13 reasons to apply for a LaunchKC grant

LaunchKC is accepting applications from tech entrepreneurs now through July 2. The eventual 10 winning applicants will be awarded $50,000 grants at the first Techweek Kansas City conference in September.

LaunchKC is accepting applications from tech entrepreneurs now through July 2. The eventual 10 winning applicants will be awarded $50,000 grants at the first Techweek Kansas City conference in September.


Tech entrepreneurs are running short on time to apply for a $50,000 LaunchKC grant.

LaunchKC, the global grants competition for tech startup business, will continue to accept applications through Thursday, July 2. The application window opened on March 31.

LaunchKC is grants competition for tech entrepreneurs to apply and compete for one of 10 (ten) $50,000 grants and a leg up in growing their business enterprises in Kansas City, Missouri. Each eventual grant recipient will receive a $50,000 grant and a network of support, including 12 months of free office space in Downtown; 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 KC.

Following an extended application review process, the eventual grant recipients will be selected by a LaunchKC judging panel consisting of Kansas City business leaders and national venture capitalists at Techweek Kansas City on Sept. 18, 2015.

“We are looking for the best and brightest to enter the grants competition and compete to bring their business models to Kansas City,” said Mike Hurd, chief marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council. “We have about 25 days to go before the application window closes – so you still have plenty of time to enter.”

Ryan Pendell, editor of Silicon Prairie News, the Omaha-based digital news service for the regional tech scene, recently spoke to Hurd and published a list of the 13 reasons you should apply for a LaunchKC grant.

The SPN list is a keeper: 

1. You get a $50,000 grant

You won’t have to give up any equity for this. It’s a $50,000 non-dilutive grant distributed over the course of a year. In return, you make a 2 year commitment to locate significant operations or headquarters in Kansas City. Did we mention there’s 10 of them?

2. You receive free (and very cool) office space for a year

The grant includes 12 months of free, fully-furnished office space in downtown Kansas City in the Crossroads Arts District. Not only that, but your offices will be located very close to some of KC’s hottest startup hubs, including Think Big Partners and the Sprint Accelerator powered by Techstars.

3. LaunchKC is based on the successful Arch Grants model

LaunchKC is following in the footsteps of the Arch Grants program out of St. Louis. “We’ve been able to learn from Arch Grants experience,” said Hurd. “And they’ve been very successful.”

4. You will be paired with a mentor pool to support you

The perks of the grant have been the primary attraction for applicants so far, which include an industry-specific mentor pool. “It’s not just one mentor,” said Hurd. “It’s a whole team of experts designed to give you great learning opportunities.”

5. KC’s got Google Fiber

We probably don’t have to tell you this, but Kansas City is one of eight cities in the country that offers Google’s gigabit Internet speeds.

6. They probably fit your niche

LaunchKC is looking for startups across a wide range of sectors that Kansas City specializes in: AgTech, EdTech, FinTech, Health Tech, Real Estate Tech, Mobile, Cloud, Big Data, Animal Health, and Advanced Manufacturing.

7. The grant is attracting companies from over 16 states and 3 foreign countries

According to Hurd, the program has already received over 300 applications completed or in process so far. “We have applications from both coasts,” said Hurd. “We’re really excited about that.”

8. Gobs of free professional services–legal, accounting, marketing, networking, etc.

If you win, you’ll receive a host free services for your business, as well as opportunities to learn at the Kauffman Foundation, a $2 billion private foundation with a focus on entrepreneurship.

9. They define “early stage” and “startup” loosely

According to the LaunchKC website, “We do not place a limit on the length of time your startup has operated or how much outside funding you have received prior to applying.”  Applicants will be judged on innovation, scalability, total impact and the talent and diversity of the team.

10. Kansas City’s low cost of living

Another reason applicants have been attracted to the grant has been KC’s affordability. Kansas City ranks below average on overall cost of living, while still having nationally recognized culture and ammenities. “If you want to take a risk on the coasts, it’s more expensive,” said Hurd. “In the Midwest it’s easier to stretch.”

11. Even if you don’t win a grant, you still have a chance to demo at Techweek

The final round of judging will occur at Techweek KC this year in September. The day before, however, LaunchKC will be flying in at least 20 of the finalists and semi-finalists to present in a demo day at Techweek.

12. The KC lifestyle

Kansas City has one of the Top 10 best downtown’s in the nation, according to Forbes. It also has the reputation for being a world-class cultural hub, with it’s own unique flavor of food, music, art and sports.

13. You still have until July 2, 2015

You still have a whole month left to apply. You can learn more about how to apply at launchkc.org.