A quintet of startup firms are working with the City of Kansas City, Mo. as part of its Innovation Partnership Program.
Launched in 2015, IPP pairs area startups with city departments to not only identify new efficiencies but also offer the firm a chance to earn business with the city. After being designated a department to work with, the startup is provided city data and access to infrastructure, working closely with the Office of Innovation and receiving part-time office space in City Hall.
The new cohort represents the city’s third group of innovation partners. KCMO innovation analyst Kate Garman said she’s excited to work with the new, savvy tech firms.
She added that the third cohort will be the first group to partner with parks and rec, as well as the Kansas City Credit Union.
“This group brings diversity in what departments we can partner with,” Garman said. “City staff will be able to continue working with innovative and unique ideas that entrepreneurs are working on. And the entrepreneurs get a point of contact in the city to ask candid questions like how they can better improve their product or service, and what regulations they need to consider. Once again we will have guests come speak to the cohort, such as a session on how to navigate procurement in cities, and they will talk with previous IPP partners.”
Kansas City Mayor Sly James said he’s excited to see the innovative fruits of the partnerships.
“This program brings talent and technology to City Hall in a truly unique way” Mayor Sly James said in a release. “The partnership is what makes innovation possible. This program allows the city and startup community to identify challenges and solutions, together.”
The 12-week program with run from June 12 through Sept. 1. In September, the partners will present their technology services and discuss their pilot program experience in a pitch to Mayor James and City Manager Troy Schulte, as well as other attendees from city departments and the Kansas City Council.
“This is about our commitment as a city to our people, and to innovative solutions,” James said in a release. “I look forward to what this year’s group can do to make our city government more effective and efficient.”
Partners were selected based on their ability to support economic development and operations strategies such as improving quality and efficiency of city services and operations, supporting environment quality efforts with the city, engaging neighborhoods, improving economic vitality and social equity, the city said.
Here’s more on the firms selected.
Company: KC Crew, founder Luke Wade
Partner city department: Parks and Rec
KC Crew was created to connect adults through sports and events. Its software tool, League Ally, is a was created to automate sports leagues and connect individuals through sports.
“We look forward to working with KCMO to help us refine our software so that we can help parks and recreation departments around the country,” KC Crew founder Luke Wade said in a release.
Company: mySidewalk, Stephen Hardy
Partner city department: Office of Performance Management
mySidewalk is a city intelligence tool that tracks, analyze and communicate progress on department and citywide goals. For the 2017 Innovation Partnership Program Cohort, mySidewalk will focus on helping the City of Kansas City streamline their process for reporting on KPIs, and amplify their analytic capabilities, particularly from a geospatial perspective, the company said.
Company: 1773, founder Conner Hazelrigg
Partner city department: Office of the City Manager
1773 created the Sunshine Box, which is designed specifically to narrow the gap for ‘mobile-first’ technology users and access to reliable electricity. The system supports charging 10 devices, is portable, and waterproof.
Company: MPiR, CEO Scott Smith
Partner city department: Parks & Rec and City Planning
MPiR is an urban farming business that provides fresh and organic produce to feed communities using re-purposed shipping containers equipped with the latest technology.
“We are thrilled to have been selected to partner with the city of Kansas City, MO through their Innovation Partnership Program, which provides access to vast city resources for ideation that are not usually available to entrepreneurs”, MPiR CEO Scott Smith said in a release.
Company: Onward Financial, Ben White and Ronnie Washington
Partner city department: Kansas City Credit Union
Onward Financial is a nonprofit financial wellness platform that helps working people build a financial safety net. As part of the IPP, we will work with Kansas City Credit Union to deliver innovative resources to help their members reach financial goals.