LaunchKC evlevates grants program to accelerator platform

Drew Solomon, right, prepares to reveal the nine 2018 LaunchKC grant winners, during a ceremony at No Other Pub in October,

LaunchKC opens the next chapter of its evolution this week.

Over the past four years, LaunchKC has awarded $2 million to attract and retain 38 tech startup businesses in Kansas City. Beginning this week, LaunchKC will grow from a 5-year-old grants-based program into a tech accelerator platform that will feature advantages and opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and the tech ecosystem of Kansas City.

“The bottom line of the new platform is to attract scalable companies to the city to create more jobs and opportunities while growing our economy,” said Drew Solomon, senior vice president, business and job development for the Economic Development Corp. (EDC) of Kansas City, Mo.

LaunchKC is a joint venture of the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the EDC.

Solomon explained that industry-focused business accelerators provide a more complete bundle of benefits for entrepreneurs, including seed investment, connections, mentorship and educational components. The new LaunchKC programs will feature public pitch days to showcase each cohort of entrepreneurs. The events are designed to introduce their polished business pitches, and open the door to accelerating their growth.

LaunchKC is working to support three KC-based industry-focused accelerators in 2019, including a second year with Fountain City Fintech (financial technology) with nbkc bank, a health tech accelerator that is currently in the works, and a CleanTech accelerator that will be announced on Wednesday.

To learn more about the LaunchKC strategy, check out today’s story in Startland