Four Companies Selected for Cohort 5 of the efactory Accelerator

July 7, 2021Members, News

Four Companies Selected for Accelerator Cohort 5

Meet the teams chosen for Cohort 5 of the efactory’s accelerator program

Meet the Companies: Cohort 5

The efactory is excited to welcome four great companies to Cohort 5 of the accelerator program. As part of the program each company will receive capital investment along with specialized support and curated programming to equip them with the resources needed to disrupt the status quo and build thriving businesses.

Make plans to hear from the teams at Meet the Founders: Cohort 5 on August 3.

AgButler

AgButler is a gig economy platform that serves as a solution to a rural labor shortage in America. The app provides on-demand jobs giving farmers and ranchers access to a high-quality labor force while boosting rural economies. Similar to “ride sharing” technology, AgButler allows farmers, ranchers and/or agribusinesses to connect with available laborers filtered by location, ratings, work experience and availability, all done within a secure payment structure organized in the app.

AgButler is available for download through the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Connect with AgButler and founder Kevin Johansen.

MiddleCoast Solutions

MiddleCoast Solutions’ goal is to design, produce and distribute web-based applications for correctional environments, with a specific focus on public safety. Owners Nic and Ali Lamphear, as well as their perpetual employee of the month Dusty Klinger, have over 40 years of experience in software design and development. What really sets this company apart is that all three team members also have backgrounds in law enforcement. This makes MiddleCoast Solutions uniquely positioned to tackle corrections and public safety issues using modern technology.

Get in touch with the MiddleCoast Solutions team and connect with founders Ali Lamphear and Nic Lamphear.

Tipper Mobile

Tipper Mobile aims to liberate content monetization on social media. Many content creators have a large enough following to earn money via Tipper, but not enough to monetize through traditional social media sponsorships and partnerships. Tipper allows users to support their favorite creators. 

Connect with Tipper Mobile and founder Jahbarie Jefferson.

Vendux

Vendux is a matchmaker placing seasoned sales executives from the nation’s largest, pre-vetted community into companies facing growth challenges and having a sales leadership void. We disrupt by offering start-ups, scale-ups, and SMB’s an alternative to the measures traditionally taken to address challenges in sales: executive recruiting, training, consulting. If finding a skilled, experienced sales leader is a top priority, it is the ideal time to contract an interim executive: They are available within a few days, they have extensive experience in building and growing sales teams, and they can be fractional or part-time, and you only pay for what you need.

Connect with Vendux and founder Henning Schwinum.

Meet a Member: Scott Harned

June 21, 2021Members, News

Meet Scott Harned: CEO and Founder of Harvest

Scott Harned is Founder and CEO of Harvest, an Amazon Brand Builder agency that helps brands launch and grow on the Amazon platform using creative strategies, paid advertising, and proven analytics. Harvest features a host of services such as account management, optimization, photography, and advertising that help scale and grow your business on Amazon. 

Scott is a natural entrepreneur who began flipping and selling products out of his apartment during his time in college. Scott learned how to sell anything from shoes to electronics on the Amazon platform. Those experiences allowed him to learn what it takes to grow a brand and be successful in selling on Amazon. He slowly began to offer his services in and around the Springfield area, and it took off from there. In 2019, Scott was able to move from working full-time in ministry to focusing 100% of his efforts on growing his business, Harvest! Moving full time to building his company was a big leap, and Scott noted that it was only possible with his gracious wife by his side.

Curious about growing your brand and selling on Amazon? Schedule your free consultation to get answers to questions you have about Amazon!

What problem do you help people solve?

We help brands navigate the depths of the Amazon platform. We offer proven strategies to develop brands that customers trust!

What do you love most about what you do?

I love being able to create meaningful relationships with my clients and to create a positive client experience. What gets my juices flowing is when we are scaling a brand on Amazon that leads to creating an additional revenue source for that brand which, in turn, produces more jobs while having a greater impact through product reach!  

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. 

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.

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.

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.

CloudPano Announces Partnership with Realtor.com

April 6, 2021Members, News

CloudPano Announces Partnership with Realtor.com

The immersive virtual tour application will allow home buyers to experience a home without having to step foot inside.

CloudPano Announces Partnership with Realtor.com

CloudPano is excited to announce that the virtual tour application has directly integrated with realtor.com, launching an exciting partnership to provide additional 3D tour options for home shoppers. As part of this integration, real estate agents can now upload tours from CloudPano directly to listings on realtor.com.

Virtual home tours have been on the rise for several years now, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only emphasized the importance of this technology and accelerated its adoption. Virtual experiences are in demand among home buyers and sellers alike: buyers consistently prefer listings with immersive content like 3D tours, and sellers are looking for pros who know how to leverage virtual technology to get more eyes on and “inside” their home without having to physically open their doors to countless prospects.

“We are thrilled to integrate our virtual tour platform with Realtor.com. Realtor.com was a great partner to work with in developing the integration, and now anyone can get their property listed in 360 for free and with just a smartphone. CloudPano continues to grow our staff, our user base, and our partnerships at a rapid pace – ensuring that we will remain a dominant leader in 360. Exciting things ahead!”

Clayton Rothschild
Co-Founder, Leader of Product & Teams,
CloudPano

“Concerns around the pandemic certainly heightened the demand for 3D tours, as many home shoppers wanted to explore the home but didn’t feel comfortable visiting in person. However, they are more than just a COVID solution, they are now an important option for consumers during their home buying journey,” said Rachel Morley, Chief Product Officer, Realtor.com.

CloudPano also leverages smartphone cameras which enable quick scanning and cost less than solutions that require specialized equipment. By providing agents with low-cost, easy-to-use options, CloudPano will help realtor.com increase the accessibility and availability of 3D tours on the platform. And while the pandemic accelerated virtual tour adoption — at the peak of the lockdowns, listings with virtual tours received 17% more views per property — that momentum has continued. In December, listings with 3D tours on realtor.com were up 227% since the pandemic began in March.

About CloudPano

CloudPano is the industry leader in immersive tours – equipping sales professionals with the tools needed to effectively capture and share engaging virtual tours. The platform is utilized across a wide range of industries – including colleges offering tours to prospective students, RV dealerships giving shoppers a glimpse inside new models, and of course real estate pros looking to sell properties. 

The technology can be tailored for anything a business is selling, and the platform makes it easy for users to shoot and publish in just a few clicks. Users can create fully branded, 360 degree tours with no coding experience – and they can do it from their smartphone in five minutes or less.

Once each space is captured, users drag and drop images and set an initial view for each scene in one click. Tours can be customized with logos and branding, hotspots can be added to teleport between scenes, and the experience can be enhanced with soundscapes, customized floor plans and more. When it’s time to share to a website CloudPano makes publishing easy, using a code-based link that can be easily embedded into any website. The platform also supports live video and chat capabilities, so sales professionals can walk prospects through spaces, answer questions and more in real-time.

Today CloudPano has more than 70,000 tours on the platform and empowers more than 21,000 entrepreneurs, photographers and real estate brokers to create world-class virtual tours. With co-founders based at the efactory in Springfield, MO and in Houston, TX, CloudPano is the best software platform for publishing virtual tours.

StepNpull to be Featured on Shark Tank

March 23, 2021Members, News

StepNpull to be Featured on Shark Tank

StepNpull to be Featured on ABC's Shark Tank

StepNpull, the Springfield, Mo.-based manufacturer of market-leading foot operated door openers, will be featured on an upcoming episode of ABC’s hit reality show, “Shark Tank.” 

The episode featuring StepNpull is scheduled to air Friday, April 2, at 7 p.m. CST. “Shark Tank” airs nationwide on ABC. 

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to appear on ‘Shark Tank,’ which will help us introduce the StepNpull device to even more potential customers,” said StepNpull Co-Founder and CEO Mike Sewell. 

Sewell entered the “Shark Tank” to demonstrate how the StepNpull device can help people open doors with their foot to avoid touching public door handles with their hands. Sewell explained to the potential investors the history of the company and how the easy-to-install device has exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

StepNpull launched in 2007 by Sewell and two of his former co-workers, Ron Ely and Kelly Coddington. Sewell had the idea for the device after watching employees at the telecommunications firm where he worked open the bathroom door using paper towels to avoid touching the door handle. 

For the first several years, StepNpull was a side hustle the partners worked on in their free time. The company expanded with purchases from major corporations like Boeing, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Google, and Walmart. Lowe’s, Amazon and other retailers started selling the device. Next came international expansion with distribution partners established in The United Kingdom, Slovenia, Australia, Hong Kong, and South Africa. 

But the real growth for the company began about a year ago with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“From the moment the pandemic began, our phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” said Sewell. “Everybody is more concerned with stopping the spread of germs. The StepNpull hands-free door opener is one of the best ways to protect the public from spreading germs because people don’t have to touch the same door handles over and over again.” 

Since the pandemic began, the company’s patented device has gained national and international media coverage. Orders have flooded in from around the world. This required additional employees at its Springfield, Missouri headquarters as well as more international distributors and manufacturing capacity. 

StepNpull sought to partner with the “Sharks” to leverage their business knowledge and experience to help expand its operations globally and support the exploding demand for its product. 

“Shark Tank” is 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. 

StepNpull will appear on “Shark Tank” on Friday, April 2, at 8 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. CST) on ABC. 

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. The company is a former efactory incubator client.

For more information visit www.stepnpull.com, or for interviews, call Digital Marketing Manager Nick Simmonds at (618) 719-4472 or email nick@stepnpull.com. For online coverage, embed StepNpull videos or request additional images and videos from ABC at https://www.wdtvpress.com/.