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One conversation changed this Wichita tech startup's future

Taylor Stevenson pitches the Alyss Analytics program that measures a job candidate's soft skills at an innovation summit in Lincoln, Neb., last month. Alyss won the $120,000 top prize.
Taylor Stevenson pitches the Alyss Analytics program that measures a job candidate's soft skills at an innovation summit in Lincoln, Neb., last month. Alyss won the $120,000 top prize.

It's like sneaking into the playoffs as a wild card team on the last day of the season and then going on to win the Super Bowl.

Alyss Analytics of Wichita was awarded the top prize at the Inside/Outside Innovation Summit pitch contest last month in Lincoln. The prize included a $120,000 check.

"Ultimately, it shows the power of one conversation," said Taylor Stevenson, Strategic Partnerships Executive for Alyss.

The story behind the achievement actually begins in New Orleans, where Alyss entered a pitch competition at a conference. Alyss didn't advance in the competition, but their presentation caught the eye of an official with the innovation summit in Lincoln.

They were invited to participate in the showcase featuring business startups, then landed a wild card slot in the final pitch competition.

They went first in the finals, then had to wait through 90 more minutes of pitches.

Stevenson called the prize "an amazing accomplishment that we did not foresee coming or have on our radar."

More than 100 companies were involved in the two-day event designed to help tech startups learn and scale faster.

Alyss Analytics uses artificial intelligence to analyze 60 seconds of candidate video to measure how positive, articulate, confident and energetic a job applicant is, Stevenson said.

"Our data allows employers to make better, faster decisions on who to move forward in their internal processes," Stevenson said.

It took 18 months to develop the program, which was launched at the start of April. It's designed to measure an applicant's soft skills.

That, Stevenson said, will be of particular interest to companies that deal directly with the public, such as hospitality and retail, health care, customer service and call centers.

The prize provides "market validation," he said, and should be a boost for other Wichita startups because it shows what's possible.

"Things are starting to take off" as a result of winning the prize, Stevenson said.

(FILE VIDEO -- MARCH 2018) Brady Sherman and Abby Nelson have founded MicroMansions, a startup with the goal to create a tiny home village in east Wichita. Currently they're testing the market to see if people want this kind of living.



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