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PREMIUM ACCESS: AgButler founder Kevin Johansen discusses plans to roll out a premium platform that allows people to buy subscriptions for the service.
McKenzie Robinson | SBJ
PREMIUM ACCESS: AgButler founder Kevin Johansen discusses plans to roll out a premium platform that allows people to buy subscriptions for the service.

Efactory’s business accelerator cohort concludes with Demo Day

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At the Efactory’s Demo Day, officials with AgButler Inc. and Vendux LLC credited their past four months in the business accelerator cohort with helping them grow the user base for their services.

The startup founders on Nov. 12 joined MiddleCoast Solutions LLC, which is launching its cloud-based software by next summer, for the culminating event of the accelerator’s fifth cohort.

A fourth member of the cohort, Tipper Mobile LLC, did not participate in Demo Day. Organizers said it was a mutual decision between startup founder Jahbarie Jefferson and the accelerator board.

Each startup in the Efactory program received $30,000 in seed money in exchange for 8% equity in their companies, along with mentorship, networking, office space and additional funding opportunities.

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.”

Johansen noted his company secured a couple of local industry partnerships over the past couple of months. AgButler promoted itself this fall through marketing channels of Stockton-based Hammons Products Co. to connect landowners seeking to source harvesters of black walnuts. Additionally, he said AgButler provided digital advertising and shared social media posts for Lockwood-based S&H Farm Supply Inc. on its platform.

Aside from new connections, Johansen announced the launch of an ambassador program for college and university agriculture departments, including Missouri State University, to get students to spread word of the app. He said top performers will be awarded a $500 scholarship to go toward tuition for the spring 2022 semester. Additionally, an AgButler premium platform is rolling out soon, which allows people to buy a subscription to the service and have preferred status in job listings.

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

“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.”

Vendux’s revenue has doubled during its time in the cohort, he said, as several new partnerships were forged. Those include Denver-based executive recruiting firm TriSearch and Maitland, Florida-based LHH, which rebranded last year from Lee Hecht Harrison. LHH is a company focused on career transition, coaching and leadership development. Schwinum said Vendux helps TriSearch with interim executives while the firm finds permanent staff for its clients, and LHH is a source for growing his company’s executive roster.

“We’ll end the year in a very solid six digits from a revenue perspective,” he said, declining to disclose figures.

Launch plan
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 begin.

“Although we’re starting locally, we’re planning globally,” Lamphear said, noting MiddleCoast plans to initially focus on the health care and higher education industries in the United States and Canada upon HeroHub’s launch.

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.

As for the other cohort company, Tipper Mobile, Jefferson said at an August Efactory event introducing the cohort, 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.

Efactory Assistant Director Paige Oxendine declined to elaborate after the event on the absence of Tipper Mobile from Demo Day. Jefferson didn’t respond to messages seeking comment by press time.

“The accelerator equity purchase agreement remains in effect,” she said via email.

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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