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Business accelerator cohort wraps with Demo Day

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Two startups participating in the Efactory’s Nov. 12 Demo Day event shared the user growth they’ve experienced the past several months, while a third – MiddleCoast Solutions LLC – announced plans to roll out its cloud-based application by next summer.

Representatives of AgButler Inc. and Vendux LLC joined MiddleCoast Solutions as part of the culminating event of the Efactory’s business accelerator program. The companies, along with Tipper Mobile LLC, made up the fifth cohort of the program, which began in July. Tipper Mobile, led by founder Jahbarie Jefferson, was not a Demo Day participant.

“Tipper Mobile and the accelerator board mutually agreed that Tipper Mobile wouldn’t participate in Demo Day presentations,” Efactory Assistant Director Paige Oxendine said via email after the event, declining to elaborate. “The accelerator equity purchase agreement remains in effect.”

Each startup receives $30,000 in seed money in exchange for 8% equity in their companies. The program offers mentorship, networking, office space and additional funding opportunities.

Jefferson didn’t respond to messages seeking comment by deadline. At an August Efactory event introducing the cohort, Jefferson said his app helps content creators make money on social media. As an app extension, it allows users on Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and other platforms to press a tip button to transfer money to someone via their username. A beta version of the app for Android is still noted as “coming soon,” according to the company website.

At Demo Day, officials with both AgButler Inc. and Vendux LLC credited their past four months in the cohort with helping them grow the user base for their services. AgButler’s app, which is similar to a ride-hailing service and connects employers and laborers in the farming industry, has experienced steady growth since its 2020 launch, said founder Kevin Johansen.

“Our platform growth over the last 14 months, we have hit 42 states with our profile users,” he said. “We’ve increased our user profiles by 113% over the last 16 weeks. We have currently 1,665 active users on the platform.”

Vendux founder Henning Schwinum said his Kansas City-based company acts as a matchmaker between companies needing short-term sales leadership and executives available for such work.

“On the executive side, as of today, we’ve already succeeded in building the largest community of gig sales leaders – currently, over 280 executives,” he said. “Collectively, they cover every industry, every product type and every sales scenario.”

After the event, Schwinum said he’s added roughly 100 executives during his time in the cohort, praising the Efactory’s ability to introduce him to “a diversity of people and contacts I didn’t even know I needed.”

MiddleCoast Solutions creates web applications for correctional agencies, such as prisons, halfway houses or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency detention centers. Nic Lamphear, who co-founded the company in May with his wife, Ali, said at Demo Day his company plans to launch its app, HeroHub, in June 2022. HeroHub helps companies interface with the public in emergency situations, such as fires, earthquakes and shootings.

He said CoxHealth is on board as one of its partners. The health care provider is allowing the startup to pilot HeroHub for its network of satellite medical clinics. He declined to disclose financial terms of the deal or when it will be launched.

After the event, Lamphear said part of the work still ahead for the company is acquiring investments to bring the app to market. He estimates it will take roughly $400,000.

“We’re in negotiations and actively working toward that right now,” he said of raising money, declining to disclose investors or the total raised to date.

No details of the sixth cohort for the Efactory program were announced at Demo Day. Oxendine said post-event news for future cohorts will be shared in early 2022.

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