NXTUS’ innovation, talent initiative attracts global interest, forges on through pandemic.
July 30 — Wichita, Kan. — The NXTSTAGE Pilot Competition, NXTUS’ newest effort to support entrepreneurs and foster innovation, today announced 33 finalists spanning the three focus areas of its inaugural program: Financial Technology, Industry 4.0, and Community Health & Vibrancy.
During the first quarter of 2020, NXTSTAGE attracted 142 initial competitors — from six continents, 35 countries and 20 states — trying to get in front of prospective pilot partners and customers here.
“We are extremely encouraged by the traction NXTSTAGE has gained, despite the disruptions of the last few months,” said Josh Oeding, NXTUS President and CEO. “The value proposition is clearly resonating with startups, who are eager to collaborate with our local companies and organizations.” The inclusiveness of the competition pool was also encouraging; applicants had 50 percent non-white founders overall, and 20 percent of the startups had female founders; 15 percent, Black founders; and 15 percent, Hispanic founders.
“The program’s dual goals — to help promising young companies grow and to foster innovation in our existing businesses and community organizations — are exactly what our region must focus on to attract modern talent and build a brighter, more nimble future out of this current crisis,” said Oeding.
Because of its unique approach to attracting and retaining a tech-oriented workforce, overall development of NXTSTAGE was made possible by a $250,000 grant from the Talent Ecosystem Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation. For now, NXTSTAGE finalists are getting their introductions to Wichita virtually, through online meetings and video presentations. Plans call for bringing finalists to the area when travel and meeting restrictions don’t impede the startups’ ability to get to know the community better and meet face-to-face with decision makers and local innovation teams.
NXTSTAGE 2020’s 33 finalists, from four countries and 14 states, offer ready-to-use technologies deemed most promising to add value for local corporate and community partners looking to innovate. Not all NXTSTAGE tracks will proceed all the way to awarding pilots in 2020, given COVID-19-related disruptions experienced by local manufacturing and community partners.
The competition’s Financial Technology (FinTech) track has moved forward most quickly, as founding partners Emprise Bank, Fidelity Bank and INTRUST Bank aggressively implement new digital capabilities to benefit their businesses and customers. Competition officials expect to announce initial FinTech pilot winners in September and are planning a culminating event to introduce these finalists and their technology solutions to other regional banks and credit unions.
In the second quarter, total NXTSTAGE applicants grew to 263, spurred by a reopening of the competition’s Community Health & Vibrancy track on behalf of KMUW public radio. KMUW is seeking innovative tools to enable news and community engagement to reach the breadth of a community, including currently under-served people, via innovative personalized delivery systems. Two finalists, from Berlin, Germany, and Alpharetta, Ga., remain in competition for a pilot project with KMUW.
“For a first-year effort, launched at a time like this, to get this level of response and make this much progress is heartening,” said Mary Beth Jarvis, NXTUS Executive Director. “It certainly seems to affirm the tremendous potential for NXTSTAGE to drive our local innovation culture and help position us as the ‘Pilot Capital of the World,’ where young companies want to come and showcase their offerings.”
NXTSTAGE Pilot Competition 2020 Finalists:
FinTech (Financial Technology to help banks, credit unions, financial services firms add value for people and businesses):
- Bellwethr (Wamego, Kan.) is an AI software provider that helps banks grow customer lifetime value throughout each customer’s journey.
- Datanomers (Freehold, N.J.) was spun-off from IPsoft and builds on the Amelia AI – NLP platform to offer a Financial Risk Profiler that assesses commercial customers, a Customer Insight Manager to flag customers’ unresolved issues, and a Document Insight Profiler that mines contracts for actionable information.
- Destiny (Kansas City, Mo.) is a customer engagement platform that empowers banks and credit unions to grow revenue digitally with their current customers.
- FinGoal(Boulder, Colo.) builds AI-powered tools for financial institutions. Their flagship FinSightAPI identifies opportunities for consumer account holders to save money without sacrificing their lifestyle.
- Griffin (Overland Park, Kan.) makes banking personal. By giving community banks & credit unions a leg up in the 21st Century, Griffin Technologies improves client relationships, increases sales, and enables them to compete with large financial institutions.
- Home Lending Pal (Raleigh, N.C.) offers a groundbreaking Automated Mortgage Advisor that simulates requesting a mortgage from multiple lenders to determine approval odds and calculates affordability based on lifestyle. Merging online data from trusted sources to streamline pre-qualification and documentation, the platform simplifies the home-buying process with data-driven workflows, AI and blockchain technology.
- Realflow (New York City) is a Customer Experience Automation platform empowering contact center agents to deliver hyper-personalized and fast service to multiple customers simultaneously, aided by fully-integrated Artificial Intelligence and a Collaboration Platform that allows agents to send documents and forms for review and completion on mobile devices.
- RealityBLU (Beloit, Wisc. — also a finalist in Industry 4.0) is a SaaS solution thatdelivers augmented reality tools for marketers to improve their marketing performance and metrics. RealityBLU’s scalable platform eliminates the technical barrier to implement and measure AR content, allowing marketers to attract and delight more customers.
- Relativity6 (Cambridge, Mass.), founded at MIT, is a machine learning/AI platform enabling enterprises to accurately predict when their business and consumer customers are most likely to churn as well as the optimal action to retain them. Coupled with a cross-sell recommendation algorithm and easily integrated platform, Relativity6 is able to reduce monthly churn by 1% on average.
- SimBlox (Wichita, Kan.) is a digital fintech sales platform delivering repeat insurance and wealth sales at each user’s financial moment of truth. It offers an ecosystem of products distributed through traditional financial companies that creates a fully adaptive user experience, guiding users toward financial wellness.
- V2verify (Omaha, Neb.) offers a voice biometric technology that can eliminate the need for passwords, PINs, and challenge questions with 99%+ accuracy, while requiring just 2-seconds of speech. Our solution can improve security, enhance the user experience, and reduce operational costs in areas such as financial services, contact centers and enterprise identity & access management.
Community Health & Vibrancy (Innovations to make communities and populations healthier, stronger, more connected):
- KMUW Pilot Project: Civocracy (Berlin, Germany) is a CivicTech company providing technology and expertise for governments and organizations to better include citizens in decision-making processes, foster interaction between people and government, and enable effective collaboration on projects and policies between them.
- KMUW Pilot Project: ITsimple (Alpharetta, Ga.) helps communities provide services and engage with their customers in real-time and wherever people are – on their device, their social media accounts, or on the go – all from one user-friendly dashboard. We offer a turnkey solution with no IT investment required, so new customers can be up and running quickly and focused on producing content.
- AWSM (“awesome”) (New York City) teaches teens and their parents financial literacy by intertwining video content with actual full-service banking. Its banking products are designed to be safe enough for teens so that when they reach 18, they have had debit cards, tried credit cards, and learned how to manage debt and lend to their siblings.
- Give Black App (Newport News, Va.) is the world’s first platform solely dedicated to the up-lifting of Black nonprofits, Black businesses, HBCU’s and other organizations that contribute positively to the Black community. GiveBlack helps people donate to the causes and organizations that mean the most to them and enables founders and brands to find donors and partners cost effectively.
- Healthify (New York City) builds the infrastructure to support social determinants of health initiatives at scale by managing accountable networks of community-based organizations and providing an interoperable technology platform that allows payers, providers and non-profits to coordinate care. By aligning stakeholders across social services, healthcare and the public sector, Healthify helps vulnerable people improve their health and wellbeing.
- iSocial (Lawrence, Kan.) is a Zoom®-delivered group telehealth program that helps people with autism acquire the social skills needed to complete school, get a job and live independently. Developed by the University of Missouri, Columbia, and the Thompson Center for Autism, iSocial has proven effective in eight independent studies for higher-functioning individuals ages 8 through adult.
- Kaizen Health (Chicago, Ill.) is a healthcare logistics company that removes transportation as a barrier to health equity. Its industry-leading platform and nationwide transportation network is used by health systems, Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, senior living, in-home healthcare, non-profits and municipalities to enable everyone to access healthy-life resources such as clinical care, pharmacies, food, education and social services.
- Kilter Rewards (Madison, Wisc.) is a mobile platform that gamifies healthy living and charitable giving, allowing users to raise money for their favorite charities within virtual wellness-based fundraising events.
- Lab Me (Chicago, Ill.) offers home blood testing, a personalized dashboard for tracking markers and doctor reviews of abnormal results to give users a simple, effective narrative about their blood data that provides understandable information about their current health and what they can expect in the future.
- ai (Denver, Colo.) uses artificial intelligence to create a harmonized model for the planet, people and prosperity. Using artificial intelligence for good and leveling the playing field so every business can participate, life.ai can simplify interactions, remove friction and create great experiences while supporting the environment and the community.
- Pulmonaer Analytics (Leawood, Kan.) powers Asthma Insight, a mobile platform that helps patients connect with their healthcare providers and gives them personalized education and action plans, enabling them to control their asthma anytime, anywhere.
- REMOTELYME (San Diego, Calif.) offers a SaaS solution that improves trust, communications, and engagement for remote teams, REMOTELYME includes LEADWELL86’s neuroscience-personalized employee recruiting, engagement and wellness tools and can be integrated into collaboration solutions such as Microsoft® Teams, Slack®, and Zoom®.
- TuitionFit (Davenport, Iowa) gives families the power to find the right college value and get the best possible price by crowdsourcing a “Kelley Blue Book®” of college costs. Users share financial aid award offer letters they receive, and TuitionFit anonymizes and organizes the data so anyone can find out exactly what prices similar students are being asked to pay in real time at colleges around the country.
Industry 4.0 (Advanced Manufacturing, Industrial IoT, Machine Learning, Advanced Analytics, Automation):
- Aclaimant (Chicago, Ill.) is an insight-driven workflow solution for safety and risk management that offers a comprehensive product suite bringing loss prevention, incident management, and analytics into one connected platform that removes complexity, saves time, and produces better outcomes.
- InfraLytiks (Des Moines, Iowa) is a data analytics and automation firm specializing in machine learning and artificial intelligence. InfraLytiks offers proven milestone delivery for Data Fusion, Sensor-Based Data, IoT, API Integration and Full Automation projects, working with image- and text-based data from satellites, aircraft, drones, vehicles, and hand-held devices for analysis including HD, 3D, Thermal, LiDAR, Telemetry and Structured Light.
- ISPredict (Saarbrucken, Germany) offers self-learning artificial intelligence for Industry 4.0 applications, allowing for the automation of data science without dependence on Data Scientists for businesses that need predictive analytic quality in production, maintenance, energy / CO2 Reduction, logistics and other applications.
- Kenzen (New York City) is the premier physiological monitoring platform with a smart patch front-end that predicts and prevents heat, fatigue and overexertion injuries for workforces around the globe.
- RealityBLU (Beloit, Wisc. — also a finalist in FinTech) is a SaaS solution thatdelivers augmented reality tools for marketers to improve their marketing performance and metrics. RealityBLU’s scalable platform eliminates the technical barrier to implement and measure AR content, allowing marketers to attract and delight more customers.
- Sticker Control (Denver, Colo.) is a SaaS system that helps small and mid-sized manufacturers and distributors track and control physical assets, automates error-prone and time-consuming manual processes, and makes it easy to collect and analyze data. Our focus is to deliver 80 percent of the functionality of the high-end systems at less than 20 percent of the cost and complexity.
- Qore Technologies (Prague, Czech Republic) offers a unique transaction-sure Digital Automation Platform that enables companies to dramatically reduce costs and exponentially increase business scalability through high-quality end-to-end OT/IT automation.
- Unmanned Life (London, U.K.) is the global multi-award-winning AI for Autonomy SaaS platform enabling industries to be fully autonomous. Unmanned Life deploys Autonomy-as-a-Service over wireless networks, including 5G, for Industry 4.0 uses such as supply chain logistics, telecommunications, public safety, smart cities and manufacturing.
- Viaanix (Wichita, Kan.) strives to provide a complete, end-to-end solution to customers in the IoT industry. Unique in its scope, Viaanix manufactures both hardware and software, with an IoT platform that seamlessly integrates with all third-party hardware available in the market.
- Virtual Systems Engineering (Iowa City, Iowa) focuses on software for visualizing, coordinating, and integrating various aspects of printed-circuit-board (PCB) design and analysis.