Kansas City, Mo. – Moving forward requires a little speed, and two Kansas City executives have teamed up to put the pedal down with Crux-Xcelerate.
Rick Kahle, former president of Lockton’s Kansas City Employee Benefits Office, and Melea McRae, founder and CEO of Crux KC and former CMO of the KC Chamber, launched Crux-Xcelerate in January 2019. The new company provides fractional chief sales officer (CSO) services to emerging and small businesses seeking sales leadership, strategy and execution.
The vision for Crux-Xcelerate was born from Crux KC, Kansas City’s “un-agency,” merging executive-level marketing and business strategy to provide a simple, smart and affordable marketing solution for clients. McRae launched Crux KC in 2016 based on the premise there had to be a better way to service the marketing needs of small-to-mid-sized B2B businesses.
Crux KC showed a profit by its sixth month of business and experienced a more than 660 percent growth in 2017 over 2016 revenue. Total revenue then grew by more than 40 percent in 2018. Now, McRae’s hoping to replicate this successful strategy on the sales side with Crux-Xcelerate—along with an option to bundle both sales and marketing services.
“We’ve built great marketing strategies for our clients who have struggled with the sales component,” McRae said. “The beauty of this sales and marketing partnership benefits both startups and SMBs, reaping the rewards of experienced sales and marketing leadership, along with the Crux team to execute—all at a fraction of the cost, instantly doubling the value.”
Both entrepreneurs bring different skill sets – and networks – to the table in a way that complements the others. Kahle, a Crux KC investor and advisory board member, also saw a need for a company like Crux-Xcelerate. After working at Lockton for 15 years, he switched gears in 2016 and followed his passion for investing in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Since then, he’s invested in roughly 15 companies, including Bardavon and SLCKET, and has become active in early-stage capital markets – connecting companies with financial sources that align with their stage and industry – including Firebrand Ventures, iiM, and KC Rise Fund.
“There’s a need for a company like this in Kansas City,” he said. “We bring a different approach to sales by offering an outsourced CSO and team, who can build a pipeline; position the startup for more funding; hire, develop and train a sales team; establish KPIs—even be the sales closer. Our model minimizes the risk for the founders, angel investors and VCs by ensuring these companies are financially viable and successful.”
Kahle’s robust professional network and unique understanding of the startup scene make him an ideal co-founder for Crux-Xcelerate.
“We are intentional about finding the right companies we can help to scale and grow their revenues,” Kahle said. “We have decades of experience creating successful outcomes. We’re uniquely qualified to make the right connections that will accelerate sales and impact revenue trajectories for companies right here in Kansas City.”
The new model is also attracting the attention of local venture capital firms, who look for startups taking the necessary steps and making smart investments toward future success.
Founded in January 2019, Crux-Xcelerate provides a different approach to sales, delivering fractional chief sales officer (CSO) services to emerging and small businesses seeking sales leadership, strategy and execution. Moving forward requires a little speed, and smart business leaders know when to put the pedal down. Learn more at crux-xcelerate.com.
About Crux KC
Founded in 2016, Crux KC is Kansas City’s “un-agency,” merging executive-level marketing and business strategy to provide a simple, smart and affordable marketing solution for our clients. Because when you’re a business leader looking for growth, you’d rather just get to the point. Crux is your in-house marketing department—outsourced. Everything you need, nothing you don’t. Learn more at cruxkc.com.