Questions or Suggestions? Contact us by email

Founder earns Pipeline’s ‘best pitch,’ says network’s lifelong support is the real award

Pipeline judges announced Megan O’Rear had the best pitch Thursday, but the Celerity Enterprises founder was left momentarily speechless when they named her winner of the group’s annual showcase and competition.

Megan O’Rear, Celerity Enterprises, at Pipeline’s 2024 Daytime Showcase; photo by Taylor Wilmore, Startland News

“It just validates coming back to Kansas City,” said O’Rear, who also serves as the startup’s CEO. “Pipeline wants to help everybody that they possibly can in the community, and so it warms your heart.”

Eleven Fellows and 11 Pathfinders — representing diverse backgrounds and industries from Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska — each gave five-minute pitches at Pipeline’s 2024 Daytime Showcase, championing each other as they competed. (Editor’s note: Startland News was a non-financial media partner for the showcase.)

Click here for a full list of the pitchers who were scheduled for Thursday’s event.

“Our whole class really felt a level of closeness, these are lifelong relationships,” said O’Rear. “I knew that there was going to be an element of that. But, I don’t think I realized the full impact.”

Celerity Enterprises offers a specialized SaaS financial platform for managing pricing agreements between manufacturers and distributors, providing real-time data for better decision-making. Putting the pedal to the metal, O’Rear is honing in on driving up sales this year.

RELATED: Startup’s swift action against siloed systems: Finding that ‘single version of truth’ hidden in the data

“Distribution is the ‘foundation of America’ is what I call it, and being a part of that change leading into the next age is exciting,” said O’Rear. “It’s a great place to be, it’s what gets us everything that we need every day.”

Dr. Brandy Archie, AskSAMIE, at Pipeline’s 2024 Daytime Showcase; photo by Taylor Wilmore, Startland News

Pathfinder winner

Dr. Brandy Archie, founder of AskSamie, won best pitch among Pipeline’s Pathfinders class, taking home a $5,000 prize. Her company helps find the adaptive equipment needed for homes, providing comfort for those aging.

“I came to Pipeline for the education, but I left Pipeline with a community of resilient people,” said Archie. 

“When people are open about how they change their businesses, it just gives me more freedom to know that there is no one path toward successful entrepreneurship, and that there’s a lot of ways to get there.” 

She plans to use the funding to scale-up her business, with new developments including a grant program, providing funding for the adaptive equipment for those in need.

ICYMI: Pipeline’s new cohorts show ‘power of diversity’; here’s who’s joining the elite entrepreneur network

Melissa Vincent, Pipeline, holds the winning check for Dr. Brandy Archie, AskSAMIE, at Pipeline’s 2024 Daytime Showcase; photo by Taylor Wilmore, Startland News

Dropping the mask

One of the most significant resources for members of the elite Pipeline Entrepreneurs network is the ability to grant emerging founders access to high growth entrepreneurs — expanding their pathways forward in ways previously unavailable to them, said Melissa Vincent, executive director of Pipeline. 

“To create that accessibility has been wonderful and to see its ripple effect in the community by seeing other entrepreneurs support new organizations just really embraces that,” said Vincent.

Founders value space to be transparent and confide in one another about the ups and downs of running a business — often calling it a highlight of their Pipeline experience, she said. 

“It’s all about being willing to take the mask off and being vulnerable, because that’s the only way we can help you,” Vincent said.

Pipeline’s Daytime Showcase is a prelude to the summertime Innovators gala where graduating Fellows and Pathfinders are presented to the broader Pipeline membership and more honors are awarded.

Check out a photo gallery from the Pipeline Fellows’ portion of the pitch competition by Taylor Wilmore and Nikki Overfelt Chifalu, Startland News.