CEO leaves Wichita entrepreneurial group

John Dascher
John Dascher

A privately funded group aimed at developing startups and helping grow established Wichita companies is looking for a new chief executive.

John Dascher had announced in March that he would step down from e2e Accelerator, which "incubates, accelerates and invests in growth oriented companies." At the time, the plan was for Dascher to stay as CEO of e2e Holdings and work specifically to grow local entrepreneurs' access to capital from private investors.

But now Dascher is leaving e2e altogether.

"Like all startup ventures experience, I recognize it is time for e2e to hand over the reins to new leadership for the next phase of its growth — I believe this is the best way to position the organization for success," Dascher said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

Reached later in the day, Dascher said, "We realized we had to make a pivot" in how the group moves forward."

Dascher said he has "nothing but the best encouragement for the board in their efforts to bolster the entrepreneurial community. I chose to step aside so they could bring the right people in whose backgrounds better fit that pivot."

The e2e Accelerator is a nonprofit incubator established two years ago by a Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce task force that provides education, networking and mentoring to entrepreneurs.

Dascher came to e2e in January 2016 from Denmark, where he was investment director for two early stage venture capital funds totaling more than $200 million. He has also helped establish and operate investment funds and technology accelerators in Texas, Delaware and south Florida.

Mark Torline, chairman of the e2e Accelerator, said in a prepared statement that the board is "deeply grateful" to Dascher for helping to lay a successful foundation for the effort "and helping the entrepreneurial community take a significant step forward."

Board member Trish Brasted will serve as interim CEO of e2e Holdings. Board member Sam Foreman will be the interim director of e2e Accelerator.