LaunchKC announces 20 finalists for 2018 grants competition

Grant winners from the 2017 LaunchKC competition celebrated their selections at the close of the LaunchKC Pitch Day last September. This year’s competition marks the fourth annual entrepreneurial showdown in Downtown KC.

LaunchKC today revealed 20 finalists for its fourth annual grants competition for tech entrepreneurs.

LaunchKC attracts hundreds of tech entrepreneurs each year – including a 32 percent increase and a near-record 586 applicants this year – to compete for cash grants and an opportunity to build and grow their new businesses in Kansas City.

The 20 entrepreneurs will be in Kansas City in five weeks to compete for non-dilutive grants on Friday, Oct. 12, during LaunchKC Pitch Day on the final day of the Techweek Kansas City conference at Union Station.

This year’s finalists include 12 from the Kansas City metropolitan area; another seven from six different U.S. states; and one international business from Israel.

“It was a robust year for applications and strong applicants,” said Drew Solomon, senior vice president of business and job development for the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri, and competition chair for LaunchKC. “We put our panel of judges to the test as they thoroughly evaluated each application over the last five weeks.”

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

LaunchKC is a national grants competition designed to attract tech entrepreneurs to compete for non-dilutive grants and the opportunity to build their new and emerging tech businesses in Kansas City, Missouri.

“LaunchKC has attracted more than 2,100 applications from throughout the nation and the world during our four years of competitions,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council.

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 586 applicants to the 20 finalists announced today.

The finalists (listed alphabetically by company name, current location and business type) for the LaunchKC grants competition include:

  • AgVoice – Atlanta, Ga. – Ag Tech
  • Bluepoint2 – Leawood, Kan. – Health Tech
  • Boddle Learning – Kansas City, Mo. – Ed Tech
  • Bungii – Overland Park, Kan. – Mobile Technology
  • Case Helper – Kansas City, Mo. – Cloud Services
  • Digs – Chicago, Ill. – Fin Tech
  • Erkios Systems – Kansas City, Mo. – Network Security
  • Just Play Sports Solutions – Lawrence, Kan. – Cloud Services
  • Listing, LLC – Kansas City, Mo. – Real Estate Tech
  • MindSport – Overland Park, Kan. – Health Tech
  • Motega Health – Lawrence, Kan. – Health Tech
  • OpenCities – Kansas City, Mo. – Cloud Services
  • PlaBook – Kansas City, Mo. – Ed Tech
  • Project Ray – Yokneam, Israel – Mobile Technology
  • Realquantum – Overland Park, Kan. – Fin Tech
  • – San Francisco, Calif. – Ag Tech
  • SaRA Health – Kansas City, Mo. – Health Tech
  • SmartBridge – Bethesda, Md. – Health Tech
  • Strayos – St. Louis, Mo. – Data Analytics
  • Venture360 – Lee’s Summit, Mo. – Fin Tech

In addition to cash grants, finalists are competing for a network of business startup support, including 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 by supporting start-up businesses, creating jobs, attracting talent, unlocking value and engaging follow-on investors,” Hurd said.

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.

“We are continually searching for the best and brightest startups or early stage tech businesses,” Solomon said. “We want to help these entrepreneurs make their business dreams come true in Kansas City.

LaunchKC is fueled each year by the visionary support of corporate, public and philanthropic partners. For 2018, the sponsor honor roll includes:


Missouri Technology Corporation; the City of Kansas City, Missouri


Husch Blackwell; Kansas City Power & Light District / The Cordish Companies; Downtown Council of Kansas City; Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City; KCP&L; William T. Kemper Foundation; Lead Bank; Missouri Department of Economic Development


Dunn Family Foundation; Google Fiber; Lathrop Gage, Polsinelli; Spring Venture Group


Adknowledge; American Century Investments; Balance Point; ITEN; LightEdge Solutions; Metropolitan Community College, Parson & Associates, RubinBrown


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