To the delight of its leader, Techstars Kansas City’s first class has a hearty local flavor.
Techstars KC on Monday welcomed 10 tech firms — five of which hail from Kansas and Missouri — for its three-month, mentor-led program that rapidly accelerates startup companies.
With ambitions to transform the companies into global tech titans, Techstars KC managing director Lesa Mitchell said she’s thrilled with the caliber of the diverse firms.
“The goal of Techstars is identifying first-in-class tech companies and I think we found that here,” Mitchell said of the new class. “We always have a goal of identifying companies that have a serious long tail and have a huge opportunity with lots of different products down the roadway. We have that with a number of the companies.”
In exchange for 6 percent equity, Techstars startups receive $120,000, participation in the accelerator program and access to an impressive list of mentors as well as, Techstars’ global network of alumni and mentors.
The inaugural Techstars KC class is a diverse hodgepodge of industries, including ed tech, artificial intelligence, law, virtual reality, food and more. Mitchell also pulled the firms from a variety of U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Austin, Phoenix, Wichita, Kansas City and more.
Mitchell said she’s excited to cultivate so many promising firms from the Kansas City area.
“I was so hopeful we would find companies from the Midwest,” she said. “I wasn’t really thinking about KC — I was thinking Midwest in general. The fact that four companies made it through the selection — I’m blown away. … The selection committee was blown away by the Kansas City companies.”
Boulder-based Techstars announced in October that it’d be creating a broadly-focused accelerator program in Kansas City. From 2014 to 2016, the firm partnered with Overland Park-based Sprint to offer a mobile tech accelerator program.
The City of Fountains is the second smallest city in which the accelerator firm operates after Boulder. Techstars hosts programs in Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Berlin, London, Paris and others.
The new cohort begins its Kansas City program Monday at Techstars KC’s office at WeWork Corrigan Station. A culminating demo day event is set for Oct. 12 at the Folly Theater.
Without further ado, here is Techstar Kansas City’s inaugural class:
- Ampogee (Greensboro, N.C.) – Ampogee gamifies manufacturing to engage and motivate employees.
- CasaIQ (Kansas City, Mo.) – CasaIQ is a smart home solution for multi-family properties.
- GRIT Virtual Construction (Wichita, Kan.) – GRIT Virtual Construction creates virtual reality software for architects and contractors that simulates construction.
- Hanzo (Kansas City, Mo.) – Hanzo created a platform that helps companies quickly scale and fund innovative products and businesses.
- NexusEdge Career (Santa Monica, Calif.) NexusEdge Career has built an artificial intelligence platform for lifelong learning.
- Planetarians (Kansas City, Mo.) – Planetarians offers high fiber protein food from food waste at the price of food stamps.
- REP AI (San Francisco, Calif.) – REP AI created an artificial intelligence sport and physical rehabilitation tool to deliver objective assessments and manage compliance of training.
- Somatic Labs (Phoenix, Ariz.) – Somatic Labs offers software and hardware products that aim to enable a future of wearable devices that leverage human feeling and touch.
- TeacherTalent (Austin, Texas) – TeacherTalent uses big data to predict teacher effectiveness and match the best teachers with client schools.
- Vector Legal Method (Kansas City, Mo.) – Vector Legal Method is building a comprehensive litigation case management, collaboration and analytics application.