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Past Event

Dolphin Tank: Heartland Women in Tech

April 3 | 5:00 pm

Polsinelli Offices

900 W 48th St
Kansas City, MO 64112

This will be an in-person pitch event.

Springboard’s Dolphin Tank is a pitch event that brings the power of our collective community to women entrepreneurs innovating in technology. Our Dolphin Tank events showcase exciting women-led companies and provide them with the opportunity for connections, capital, and insight from our audience of investors, advisors, and industry leaders.

Join Springboard Enterprises and Dolphin Tank partners Wells Fargo and OneKC for Women, for an exciting pitch event featuring women founders and entrepreneurs, expert panelists, and interactive audience participation!

When and Where

Wednesday, April 3, 2024
5:00 PM-8:00 PM CT

Polsinelli, 900 W 48th St, Kansas City, MO 64112

Please note: This will be an in-person event.

Meet the Presenters

Shapree’ Marshall, Founder & CEO, A Traveled Path Homes

A Traveled Path Homes: Simplifying housing solutions for traveling medical professionals on emergency contracts.

Shapree’ Marshall, the founder and CEO of A Traveled Path Homes, is a first-generation entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in the insurance and financial sector. Her personal battle and hospitalization with COVID-19 revealed the challenges faced by traveling medical professionals, inspiring her to create A Traveled Path Homes to provide housing solutions tailored to their needs.

Vanessa Jupe, Founder & CEO, Leva

Leva is a comprehensive ecosystem that provides pregnant and postpartum employees with the support they need to thrive.

Vanessa, CEO and Founder of Leva, has spent over 20 years in internet technology, innovating at giants like DIRECTV, USAA, and H&R Block. She is a leader in digital product management and driving profitable growth, leveraging her expertise in human-centered design and data-driven decision making. Vanessa’s academic credentials include a BBA in Information Systems from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX and a Master of Science in Technology Commercialization from UT Austin, coupled with a Women’s leadership certificate from Cornell University. She is passionate about continuous learning, her family, and freedom.

Ashley McClellan, Founder & CEO, MedCurate

MedCurate is the Uber for Healthcare staffing matching nurses and hospitals for half the cost of traditional staffing agencies.

Ashley McClellan is an experienced senior executive with over 18 years’ experience in Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer roles across three organizations who transitioned into Founder and CEO of MedCurate in 2023.

Ashley attended Southern Methodist University (SMU) where she obtained her BBA in Finance and BA in Spanish. She received her Master’s in Hospital Administration and MBA from Texas Woman’s University. She is currently in her Doctoral Program for Health Administration (anticipated graduation in 2024). Ms. McClellan is a Fellow and Board Certified by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and serves on several boards including SMU Cox School of Business Alumnae Board.

She resides in Kansas City with her husband, Brett, and their two sons. Brett is an experienced mortgage lender with UMB Bank, and they also own Sojourn Spa on the Plaza that opened January 2024.

Meet the Panelists

Aviva Ajmera, CEO & Founder, SoLVE KC

Aviva is the CEO and Founder of SoLVE. A Kansas City Based consulting firm. After 25 years of leading strategy creation and implementation, new product development, brand management, consumer marketing and organization re-design, there’s no marketing problem Aviva hasn’t SoLVEd.

Aviva founded SoLVE with the mission to help Kansas City businesses grow. Offering a unique, hands-on approach to business consulting, SoLVE’s clients are both B2B and B2C. They range from $600M national corporations to $500M regional companies, and also include local small business owners and start-ups. Aviva supports clients across numerous industries including Consumer Product Goods, Construction, Publishing, Wealth Management, Higher Education, IT, Manufacturing, CCRCs and non-profit organizations.

Maria Flynn, Founder & CEO, Ambiologix

Leveraging experience as an entrepreneur, executive, engineer, investor and coach, I work with select emerging and high-growth leaders, startups, investors, and entrepreneurial support organizations, helping them to make opportunity happen.

As CEO of Orbis Biosciences, I built a technology company that improved pharmaceutical manufacturing, won awards for its novel innovation, and was acquired by Adare Pharmaceuticals. As Managing Director of Techstars Kansas City, I invested in and coached startups across health tech, biotech, fin tech, deep tech, and consumer tech. I have been in the trenches with founders from over 30 companies and love being a business growth guide.

Vercie Lark, Author of Make It Rain & Small Business Investor

Vercie Lark, formerly one of ten SBA Regional Administrators appointed by President Biden in 2022 to play an important role helping small business owners access federally backed loans, contracts, and training to start, grow and expand. Although Mr. Lark is no longer working as a presidential appointee for
the SBA, he continues to invest in and advocate for small businesses to help expand America’s economic, education, employment, and entrepreneurial success.

Mr. Lark is the author of Make It Rain, a simple self-help personal finance book created to help increase wealth, jobs and financial security for hardworking Americans. Mr. Lark, recently launched the Prosperity Fund, a $20 million venture capital (VC) fund, to help fuel growth of U.S. SaaS technology firms founded by women and minority entrepreneurs. Mr. Lark retired from a successful career as an entrepreneur and corporate executive rising up the ranks in several fortune 500 firms before leading a billion-dollar business at DST Systems in Kansas City, MO.

About Dolphin Tank

Dolphin Tank participants will have access to learning opportunities, mentorship, and access to capital via: Funding Your Small Business, Pitching to Investors, and Equity Prep classes offered by the KCWBC. Funding Your Small Business is a one-hour workshop providing an understanding of debt and equity funding. Equity seekers are encouraged to take the next step with pitching to investors an orientation workshop. Debt funding candidates may be interested in a microloan or banker referral or one-on-one counseling with KCWBC’s Client Services Manager for potential financial preparation. Pitching to Investors is a two-hour orientation that introduces the business owner pursuing equity funding with terminology and the process that is necessary to attract investors. Equity Prep takes a deeper dive into raising equity funding. The program helps entrepreneurs get ready for several pathways, including Digital Sandbox, Dolphin Tank, Angel Investors, and Demo Days. 

Springboard Enterprises values diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as essential to our mission and more broadly to a thriving, equitable, and just global community. We encourage women entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds to apply.

How Dolphin Tank Works

While the venues and audiences may vary, every Dolphin Tank shares these core elements:

  • Entrepreneurs and their companies are selected via an application process.
  • Presenters deliver a three-minute pitch addressing a challenge or unique opportunity.
  • Solutions, connections, strategies, and opportunities for investment are crowdsourced from the audience.

Event Partners

If you are interested in sponsoring, please email:

Rachel Rong, Director of Operations for Springboard Enterprises at [email protected].