One of my favorite parts of journalism is the “Hm!” moment.
They are the occasions when reading, watching or listening to a story whose details yield an inborn reaction of fascination or intrigue. They can’t be stopped. When your curiosity piqued, “Hmm!” is an impulse.
“The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket produced 5 million pounds of thrust — the equivalent of eighteen 747 airplanes firing at once … Hm!”
Startland News hopes to bring you many “Hm!” moments in 2018 — not only through stories, but also with our events. To that end, we’re excited to announce the reignition of the Innovation Exchange series.
For those unfamiliar, the Innovation Exchange offers attendees a more intimate conduit to newsmakers in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. In fireside chat-style interviews, we’ll invite experts and leaders on stage to share their backstories, insights and thoughts on a topic or trend. Audience members have the opportunity to ask guests their questions as well as participate in a quiz derived from Startland News reporting.
Since it launched in 2016, the Innovation Exchange has welcomed hundreds of attendees and played host to such guests as Victor Hwang, the vice president of entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Darcy Howe, managing director of the KCRise Fund; Toby Rush, CEO of Zoloz; Joni Cobb, CEO of Pipeline; Davyeon Ross, co-founder of ShotTracker; and dozens of other innovators.
We’re thrilled to return in 2018 with several new presenting sponsors, including Plexpod, Polsinelli PC, the Brain Family Holding Company and GXP Investments. Without these organizations’ support, the Innovation Exchange would not be possible. We’re not only thankful for their support of the Innovation Exchange but also their unyielding enthusiasm in cultivating Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
We’d also like to recognize Think Big Partners and the Kansas City Social Innovation Center, which co-founded the Innovation Exchange with Startland News. As you might have seen, Think Big is doubling down its efforts to drive smart city innovations and has launched a new incubator program named Think Big Labs.
“From the onset, Think Big and the Kansas City Social Innovation Center believed in the Innovation Exchange event’s ability to connect the right people through education in an entertaining and engaging format,” said Herb Sih, managing partner of Think Big Partners. “We hope Kansas City’s startups, entrepreneurs, corporations interested in innovation and community leaders have grown as a result of it and we’ve been proud to have helped provide it for the community. We’re excited to see Innovation Exchange take off in 2018 as we focus on Think Big Labs and our Smart City innovation, economic development and advisory services.”
We appreciate Think Big supporting the Innovation Exchange’s mission to date and we’re thankful they’ll remain a community partner of the Innovation Exchange.
Up next for the Innovation Exchange
Our next Innovation Exchange, set for Feb. 27 at Plexpod Westport Commons, will celebrate firms featured in Startland News’ Top Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2018.
We’re inviting founders of all 11 firms to meet one another and the community as part of a celebratory event recognizing their promising businesses. The founders also are encouraged to hop on stage to share their stories and what’s next for their firms.
Stay tuned for more information on this event. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you about what types of topics you’d like us to feature in 2018. In the comments below, please share some ideas of content or guests you’d like to see and we’ll consider them as we plan our next events.
If you’d like to attend and celebrate these Kansas City startups, RSVP here.
As always, thank you for reading — we’ll see you soon!