Pipeline announces Innovators Remix and move to Omaha for 2019 gala


The Innovators 2018, left to right: Chris Motley, Jason Tatge, TBoone Pickens III, Joni Cobb, Paul Jarrett, Toby Rush, Jeff Blackwood

The saying may go “Why mess with a good thing?” but when it comes to Pipeline, change and experimentation is what it’s all about.

As an entrepreneurial organization, the leaders and fellows involved are always looking for ways to improve, test and keep things fresh and exciting. That’s why Pipeline has decided to bring a remixed vision of The Innovators to Omaha on January 25, 2019.

“This is bar none the most exciting event Pipeline does each year, and we are absolutely thrilled to bring the Innovators to one of the most important parts of the Pipeline region – Nebraska,” said Joni Cobb, Pipeline President and CEO. “We are equally excited to build even more into the event to allow the best networking and inspiration we can design – so please come out and see what the excitement is all about. We can’t wait to see everyone.”

Raising Nebraska’s profile

Cobb said that since Pipeline is a regional (multi-city) organization, the plan has always been for the host city of the Innovators to rotate at some point.

“Our Nebraska foothold and our Nebraska family is such a strong supporter of the regional work, that it made sense that the first time we go outside Kansas City that it would come to Omaha,” said Cobb.

Rod Markin, Executive Director of the UNeTech Institute, an entrepreneurial business development incubator run jointly by UNMC and UNO, said the Nebraska University system is a sponsor of Pipeline for a number of years. Markin himself has been a personal sponsor for ten years.

Markin said from his perspective, having the Innovators in Omaha gives the city’s entrepreneurial community some much-needed regional visibility, as well as an opportunity to provide Pipeline and its fellows additional exposure among Nebraska’s supporters.

Amos Winbush (NYC), national judge from daytime pitch competition

“It’s going to be great exposure for our community, as well as providing support to the efforts of UNO and UNMC, as well as UNK, UNL and the whole university system,” said Markin.

Blake Lawrence, co-founder and CEO of opendorse, said Pipeline has been a leader in identifying and connecting the right people with each other throughout communities in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. He thinks that sharing The Innovators spotlight with Nebraska for the first time will bring a new level of awareness to both parties.

“There are some people who know about Pipeline who maybe haven’t had the opportunity to experience it in action,” said Lawrence. “I hope, almost plead, for startup communities throughout the state of Nebraska to really invest in making the trip to The Innovators and see what [the organization] is about.”

Innovators Remixed

The new format is focused on adding energy, content and experiences with a newly imagined daytime event, while also keeping what everyone loves for the evening gala.

“For the Midwest, I don’t think it gets any bigger than this event,” said Paul Jarrett, co-founder and CEO of Bulu and a Pipeline member. “It’s not just a networking event. This helps put Nebraska on the map.”

Evan Luxon, Paul Jarrett and Stephanie Jarrett

In the past, the daytime event has been a simple showcase of each graduating fellow who gives their company pitch to a national panel of experts. The event was held in a theatre environment with a crowd in attendance. While that will still be central to the event, this year seasoned entrepreneurs from other classes and mentors will be giving inspiring and energetic talks.

The evening gala will still be a chance for everyone to dress up with their friends, families and teams and hear about all the progress that took place over the previous year. But this year, it will be a cocktail-style reception where the Innovators will be honored with awards and the crowd will be kept buzzing with music and special guests.

“Everybody should be really excited that we got an event from Kansas City of this caliber, which has history,” said Jarrett. “It’s a big f***ing deal.”


Sign up to receive daily updates in your inbox.