the battery life of the devices and equipment people rely on most. Johnson describes the company’s mission as “changing the world from the nanoscale up by thinking differently about the electroactive materials that power it.”
“Batteries are a foundational technology of modern life but have not kept pace with other innovations in sustainable energy and advanced electronics,” said Johnson. “New materials and new approaches are needed to power the electric future, and Ten-Nine is proud and excited to be a part of that.”
AVP’s investment in Ten-Nine Tech was part of a $5 million Series A investment round that will enable the company to expand its R&D lab and offices and begin operations at its first manufacturing plant.
NXTUS, Inc. is an entrepreneurship support organization based in Wichita, Kan. NXTUS helps entrepreneurs launch and grow highly scalable businesses and connects the business community with the innovation that startups provide. NXTUS supports the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and fuels growth with purposeful connections; action-orientated programs, such as the NXTSTAGE Pilot Competition; and initiatives, including Accelerate Venture Partners, that provide access to capital.
Founded in late 2018, Accelerate Venture Partners is a network of accredited investors, family offices, and venture funds committed to investing in high-growth seed and early-stage technology companies. AVP welcomes outreach from interested potential investors and investment-ready startups from around the Heartland. Working collaboratively with other angel investors, venture capital firms and corporate venture groups, AVP is helping fuel the growth of innovative new businesses in the region. AVP is a member of the Angel Capital Association, North America's professional alliance of angel groups.