Startup culture in Springfield has been buzzing for quite a few years now. Missouri State’s eFactory is in the midst of the third installation of its cohort program in which it selects a group of burgeoning businesses to learn from some of the area’s top professionals. One Million Cups is a great entrepreneurial group that promotes networking among small business trailblazers through weekly meetings. Startups in Springfield aren’t a secret anymore either. Five Thirty Eight named Springfield as one of the top places in the country for small business startups and a slew of other publications have recognized our city for its access to resources and low cost of business. We’ve had our eye on a few of the young enterprises out there for quite some time and thought we’d share some of these exciting new companies with you.
Virtual Reality Training Software.
Virtual Reality isn’t just for video games, folks. This eFactory resident company is a product of Self Interactive, an interactive software company in Springfield. Founder Charlie Rosenbury started the company in 2012 by himself, hence the name. Since then Self has blossomed into a team of 8. They create all kinds of interactive applications, including VR. Tacit was borne of Self’s virtual training applications and was so successful that Rosenbury and Self business development specialist Tyler Drenon are spinning it off into its own company. Tacit is a new venture, but already has some big name clients. The software Tacit creates provides training in a controlled digital space, which can help train employees in a limitless array of training scenarios without the cost of doing it in a physical space with real materials. Tacit already has tons of momentum with its growing clientele, but we’re expecting to see even more big things from them in the future.
A desktop communication and collaboration platform.
If you follow small business in Springfield, you’ve no doubt already heard about EagleSpeak. They have a laundry list of awards including the Best Enterprise Technology at The Excellence in Technology Awards in 2018, The Best Startup at Springfield’s Startup weekend in 2015, the top award at SPIN 66 in 2016, among many other individual and company awards. The three founders Jason Arend, Myke Bates and Brandon Cash wanted to make collaboration simpler. They tried dozens of applications and never found the exact fit they were looking for. They preferred just talking, but didn’t want to lose productivity by making manual calls, so they developed a software that works WITHOUT dialing, WITHOUT changing applications and WITHOUT stopping productivity. Of that desire, EagleSpeak was born. As you can see from the live demo above, the software works seamlessly and doesn’t require any typing at all to make quick interactions with people inside your organization. EagleSpeak has built up a lot of momentum already, but the sky is the limit for this Springfield Startup.
A waterless makeup brush cleaner.
The story of Solely Jolie is personal to us. Founder Amy Blansit lost her husband Drew Lewis to cancer five years ago. Drew was an agent at Murney before he was diagnosed and is deeply missed.During his fight with cancer, Blansit wore a blue rubber wristband to show her support for Drew’s fight. During all the long days and nights at the hospital, Blansit found that her wristband collected the makeup from her brushes very easily. Her journey into entrepreneurship started with that idea in mind. She discovered a way to eliminate water from the maintenance of makeup gear using a specific type of rubber. Solely Jolie is a graduate of the eFactory Accelerator in 2017 and is going strong today. Blansit donates a portion of the proceeds from the business to the Drew Lewis Foundation in his memory.
Local wireless internet and beyond.
The goal is simple for co-founders Matt Thomas and Cameron Rose, to create a simple pricing structure for a flexible, fast internet service in Southwest Missouri. They achieve this through a variety of techniques, one of which is fixed wireless, which is a microwave-based method of transferring data between two points. Wide Open Networks (WON) uses tall buildings to widen their coverage and transmit data directly to their customers for wireless connections and an infrastructure of fiber optics to handle other connections. They also cut through the additional charges that you’ll find with major internet service providers. No loop charges or hidden fees with these guys. They do both residential and business services with flexibility you can’t find with other networks. WON is sure to catch on in the Springfield area more than it already has, but look for it to be a model to follow in other cities too.
The gamification of energy industry training.
Applied Fiction Case Study: Marlin Network from MetaMythic on Vimeo.
Imagine a training session. You’re bored immediately, right? Well, the creators of this startup want to dispel the notion that training has to be some sort of fluorescent-lit waking nightmare. MetaMythic was created by Charlie Evans, Christopher Lazzaro and Michael Dockery to do one thing, engage employees. Instead of a lecture on cybersecurity techniques for energy industry employees, MetaMythic creates a narrative storyline that plays out like a video game. User must engage with scenarios and situation and make decisions that have consequences inside the software. It’s like a chose your own adventure book for high level security people to learn new methods without boring them to tears. Right now, the creators are primarily focused on the energy industry, but with this disruptive, engaging idea, they could be finding themselves playing a new game soon.
The Next Generation of Music Gear.
Rock Dolly is every musicians dream. It simplifies the process of setting up multiple speakers, amplifiers and mixers by creating a stackable set that transports by way of the dolly. For users of the Rock Dolly, gone are the days of hauling literal tons of equipment to every gig. This all-in-one, wireless system could eventually make traveling so much easier for bands, as demonstrated in the video above. Founder and creator Cameron Eaton sees his product as a David v. Goliath story, taking on the giants in the music equipment world. He theorizes that the big names in music gear want to continue selling multiple speakers for each instrument rather than an all in one solution, but he’s ready to disrupt the marketplace. Check out all the other products RockDolly has to offer online right here!
Meet the 4 companies of the eFactory’s Cohort 3
These four companies are poised to be the next generation of great startups to emerge from the eFactory. They were chosen out of many to be a part of cohort 3 and they’re ready to make an impact in their fields! Let’s meet them!
An app that makes finding the perfect babysitter easier.
Their Elevator Pitch:
SelectSitterwas created by parents who felt like finding a great babysitter shouldn’t be so hard!
What’s the best way to find the best service in your area? Your friends and family. We live in a social society and word of mouth recommendations are the best way to know you are hiring a trusted and reliable business. Shouldn’t that go for babysitters? Babysitters are like a diamond in the rough. Once you find one, you don’t want to share them because you are afraid their availability will diminish! But what if you could share your preferred sitters while also discovering new ones that your friends love and trust? Enter SelectSitter.
SelectSitteruses social networking to connect busy parents with available babysitters. We make it easy for you to book your next sitter and we’ll even take care of those uncomfortable questions like, “How much do you charge?”
And sitters…our easy calendar function means no more double booking!
An app that connects landowners and hunters.
Their Elevator Pitch:
Easy Access Hunts is dedicated to connecting hunters and landowners through a common website-based marketplace that gives hunters access to a variety of quality hunting properties and provides landowners control, security, and maximum value for use of their property. Easy Access Hunts was formed when I discovered a problem at the intersection of three important and essential elements of my life – hunting, community, and technology.
Custom approach to fitness training.
Their Elevator Pitch:
FiTbyPhase helps members reach their personalized health and fitness goals through goal-specific and custom-tailored training programs and nutritional guidance inside the FiTbyPhase Pocket Coach App. Members also have access to an online community where they can find additional resources as well as communicate with one another.
Helping biblical teachers organize and prepare to deliver their messages.
Their Elevator Pitch:
Gracious is a cloud-based software suite designed to help pastors and biblical teachers prepare, present, and preserve their messages. Users creating messages via Gracious can utilize a simple text-editor, tag sermons for easy reference, and search for and associate scripture references. Notes sync to the cloud to make sharing and presenting simple.