LaunchKC opens 2018 grants competition today

Heather Spalding, CEO of Cambrian Tech, celebrates after learning that her startup company won the $100,000 grand prize at the 2017 LaunchKC competition in September. The application window opens on April 2 for the 2018 grants competition.

Let the competition begin!

LaunchKC, the fourth annual grants competition for tech entrepreneurs, opened the application window at 8 a.m. today (Monday, April 2), as the 100-day online window opens to innovators around the country.

LaunchKC ignited its 2018 promotional campaign in mid-March at SxSW Interactive in Austin, Texas. Drew Solomon, who chairs the Kansas City-based grants competition, made the announcement at Startup Night SxSW 2018, an event presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Tech.Co.

“In its first three grants competitions, LaunchKC awarded $1.5 million in grants to 29 entrepreneurs,” Solomon said. “More than 1,100 entrepreneurs from around the world have applied for grants in those first three competitions.”

LaunchKC is a civic engine in the Kansas City tech startup space. It is committed to elevating KC into one of the nation’s top 10 most livable, viable cities for entrepreneurs to be successful and to celebrate the community’s assets.

Competition Countdown for 2018

  • April 2 – Application window opens at www.launchkc.org
  • July 11 – Application window closes at midnight
  • July to September – Panel of expert judges to review applications and narrow list of contenders to 20 finalists by early September
  • Week of October 8-12 – LaunchKC finalists will be featured throughout the fourth Techweek Kansas City conference
  • October 12 – Selection of 10 grant recipients on LaunchKC Day during the final day of Techweek!

“We are searching for the best and brightest startups or early stage tech businesses to apply and compete for $500,000 in grants,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for the Downtown Council and LaunchKC. “We want to help these entrepreneurs make their business dreams come true in Kansas City.”

Of the 29 startup or early stage businesses to receive LaunchKC grants over the last three years, 26 of them – 90 percent – are still in business.

Grant Recipients

The active 26 startups include Big Bang, BlitabBlooom, Cambrian, ConsultUS, FEWDM, Forest Devices, H3 Enterprises, HealthID, HerdDoggIntegrated Roadways, Intelag, iShare Medical, Labor Chart, Mobility+Designed, MusicSpoke, MyCroft, PerfectCube, PlanITImpact, PopBookings, Sickweather, SquareOffs, Super Dispatch, TradeLanes, VideoFizz and Zitches.

LaunchKC Partners

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri, in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri.

LaunchKC Sponsors

LaunchKC and its core group of sponsors – who have supported the competition since day #1 – including the Missouri Technology Corporation, along with the City of Kansas City, The Cordish Companies, J.E. Dunn Construction, Husch Blackwell, Kansas City Power & Light, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Lathrop Gage, Lead Bank, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Polsinelli, Techweek and UMB Bank.

The competition is supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center, the Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships, and the UMKC Bloch School of Management.

For more information, contact Mike Hurd, marketing officer for the Downtown Council and LaunchKC at mike@downtownkc.org or 816-447-2136.

‘Downtown KC residents are mainly young, diverse & happy’

The Downtown Council’s State of Downtown Report – an online dashboard that illustrates the progress that Downtown has achieved in quality of life categories such as economy, housing, development and quality of life – was published this week..

Downtown Kansas City seems to be a magnet for millennials, The Kansas City Star reported on Wednesday.

Out of nearly 23,000 people who live in the city center, 41 percent are part of Generation Y, according to a new report from the Downtown Council and MySidewalk, a KC-based software company.

The Star’s article, reported by Sarah Gish, continued…

According to the report, many of these Downtown dwellers have never been married and don’t have kids. The mix is also among the most diverse in the metro area. And most say they’re pretty pleased with their quality of life.

The Downtown Council defines Downtown Kansas City as the area bordered by the Missouri River, 31st Street, the state line and the 18th & Vine Jazz District.

The concentration of millennials — those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s — fades as you get further into the suburbs, contradicting a recent local housing survey that found that millennials prefer suburban houses to urban lofts.

Thou Mayest, a coffee shop and bar in the evolving East Crossroads, is a popular hangout for Downtown workers and dwellers. Around 41 percent of the area’s population belongs to Generation Y, according to a new report. Photo courtesy of The Kansas City Star

Millennials make up 26 percent of the Kansas City population and 22 percent of the metro population according to the “State of Downtown” report, which was put together from objective data sources such as the U.S. Census.

About 20 percent of downtown dwellers belong to Generation X, and the same percentage are Baby Boomers. The remaining population consists of older “Matures” (about 6 percent) and Generation Z (about 13 percent), those younger than millennials.

The report also found that Downtown Kansas City’s population is almost twice as diverse as surrounding areas. About 53 percent of downtown dwellers are of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or mixed ancestry, compared to 27 percent in the greater metro area.

Here are a few more facts from the Downtown data:

▪ The median household income is $41,185, and the median home rent is $826.

▪ The average household size is 1.74 people, compared to 2.53 metro-wide.

▪ More than half of downtown residents have never been married.

▪ There are around 81,740 jobs Downtown, more than in the downtowns of peer cities such as Cincinnati, San Antonio and Salt Lake City. More than half of downtown KC employees earn high wages, defined as $3,333 per month or more.

▪ The most common jobs available Downtown include sales (1,309 jobs), management (1,233), office and administration support (1,141) and business/finance (1,008).

▪ Nearly 84 percent of people who live Downtown say they’re satisfied with their quality of life, though it seems many would love to see an urban Target in the neighborhood. Around 62 percent say they’re satisfied with the value received from their tax dollars.

▪ Around 59 percent of residents say they feel safe Downtown. They reported the strongest feelings of safety around Crown Center, Hospital Hill, the River Market and the Crossroads. The Central Business District and southeast portions of Greater Downtown Kansas City were rated as feeling less safe.

***

The Downtown Council, working in collaboration with mySidewalk, published the State of Downtown report last Friday in conjunction with the DTC’s Annual Luncheon. The online platform is built to report objective data that captures progress and trends, as well as distinguishes Downtown KC locally, regionally and nationally.

“What is great about these reports is that once designed, they automatically update as new data becomes available,” said Bill Dietrich, President & CEO of the DTC. “Plus, you can continuously add new data sources for richer reports.”

Even though the online dashboard has been available for just one week, it ranks as one of mySidewalk’s top 10 most viewed dashboards among its established list of partners with more than 800 views.

To learn more about the State of Downtown, go to www.downtownkc.org/data

 

MTC awards $250K to LaunchKC competition for 2018

Heather Spalding, founder and COO of Cambrian Tech, celebrates after learning that her startup company won the $100,000 grand prize at the LaunchKC competition on Sept. 15 at Techweek.

LaunchKC, the KCMO-based grants competition for tech entrepreneurs that wrapped up its third annual competition just a few weeks ago, has been awarded $250,000 by the Missouri Technology Corporation for 2018.

The award marks the fourth year in a row that the MTC has funded the 4-year-old, Kansas City-based grants competition.

“This serves as a great vote of confidence in LaunchKC and the entrepreneurial community in Kansas City,” said Drew Solomon, chair of the annual grants competition. “Right from our beginning in 2014, the MTC has been a stalwart supporter of LaunchKC and the innovative entrepreneurs who have leveraged our support into building their businesses in Kansas City.” Solomon is the vice president of business development at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDC).

LaunchKC is preparing for its fourth competition in 2018. Each year, it awards $500,000 in non-dilutive grants to tech startups, following a rigorous competition that is open to entrepreneurs across the country. LaunchKC was founded in 2014 by the Downtown Council and the EDC, both of Kansas City, Missouri.

LaunchKC has attracted nearly 1,500 applicants locally, nationally and internationally during our first three years of competition. It has awarded $1.5 million in grant award to 29 entrepreneurs in just three years.

“This news from MTC represents a milestone for LaunchKC. MTC was our first funder in 2014, and has remained our largest financial support every year since,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC.

“Looking back, LaunchKC also was a startup in 2014. The MTC and, later, the local business, civic and philanthropic communities took a leap of faith to invest in us, so we could invest with tech entrepreneurs.” Hurd is the chief marketing officer of the Downtown Council of Kansas City (DTC).

That first vote of confidence by the MTC sparked local sponsorship support from the City of Kansas City, Missouri, UMB Bank, The Cordish Companies / Kansas City Power & Light District, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Husch Blackwell, KCP&L, Lead Bank, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Polsinelli, J.E. Dunn Construction, Lathrop & Gage, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and a growing number of new partners that continue to join the ranks of LaunchKC partners.

LaunchKC was founded in 2014 by the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corporation, both of Kansas City, Missouri.

Click here tearn more about LaunchKC.

Global Entrepreneurship Week to ignite KC startup community

Global Entrepreneurship Week returns to Kansas City today, and promises an amazing week of learning, networking and sharing. GEW is an international celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups and bring ideas to life.

Founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 2008, GEW has since expanded to more than 160 countries. Here in KC, GEWKC is piloted by KC Sourcelink, where #GEWKC 2016 was celebrated with more than 100 events and by more than 12,000 attendees.

With more than 150 events, this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week calendar can be a bit overwhelming. Fret not! That’s precisely why they’re broken into four tracks:

Makers and creators: For anyone who makes or creates: brewers, distillers, bakers, inventors and crafters.

Youth entrepreneurship: For KC’s nextgen innovators, inventors and disrupters.

Business Growth: For those who survived the startup phase and are ready for what’s next. Sponsored by CommunityAmerica Credit Union

Business Services: For those looking for specialized services to advance their business. Sponsored by Country Financial

GEWKC begins at 7:30 a.m. today (Monday) with the kickoff breakfast at the Westport Plexpod Commons and continues through Friday. For complete details, visit gewkc.orgThe future is in your hands.

LaunchKC selects winners of $500K in tech startup grants

LaunchKC awarded $500,000 in grants to nine tech entrepreneurs on Friday evening at the historic Power and Light Building. Grants winners celebrate the moment with LaunchKC sponsors and steering committee members.

LaunchKC judges awarded $500,000 in grants to nine tech startup businesses Friday evening, following a months-long competition designed to attract and retain tech entrepreneurs in Kansas City.

The nine winners, including eight from the metropolitan Kansas City area and one from Colorado, were selected Friday afternoon from a pool of 20 finalists. Each of the final 20 presented their business pitches that morning to LaunchKC judges and the Techweek Kansas City audience at the Power & Light District.

Grant winners were announced Friday evening at a special LaunchKC / Techweek Kansas City awards ceremony at the nearby Power and Light Building.

Cambrian Tech, Leawood, Kan., was chosen as the first $100,000 grand prize recipient in LaunchKC history. Cambrian designs augmented reality software for mobile devices.  Its winning business model is focused on the home improvement industry and becoming the mobile destination for DIYers.

Another $400,000 was awarded in $50,000 parcels to eight entrepreneurs, including:

“This was an outstanding competition today. Each of the 20 finalists were strong contenders for LaunchKC’s grants, as well as for building strong, economically successful businesses,” said Drew Solomon, vice president for business development at the EDC and the chair of the LaunchKC competition.

Friday’s announcement marks the culmination of weeks of application reviews and scoring by a panel of more than 35 business and financial leaders, who volunteered their time to thoughtfully narrow the field from 400 applicants from 19 states and five nations to the 20 finalists who competed on Friday.

“LaunchKC has attracted nearly 1,500 applications from throughout the nation and the world during our first three years of competition with tech entrepreneurs,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council. “This evening’s awards mean that we have reached $1.5 million mark in awards in just three years.”

Friday’s announcement marks the culmination of weeks of application reviews and scoring by a panel of more than 35 business and financial leaders, who volunteered their time to thoughtfully narrow the field from 400 applicants from 19 states and five nations to the 20 finalists who competed on the final day of the Techweek KC conference.

In addition to cash grants, the nine winning applicants will receive a network of support, including 12 months of free office space in Downtown KC; industry-specific mentor teams for each grant recipient; and opportunities to meet and learn from industry and entrepreneurial leaders in and around Kansas City – all designed to elevate their efforts to build high-growth, tech sector businesses and jobs in Downtown Kansas City.

“LaunchKC is built to be an economic game-changer in Kansas City, Missouri by supporting start-up businesses, creating jobs, attracting and retaining talent, unlocking value and engaging follow-on investors,” Hurd said.

LaunchKC is a nonprofit, civic engine in the Kansas City entrepreneurial space. It is an initiative of the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corporation, both of Kansas City, Mo.

The program is fueled each year by the visionary support of corporate, public and philanthropic partners. For 2017, the sponsor honor roll includes:

Supporters: Missouri Technology Corporation; the City of Kansas City, Missouri

Visionaries: Husch Blackwell; KCP&L; The Cordish Companies / Kansas City Power & Light District; William T. Kemper Foundation; Techweek; UMB Bank; Downtown Council of Kansas City; Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City

Contributing: Burns & McDonnell; Lathrop & Gage: Lead Bank; Missouri Department of Economic Development; Polsinelli; Spring Venture Group

Emerging: Allied Global; J.E. Dunn Construction; Google Fiber

Friends: Adknowledge; ITEN; LightEdge Solutions

Supporters: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center; Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships; Think Big Partners; and the UMKC Bloch School of Business.

It’s showtime for 20 tech entrepreneurs at LaunchKC

Members of the 2015 class of LaunchKC grant recipients will celebrate the second anniversary of their grant awards on Friday evening, when LaunchKC announces winners of the 2017 class.

LaunchKC will take center stage on Friday at the Techweek Kansas City conference to stage the final round of competition among 20 tech entrepreneurs who are vying to take home nine cash grants worth $500,000.

This LaunchKC competition is designed to attract the best and brightest entrepreneurs to come (or stay) in Kansas City and to build their startup companies here. By the end of the day on Friday, LaunchKC will have awarded $1.5 million to 29 entrepreneurs over three years.

“The final round of this year’s competition promises to be very competitive, with 20 entrepreneurs ready to pitch their business plans before a panel of LaunchKC judges and the Techweek KC audience from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the heart of Downtown,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC.

The 20 finalists who will be competing on Friday were selected by LaunchKC judges from a pool of 400 applicants to the 2017 competition. The contenders include 14 from the Kansas City metropolitan area; five from four U.S. states; and one international business from the Ukraine.

LaunchKC is in its third year of serving as a civic engine in the local tech / entrepreneurial space.

LaunchKC is a global grants competition designed to attract tech entrepreneurs to compete for $500,000 in non-dilutive grants and the opportunity to build their new and emerging tech businesses in Kansas City, Missouri. This year, LaunchKC will award nine grants on Friday, including eight $50,000 grants and one grand prize award of $100,000.

“LaunchKC has attracted nearly 1,500 applications from throughout the nation and the world during our first three years of competition,” Hurd said. “When we award the next $500,000 at Techweek on Friday, we will have reached $1.5 million mark in awards in just three years.”

The LaunchKC finalists will compete from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday in The Gallery event space in the Kansas City Power & Light District. Tickets are available at TechweekKC.com. Each entrepreneur will have about five minutes to pitch their business plans before a panel of LaunchKC judges and the Techweek KC audience.

Once the pitch session concludes, the judges will convene to score the finalists and to select the eventual nine grant recipients. They will be revealed in a special LaunchKC / Techweek awards program from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at The Grand Hall at the historic Power and Light Building.

The 20 finalists (alphabetically, by company name and team leader) for the Launch KC grants competition include:

  • Aware Vehicles: ZhiQiang Chen, Kansas City, Mo.
  • backstitch: Jordan Warzecha, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Blue Point 2: Liderman Duin, Leawood, Kan.
  • Cambrian Tech: Heather Spalding, Leawood, Kan.
  • H3 Enterprises: Roy Scott, Kansas City. Mo.
  • HerdDogg: Melissa Brandao, Longmont, Colo.
  • Hidden Abilities: Jamee Miller, Lawrence, Kan.
  • iShare Medical: Linda VanHorn, Kansas City, Mo.
  • MenuHunt: Beau Clinton, St. Joseph, Mo.
  • Miles: Lance Windholz, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Music Spoke: Jennifer Rosenblatt, Kansas City, Kan.
  • PlanIT Impact: Dominique Davison, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Play-it Health: Kimberly Gandy, Kansas City, Kan.
  • Redivus Health: Jeff Dunn, Olathe, Kan.
  • Sickweather: Graham Dodge, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Smart Bridge Health: Hua Wang, Washington, D.C.
  • TradeLanes: Vijay Harrell, Kansas City, Mo.
  • UniExo: Tatiana Holovachenko, Ukraine
  • Vytal: Jared Goering, McPherson, Kan.
  • Zitches: Bart Patenaude, Kansas City, Mo.

In addition to cash grants, the nine winning applicants will receive a network of support, including 12 months of free office space in Downtown KC; industry-specific mentor teams for each grant recipient; and opportunities to meet and learn from industry and entrepreneurial leaders in and around Kansas City – all designed to elevate their efforts to build high-growth, tech sector businesses and jobs in Downtown Kansas City.

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

The program is fueled each year by the visionary support of corporate, public and philanthropic partners. For 2017, the sponsor honor roll includes:

Supporters: Missouri Technology Corporation; the City of Kansas City, Missouri

Visionaries: Husch Blackwell; KCP&L; The Cordish Companies / Kansas City Power & Light District; William T. Kemper Foundation; Techweek; UMB Bank; Downtown Council of Kansas City; Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City

Contributing: Burns & McDonnell; Lathrop & Gage: Lead Bank; Missouri Department of Economic Development; Polsinelli; Spring Venture Group

Emerging: Allied Global; J.E. Dunn Construction; Google Fiber

Friends: Adknowledge; ITEN; LightEdge Solutions

Supporters: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center; Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships; Think Big Partners; and the UMKC Bloch School of Business.

Techweek takes center stage in local tech scene this week

Techweek returns to Kansas City for its third annual technology / entrepreneur conference + festival this week – Monday through Friday. The local LaunchKC grant competition for tech startups will anchor the conference on Friday.

The third annual Techweek Kansas City conference + festival returns to KC on today (Monday, Sept. 11), featuring a week of learning, networking and playing, along with the final round of competition in the annual LaunchKC $500,000 grants competition for tech entrepreneurs on Friday, Sept. 15.

“Kansas City is one of the country’s most influential, up-and-coming tech hubs,” said Amanda Signorelli, Techweek CEO. “The community has given Techweek a warm welcome.”

A quick highlight reel of the complete Techweek KC schedule for 2017 includes:

  • Monday, Sept. 11 – 1 p.m. Blocktrain Learning Track at Sprint Accelerator; 5 p.m. Innovation Partnership Program Demo Day at We Work; 5 p.m. Pure Pitch Rally at Helix; 7 p.m. Kickoff Party at Boulevard Beer Hall
  • Tuesday, Sept. 12 – 11 a.m. Building Inclusive Tech Communities  at Missouri Career Centers; 1 p.m. Tech, Talk and Touch Tomorrow at the Cerner Northland campus; 5:30 p.m. Official Happy Hour at VML
  • Wednesday, Sept. 13 – 9 a.m. Why Communities Should Be Investing in Inclusivity at We Work; 11 a.m. Demand Generation at ECJC; 1 p.m. Future of Animal Health Corridor at Travois; 3 p.m. KC’s Leaders in Mobile Technology at Pure Pursuit Event Space; 5 p.m. Barrels and Brushes Happy Hour by Husch Blackwell at the J. Rieger Distillery
  • Thursday, Sept. 14 – All day Growth Summit. Program begins at 8 a.m. with Women in Tech Breakfast. Sessions are planned for the entire day, including a Hiring Fair at noon. All sessions are set for the at the Plexpod Westport Commons.
  • Friday, Sept. 15 – LaunchKC Day to feature:
    • 8:30 a.m. Keynote address by Kathryn Minshew of The Muse; and
    • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. LaunchKC finalists to pitch their business plans at The Gallery, Power & Light District
    • 5 p.m. Techweek and LaunchKC awards reception and program at The Grand Hall, historic Power & Light Building

To reserve your spot for any or all Techweek / LaunchKC event, visit Techweek Kansas City to select your ticket options.

 

Techweek is a technology and startup festival with the objective of catalyzing the growth of billion-dollar businesses and spreading wealth creation to diverse people and places. Techweek operates out of Chicago, and features annual technology conferences in nine North American cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City. Techweek has been featured as one of the top 30 conferences for entrepreneurs in 2017 by Inc. Magazine.

The complete Techweek Kansas City conference schedule for Monday through Friday, Sept. 11-15 is available for viewing online. The week will reach a crescendo with the LaunchKC competition on Friday, Sept. 15. The 20 LaunchKC finalists will make their pitches on Friday morning. The nine grant winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony that evening.

LaunchKC, the global grants competition powered by the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corporation, is in its third year of operations and in using the Techweek platform to stage the final round of pitches

“LaunchKC was a startup itself when we organized and launched the first grants competition in 2014/15,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council. “And, now, at the end of the LaunchKC day at Techweek, we will have awarded a total of $1.5 million to 29 tech entrepreneurs in our first three years.”

 

Techweek & LaunchKC prep for center stage on Sept. 11-15

Techweek returns to Kansas City for its third annual technology / entrepreneur conference + festival from Sept. 11-15. The local LaunchKC grant competition for tech startups will anchor the conference on Friday, Sept. 15.

The third annual Techweek Kansas City conference + festival returns to KC on Monday, Sept. 11, featuring a week of learning, networking and playing, along with the final round of competition in the annual LaunchKC $500,000 grants competition for tech entrepreneurs on Friday, Sept. 15.

“Kansas City is one of the country’s most influential, up-and-coming tech hubs,” said Amanda Signorelli, Techweek CEO. “The community has given Techweek a warm welcome.”

A quick highlight reel of the complete Techweek KC schedule for 2017 includes:

  • Monday, Sept. 11 – 1 p.m. Blocktrain Learning Track at Sprint Accelerator; 5 p.m. Pure Pitch Rally at Helix; 7 p.m. Kickoff Party at Boulevard Beer Hall
  • Tuesday, Sept. 12 – 11 a.m. Building Inclusive Tech Communities  at Missouri Career Centers; 1 p.m. Tech, Talk and Tour Tomorrow at the Cerner campus; 5:30 p.m. Official Happy Hour at VML
  • Wednesday, Sept. 13 – 1 p.m. Future of Animal Health Corridor at Travois; 3 p.m. KC’s Leaders in Mobile Technology at Pure Pursuit Event Space; 5 p.m. Barrels and Brushes Happy Hour by Husch Blackwell at the J. Rieger Distillery
  • Thursday, Sept. 14 – All day Growth Summit at the Plexpod Westport Commons. Program begins at 8 a.m. with Women in Tech Breakfast. Sessions are planned for the entire day, including a Hiring Fair at noon.
  • Friday, Sept. 15 – LaunchKC Day to feature:
    • 8:30 a.m. Keynote address by Kathryn Minshew of The Muse; and
    • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. LaunchKC finalists to pitch their business plans at The Gallery, Power & Light District
    • 5 p.m. Techweek and LaunchKC awards reception and program at The Grand Hall, historic Power & Light Building

To reserve your spot for any or all Techweek / LaunchKC event, visit Techweek Kansas City to select your ticket options.

Techweek is a technology and startup festival with the objective of catalyzing the growth of billion-dollar businesses and spreading wealth creation to diverse people and places. Techweek operates out of Chicago, and features annual technology conferences in nine North American cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City. Techweek has been featured as one of the top 30 conferences for entrepreneurs in 2017 by Inc. Magazine.

The complete Techweek Kansas City conference schedule for Sept. 11-15 is available for viewing online. The week will reach a crescendo with the LaunchKC competition on Friday, Sept. 15. The 20 LaunchKC finalists will make their pitches on Friday morning. The nine grant winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony that evening.

LaunchKC, the global grants competition powered by the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corporation, is in its third year of operations and in using the Techweek platform to stage the final round of pitches

“LaunchKC was a startup itself when we organized and launched the first grants competition in 2014/15,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council. “And, now, at the end of the LaunchKC day at Techweek, we will have awarded a total of $1.5 million to 29 tech entrepreneurs in our first three years.”

 

 

LaunchKC advances 20 businesses to competition finals

LaunchKC has selected 20 businesses to compete for nine grants totaling $500,000 at the LaunchKC grant competition at Techweek on Sept. 15. Steering Committee chair Rachel Merlo of Google Fiber is pictured during an address to Downtown Council members and stakeholders earlier this year.

 

LaunchKC announced today its selection of 20 tech entrepreneurs who will be in Kansas City in three weeks to compete for $500,000 in grants, and an opportunity to build their business enterprises here. The finalists were selected from a pool of 400 grant applicants.

The 20 contenders include 14 from the Kansas City metropolitan area; five from four U.S. states; and one international business from the Ukraine. Each will be in Kansas City in mid-September to compete for nine startup grants, during the Techweek Kansas City conference + festival from Sept. 11-15.

“It has been another strong year for applications to LaunchKC,” said Drew Solomon, senior vice president of business development at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri, and competition chairman for LaunchKC. “We are very fortunate to have the immense support of our judges, sponsors and the Kansas City community in securing the final 20 who will compete for the $500,000 available in this year’s competition.”

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

LaunchKC is a global grants competition designed to attract tech entrepreneurs to compete for $500,000 in non-dilutive grants and the opportunity to build their new and emerging tech businesses in Kansas City, Missouri. This year, LaunchKC will award nine grants on Friday, Sept. 15, including eight $50,000 grants and one grand prize award of $100,000.

“LaunchKC has attracted nearly 1,500 applications from throughout the nation and the world during our first three years of competition,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council. “When we award the next $500,000 at Techweek, we will have reached $1.5 million mark in awards in just three years.”

Today’s announcement marks the culmination of weeks of application reviews and scoring by a panel of more than 35 business and financial leaders, who volunteered their time to thoughtfully narrow the field from 400 applicants from 19 states and five nations to the 20 finalists announced today.

The 20 finalists (alphabetically, by company name and team leader) for the Launch KC grants competition include:

  • Aware Vehicles: ZhiQiang Chen, Kansas City, Mo.
  • backstitch: Jordan Warzecha, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Blue Point 2: Liderman Duin, Leawood, Kan.
  • Cambrian Tech: Heather Spalding, Leawood, Kan.
  • H3 Enterprises: Roy Scott, Kansas City. Mo.
  • HerdDogg: Melissa Brandao, Longmont, Colo.
  • Hidden Abilities: Jamee Miller, Lawrence, Kan.
  • iShare Medical: Linda VanHorn, Kansas City, Mo.
  • MenuHunt: Beau Clinton, St. Joseph, Mo.
  • Miles: Lance Windholz, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Music Spoke: Jennifer Rosenblatt, Kansas City, Kan.
  • PlanIT Impact: Dominique Davison, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Play-it Health: Kimberly Gandy, Kansas City, Kan.
  • Redivus Health: Jeff Dunn, Olathe, Kan.
  • Sickweather: Graham Dodge, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Smart Bridge Health: Hua Wang, Washington, D.C.
  • TradeLanes: Vijay Harrell, Kansas City, Mo.
  • UniExo: Tatiana Holovachenko, Ukraine
  • Vytal: Jared Goering, McPherson, Kan.
  • Zitches: Bart Patenaude, Kansas City, Mo.

In addition to cash grants, the nine winning applicants will receive a network of support, including 12 months of free office space in Downtown KC; industry-specific mentor teams for each grant recipient; and opportunities to meet and learn from industry and entrepreneurial leaders in and around Kansas City – all designed to elevate their efforts to build high-growth, tech sector businesses and jobs in Downtown Kansas City.

“LaunchKC is built to be an economic game-changer in Kansas City, Missouri by supporting start-up businesses, creating jobs, attracting talent, unlocking value and engaging follow-on investors,” Hurd said.

LaunchKC is a nonprofit, civic engine in the Kansas City entrepreneurial space.

The program is fueled each year by the visionary support of corporate, public and philanthropic partners. For 2017, the sponsor honor roll includes:

Supporters: Missouri Technology Corporation; the City of Kansas City, Missouri

Visionaries: Husch Blackwell; KCP&L; The Cordish Companies / Kansas City Power & Light District; William T. Kemper Foundation; Techweek; UMB Bank; Downtown Council of Kansas City; Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City

Contributing: Burns & McDonnell; Lathrop & Gage: Lead Bank; Missouri Department of Economic Development; Polsinelli; Spring Venture Group

Emerging: Allied Global; J.E. Dunn Construction; Google Fiber

Friends: Adknowledge; ITEN; LightEdge Solutions

Supporters: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center; Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships; Think Big Partners; and the UMKC Bloch School of Business.

 

LaunchKC begins judging hundreds of applications

Blooom the local financial technology business, was one of 10 startups to win $50,000 grants from LaunchKC during its first competition in 2015.

LaunchKC, the global grants competition for tech entrepreneurs, completed a successful application campaign in July – topping its goal for number of applications to the 2017 competition.

About 400 applicants from 19 states and five nations were submitted by entrepreneurs who will be competing for $500,000 in LaunchKC grants that will be awarded at the Techweek Kansas City conference in September.

“LaunchKC has attracted about 1,500 applications from throughout the nation and the world during our first three years of competition,” said Drew Solomon, who chairs the competition for LaunchKC. “This year’s field is a tough one – with great talent, vision and drive clearly visible in their applications and pitch videos.”

Following an extensive judging process that begins this week, the field will be pared down by late August to 20 finalists who will compete for nine grants – including a $100,000 grand prize and eight $50,000 grants – on Friday, Sept. 15 at the Techweek KC conference.

“LaunchKC has attracted about 1,500 applications from throughout the nation and the world during our first three years of competition,” said Drew Solomon, who chairs the competition for LaunchKC. “This year’s field is a tough one – with great talent, vision and drive clearly visible in their applications and pitch videos.”

LaunchKC is a nonprofit initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

LaunchKC is fueled by the visionary support of corporate, public and philanthropic partners, including:

  • Strategic: Missouri Technology Corporation, the City of Kansas City, Missouri
  • Visionary: Kansas City Power & Light District, William T. Kemper Foundation, UMB Bank
  • Contributing: Burns & McDonnell, Google Fiber, KCP&L, Lead Bank, Husch Blackwell, Missouri Department of Economic Development, Polsinelli, Techweek
  • Emerging: J.E. Dunn Construction, Lathrop & Gage
  • Friends: Allied Global, ITEN, Marriott Downtown Kansas City
  • Supporters: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center, Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships, Think Big Partners, UMKC Bloch School of Business