Lots of tech start-up activity is taking place in Kansas City, home of Duct Tape Marketing, the Kauffman Foundation and the first city to receive Google Fiber in late 2012 in an estimated half billion dollar investment. Long referred to as the “Silicon Prairie,” Kansas City is quietly making its mark as a great place for startups of all flavors.
Here’s a roundup of some recent projects going in KC.
Ten startups launch into the Sprint/Techstars Mobile Health Accelerator: Ten mobile-health related startups from across the U.S. and Australia arrived in KC this week for a three-month intensive mentor-driven program. This is a Sprint (NYSE: S) and Techstars partnership to develop solutions that encompass hardware, software platforms, big data and mobile apps in the healthcare industry. Spokespeople include Kevin McGuinnis of Sprint and Ryan Weber of KCnext.
Digital Sandbox KC companies raise $7M in less than one year: This month, Digital Sandbox KC announced it has helped 19 startups raise $7 million in follow-on funding, surpassing its goal six months early. Initially funded by a $1 million federal i6 Challenge Grant, Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage technology companies with up to $25,000 in resources (not cash) to help them grow. Spokespeople include Jeff Shackleford, director of the program, and successful startups like ShotTracker, Trellie and Divvy.
Google announced expansion of Fiber to nine new metros: Kansas City became the first city to receive Google Fiber in late 2012 in an estimated half billion dollar investment. Startups using Google Fiber include Brandon Schatz of SportsPhotos.com, Neil Anderson of Psicurity and Handprint, a 3D printing company that won the Brad Feld competition to live rent-free for a year in the KC Startup Village.
Other initiatives backing startups in KC are Think Big Partners, an early stage accelerator in partnership with Microsoft Ventures and BetaBlox, a Kansas City business incubator and accelerator that just announced it’s expanding its model beyond Kansas City. I recently attended the BetaBlox Demo Day and discovered a decidedly non tech startup called Ship and Dip. I loved the concept and founders so much I decided to become an adviser.
If you’ve not checked out the startup scene in Kansas City you’re missing out!