Meet a Member: Jace Thomas

June 10, 2021Members, News

Meet a Member: Jace Thomas

Meet Jace Thomas: CEO and Co-Founder of Hiperion

Jace is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hiperion, a software development and prototyping agency based in the Midwest. Hiperion specializes in long-term technical partnerships and provides custom software, mobile app, and cloud application development as well as big data software analytics, and iOT development and creation. The Hiperion team is currently self-producing a few really exciting projects and are competing in Elon Musk’s XPrize Carbon Removal Contest. No big deal, just a Springfield startup competing for a small $100 million prize! 

Jace launched Hiperion in mid 2020 as a chatbot marketing software company. It wasn’t long after that when he connected with Seth Kitchen, a fellow entrepreneur and Founder of Collaboarator, after seeing some of the cool projects Seth was involved in. Jace made the easy decision to work with Seth and together the two have grown Hiperion at a rapid rate. 

Interested in working with the Hiperion team on your next project? Schedule your free consultation today to get started!

What do you love most about what you do?

  I love owning small portions of exciting tech startups and the possibility of massive growth!

What problem do you help people solve?

Hiperion helps businesses bring their concept to life and works as a technical partner to promote the scale and growth of your company. 

Jay Wasson supports efactory expansion

June 4, 2021News

Jay Wasson supports efactory expansion

The public service veteran has made a gift to support the efactory

The efactory at Missouri State University has another supporter in former Missouri lawmaker Jay Wasson.

He has made a naming-level gift to support the efactory’s expansion project.

The Jay Wasson Idea Loft

The physical space made possible by Wasson’s gift has been named the Jay Wasson Idea Loft. Located on the recently renovated third floor of the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center, the university dedicated it June 8.

The previously vacant space underwent major renovation work during the last 18 months. It has been transformed into a modern training and flexible use space.

The Jay Wasson Idea Loft has more than 4,000 square feet of training space, including one large room and three breakout rooms. A new staircase and elevator were also added to allow for access from the center’s first and second floors.

This additional space can host a mix of in-person, hybrid and virtual training programs for business owners and leaders throughout the region. It will also be available for use by members of the efactory’s corporate partner program and available to rent to community members.

Brent Dunn, Missouri State University Foundation executive director, said the efactory has expanded its physical footprint inside the center thanks to Wasson’s contribution.

“The Jay Wasson Idea Loft allows for increased training opportunities and activities focused on fostering innovation, advancing entrepreneurship and growing businesses in southwest Missouri,” Dunn added.

About Wasson

Born in Springfield, Missouri, Wasson has dedicated his life to public service in the Ozarks. Wasson, who grew up in Nixa, Missouri, graduated from Nixa Public High School prior to attending Drury University.

His first foray into public service came in 1997 when he ran for Nixa mayor. He won and served as mayor until 2002.

Wasson went on to represent southwest Missouri at the statewide level, winning the first of four consecutive terms to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2002. He represented Missouri 141st District in the House of Representatives until 2010.

After four terms in the House of Representatives, Wasson went on to serve in the Missouri Senate. He served as a Missouri senator representing the state’s 20th District from 2010 through 2018.

Wasson has been deeply engaged in volunteer leadership roles throughout the region, including service on MSU’s Board of Governors. He received the Government Excellence Award from MSU in 2018 for his service to the state of Missouri.

Leadership Springfield Offers Exclusive New Benefits to efactory Members

June 3, 2021News

Leadership Springfield Offers Exclusive New Benefit to efactory Members

The leadership program will help entrepreneurs build community connections

Leadership Springfield's Access Class Helps Entrepreneurs Connect to the Community

The efactory member perks program has grown again! Leadership Springfield is offering an exciting new opportunity for efactory members to participate in their Access Class program at a reduced rate. The program is a great tool for rapid community connection and business development.

This two-day community leadership program is designed to get entrepreneurs, business leaders and those new to the area quickly connected to the community. It’s a crash course immersion into the community and highlights speakers and industries in a variety of areas.

Class content includes behind the scenes access, special guest speakers, panel discussions and networking opportunities to boost business development and community connections. In addition, class participants receive contact information for all speakers from the two-day experience, as well as a 1-year alumni membership to Leadership Springfield, offering connection to three decades of fellow local area alumni from a wide range of local industries and organizations.

Access Class programs are scheduled to take place in June 2021, October 2021 and March 2022.  Classes coming up in June 2021, October 2021 and March 2022. Learn more about upcoming Access Class program dates

Additional Perks

The new Leadership Springfield discount is one of several benefits available to efactory client companies. Companies are also eligible for savings from Google, Amazon Web Services, HubSpot, and more.

Meet Swipesum

May 3, 2021Members, News

Meet Swipesum

The software-enabled service finds any business the best payments solution at the best rate.

Meet Swipesum

Consumers use non-cash payment methods for three in four transactions, according to the 2019 Federal Reserve Payments Study, meaning accepting and processing credit card payments is essential for today’s businesses. While it’s a critical part of today’s business landscape, the fees associated with accepting card payments are U.S. business owners’ second-greatest operating expense behind labor, representing a $70 billion burden annually. Payments are complicated, making it difficult for businesses to find the best fit for their business, not to mention the headache and time that comes with negotiating terms.

In 2016 Michael Seaman saw a broken system and an opportunity. The payments space, with its legacy merchant acquisition strategies, convoluted contracts, and complex patchwork of providers was leaving merchants frustrated. The research required of a business owner to find the best solution for their business could take months, and merchants never had the upper hand in negotiations. 

This $900B industry was ripe for innovation, so Seaman put together a team of experts and set out to build a technology solution capable of filling the role of a Chief Payments Officer at any company. The result is Swipesum – a network of experts who source the best payments solutions for businesses and help pre-negotiate the most favorable terms for free.

“We focused on building a frictionless platform that connects businesses with a network of providers, enabling the business to source ideal partners and have the upper hand in negotiations,” said Swipesum CEO and Co-Founder Michael Seaman. “After building the core technology, the advantages of working with a software assisted payments consultant to navigate the complexities of contracts and integrations began to be recognized. In 2020 Swipesum consulted over $7B in credit card processing revenue, focusing on integrated software vendors, enterprise, e-commerce, multi-locations retailers and nonprofits, and we continue to grow.”

Michael Seaman
Swipesum CEO & Co-Founder

The company is showing no signs of slowing down. By late 2021, Swipesum is on track to save companies $100 million and they’re rolling out exciting new product offerings to make life even easier for their customers. 

Schedule your free consultation today to get answers to questions you have about payments, providers, your current setup, and cost-reduction. After the consultation you’ll receive a proposal outlining the best solutions for your unique business, and help eliminate most fees associated with accepting payments.

Staitment - The Secret Sauce

The secret sauce behind Swipesum’s consultation platform is their AI-powered statement reading technology, known as Staitment. This software can be licensed to banks, processing companies, point-of-sale dealers, and anyone that analyses processing statements to create cost-comparison sales proposals.

Between Staitment’s revolutionary statement reading capabilities and Swipesum’s team of payments consultants, the company can quickly and efficiently identify unnecessary fees and rates for customers.

About Swipesum

Founded in 2016, Swipesum is a software-enabled service that finds any business the best payments solution at the best rate, at no cost to them. By eliminating most fees associated with accepting payments or turning them into a lucrative revenue stream, Swipesum becomes any business’ “fractional Chief Payments Officer.”

To date Swipesum has raised more than $2.1M and serves regional clients including Amini’s, Plumbers Supply, Napa Auto and Tire, Ford Hotel Supply, Golf Discount, Old Hickory Country Club, Saint Louis Bank, and hundreds more nationally. The Swipesum team is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with additional offices at Codefi in Cape Girardeau and at the efactory in Springfield.

Backing Entrepreneurs, Transforming Companies & Accelerating Growth

April 21, 2021News

Backing Entrepreneurs, Transforming Companies & Accelerating Growth

Cohort 5 Applications Open May 1 – 31

Cohort 5 is Coming – And It’ll be Better than Ever

We know entrepreneurship, innovation and thinking big will be what moves our community forward. We’re proud to do our part to support the dreamers and doers who will lead the way, and we’re excited to announce that the efactory’s accelerator program will be back in action this summer! 

The efactory accelerator gives startups the edge they need to reach the next level, helping companies shave years off their roadmap to customers and profitability. How do we do it? We connect founders, experts, corporate partners, and communities to rapidly grow and transform companies. 

The competitive, application-based program provides founders with a capital investment in addition to unmatched resources and world-class support. We’ve made exciting program changes to make Cohort 5 the very best yet.  

For the first time ever, the specialized programming and support provided to accelerator companies will be accessible across a variety of formats. We know founders are busy, and our program has been completely redesigned with accessibility and flexibility in mind. We’ve worked hand in hand with our team at the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University to revamp programming and support that will be delivered in on-demand, in-person, and virtual formats, so founders can stay focused on growing their business. 

“The efactory accelerator is a critical piece of our region’s efforts to support entrepreneurs and early-stage startups. The strategic changes and investments we’ve made over the last year will allow us to deploy resources and support to selected companies in ways we’ve never been able to before. On-demand content blended with in-person and virtual activity will truly be a game changer for the companies selected to participate in Cohort 5,” said Rachel Anderson, Director of the efactory.

About the Accelerator

We back extraordinary entrepreneurs because we believe in the power of dreamers and doers to create a better future for all. Cohort 4 blew us away at Demo Day in 2019, and we know Cohort 5 will do the same this year.  

Applications for Cohort 5 will be open May 1  May 31, 2021. The program will begin on July 19, 2021 and run through the end of the year. Companies selected to participate in Cohort 5 will each receive a $30,000 investment in exchange for eight percent equity. All participating companies gain access to a dedicated business consultant with the Missouri SBDC at MSU, a lead mentor, industry introductions, specialized programming, founder peer groups and roundtables, legal and accounting assistance, our full mentor network and more. 

The efactory accelerator program was launched in 2017. Initial investors in the seed capital fund include Missouri State University Foundation, the Missouri Technology Corporation, Rural Missouri Inc., and the Springfield Business Development Corporation. BancorpSouth, Central Bank, Great Southern Bank, U.S. Bank, and Wood & Huston Bank each made additional investments in the seed capital fund in 2019. 

Compatio Launches SmartBuilder eCommerce Solution

April 13, 2021Members, News

Compatio Launches SmartBuilder eCommerce Solution

The startup has announced the release of its SmartBuilder technology just in time for the 2021 Bicycle Leadership Conference (BLC).

Making eCommerce Smarter

Compatio, founded to transform the way people shop for complex products online, is excited to announce the release of its SmartBuilder technology just in time for the 2021 Bicycle Leadership Conference (BLC). SmartBuilder is designed to accommodate any type of consumer specialty product and is immediately deployable for certain categories of outdoor gear such as bicycling and fly fishing. Focused SmartBuilder applications targeted specifically for the cycling industry are also available out of the box, including Bike Builder, Drivetrain Builder and Bike Accessorizer.

The SmartBuilder tool includes a variety of features that cater to consumers’ needs when shopping online, and discovering and pairing complex outdoor equipment.

Retailers and DTC manufacturers, as well as consumers, are more satisfied with an eCommerce site that utilizes Compatio’s SmartBuilder technology,” said Tim Baynes, CEO and Founder of Compatio.

“SmartBuilder allows consumers to discover and build a technically valid and complete custom solution with products from the retailer’s catalogue. It gives the consumer confidence that they’re purchasing the correct products or parts for their outdoor equipment setup, while ensuring that retailers and manufacturers are satisfying their customers’ needs and minimizing the risk of incompatible products being returned.”

Compatio CEO & Founder Tim Baynes at efactory Demo Day, 2019

SmartBuilder can be integrated into any open eCommerce platform. Key features include:

SmartBuilder for the Bicycle Industry

Bicycle retailers that use Compatio’s SmartBuilder technology on their eCommerce website will be able to offer their online customers the personalized experience they’ve come to expect in-store. Similar to personalizing a car on an automaker’s website, SmartBuilder’s recommendations will help consumers discover how to set up their bike and configure it properly for who they are and how they ride. Customers receive expert recommendations at the point of sale, and achieve a deeper attachment to cycling since they’ll have a better understanding of how to extract best value from their investment.

About Compatio

Based in Springfield, Missouri, Compatio is building the world’s first Knowledge-Based Commerce platform, and the only digital commerce platform engineered specifically to sell complete solutions and not just products. Tim Baynes, Compatio’s Founder and CEO, is globally recognized for his expertise in product configuration, a.k.a. CPQ or configure-price-quote systems. He has designed, implemented and led project teams for these systems at Fortune 100 companies worldwide. Compatio is an efactory accelerator portfolio company and a private office client.

City of Springfield Hosts Virtual Open House for Renew Jordan Creek

April 9, 2021News

City of Springfield to Host Virtual Open House for Renew Jordan Creek

It's Time to Revitalize Jordan Creek!

It’s time to revitalize Jordan Creek in downtown Springfield – and the City of Springfield wants to hear your feedback!

What’s the story behind this project?

In the late 1990s, the Springfield community came together to form a collective vision for a community gathering place – Jordan Valley Park. This vision that was cast nearly 30 years ago still rings true today. So much so that in 2020, City Council identified the concept of Quality of Place as a priority for the community, and the Renew Jordan Creek project demonstrates this ideal.

This is a planning and design process that will focus heavily on public engagement through June 2021. Before the ultimate design for the project is determined, the community will be asked to share their thoughts and ideas for this important project to make sure it reflects local desires.

With the community vision cast by early summer 2021, then design for the project will begin. This phase of the project involves significant modifications to existing floodplain and floodway areas along Jordan Creek and may entail daylighting portions of Jordan Creek currently confined within the concrete box culverts (daylighting refers to the restoration of a stream back to a more natural state).

The Renew Jordan Creek project is only one part of a big picture planning effort and other large-scale improvements in the downtown area, largely focused on water quality improvement and flood reduction.

Get Involved

Citizens are encouraged to participate in a virtual open house to provide their feedback. Take a few minutes nowto learn more and share your thoughts about the future of Jordan Creek!

StepNpull Lands Six-Figure Deal On Shark Tank

April 6, 2021Members, News

Innovative Product for Hands-Free Door Opening Lands Six-Figure Deal On “Shark Tank”

A bidding war broke out over StepNpull on Friday’s airing of “Shark Tank” on ABC 

StepNpull Lands Six-Figure Deal

StepNpull, the Springfield Missouri-based manufacturer of market-leading foot-operated door openers, landed a deal with businessman, author, and television personality Kevin O’Leary aka “Mr. Wonderful” on Friday’s episode of ABC’s hit reality show, “Shark Tank.” 

Mike Sewell entered the “Shark Tank” on behalf of his two business partners Ron Ely and Kelly Coddington, seeking $300,000 for a 3% stake in the company. 

The episode opened with Sewell’s pitch, a gross, eye-opening, and humorous depiction of someone not washing their hands after using the urinal in the men’s restroom. Sewell demonstrated how the StepNpull device allows people to open doors with their feet to avoid touching public door handles with their hands. 

“Every entrepreneur’s dream is watching the Sharks start a bidding war,” said a “Shark Tank” social media post featuring StepNpull negotiations from Friday’s episode. Potential investors Lori Greiner, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary were all quick to “bite” on the StepNpull idea. Each Shark kept lowering their equity in a race for a deal. 

Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec were the first two Sharks to drop out of the negotiations, but not after complimenting Sewell and the StepNpull team for living the “American and inventor’s dream.” 

Securing Investment from the Sharks

O’Leary started off the bidding by offering $300,000 for a 10% stake in the company. John quickly countered O’Leary’s offer promising a reduction in manufacturing costs and $300,000 for 12% of the company. 

Greiner made the next offer of $300,000 for a 5% stake, plus a royalty of $0.50 until $500,000 was paid. The royalty would then drop to $0.20 in perpetuity. Her vision included getting StepNpull into all big-box retailers and an infomercial strategy to sell them as a “consumer product.” Other Sharks and Sewell were not sold on the strategy, as the large majority of sales are business-to-business. 

John followed up with a second offer, reducing his equity from 12% to 8%. StepNpull’s Sewell countered John to drop his equity to 6% which was quickly refused. After the counter-offer to John, Greiner dropped out of the negotiations. 

In an effort to maintain equity, Sewell countered once again for John to revise his offer to 7%, which was interrupted by O’Leary, who quickly suggested he would be interested in 7% for a $300,000 investment in the company. After the offer, John still refused to budge, citing the value he knew he would bring to the table for the company. 

To put more pressure on John, O’Leary once again lowered his equity in the offer, this time to 6% for a $300,000 investment in StepNpull. Cuban chimed in and kept telling Sewell to “stick to his guns” and maybe even “walk away” from a deal to continue to run the business successfully as his business has for the last 13 years. 

After careful thought, Sewell accepted the $300,000 for 6% equity in the company from O’Leary.

“We are beyond excited to partner with Kevin O’Leary and his team, we have believed in our vision for over 13 years and we think the decision to work with Mr. Wonderful will help us take StepNpull to the next level,” said StepNpull Co-Founder and CEO Mike Sewell. 

StepNpull appeared Friday, April 2nd on ABC’s “SharkTank,” a critically acclaimed, multi-Emmy® Award-winning reality show that gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to secure business deals. Entrepreneurs pitch their companies and ideas to a group of Sharks, described by ABC as “tough, self-made, multimillionaire and billionaire tycoons,” in the hope of convincing one or more of the investors to give them the funding they need to turn their dreams into million-dollar realities. 

About StepNpull

StepNpull is the creator, designer, and manufacturer of the world’s leading hands-free foot door opener. The company’s patented, ADA-compliant foot-operated device mounts on any commercial latch-less wood or metal door, giving users the option of pulling the door open with their foot instead of the door handle. The StepNpull device was created as a way to minimize the spread of germs through constant touching of door handles in high-traffic locations. 

StepNpull was founded in 2007 by Mike Sewell, Ron Ely and Kelly Coddington, who previously worked together in the telecommunications industry. The company is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri and has manufacturing facilities and distribution partnerships around the world. StepNpull is a former efactory incubator client.

Read more about StepNpull’s important work to reduce the spread of germs in response to COVID-19.