An international grant competition that will welcome 10 new tech firms to Kansas City has cut a few hundred companies from its field of applicants.
LaunchKC — which aims to attract 10 tech firms to relocate to KC with $50,000 grants — notified 100 finalists of the competition on Wednesday via an email. Judges identified the 100 finalists out of a pool of nearly 500 applicants from 17 states and eight different countries.
“If you are receiving this then you should congratulate yourself on advancing in the competition to the Round of 100,” reads the email, which was sent by the administrator of the LaunchKC Global Grants Competition. “Be proud of that as there were over 300 companies, who have not been advanced to this level. While there are still more rounds to go through and only 20 will advance to the finals, you should be very proud.”
LaunchKC plans to further whittle down its applicant field to 20 finalists, which will be announced on Aug 28. Those 20 companies will compete for the 10 grants of $50,000 each during a pitch competition on Sept. 18 during Kansas City’s Techweek conference, which will be held on Sept. 14 to Sept. 20.
LaunchKC’s 10 grant winners also can access a year of free office space at either Think Big or Lead Bank, and also will receive free legal, marketing, accounting, cloud computing and educational opportunities. The companies must agree to relocate to Kansas City for at least two years.
LaunchKC and Techweek partnered to present the pitch competition, which will serve as the Techweek’s keystone event. In addition to a $50,000 LaunchKC grant, the winning firm from the pitch contest will have a shot at an added $50,000 from a national Techweek competition. The winner of the Kansas City competition will slug it out for the additional $50,000 at Techweek’s “Launch Championship.” The Launch Championship will be held in Miami.
Techweek is a South-by-Southwest style event that features a variety of programs, including a job fair, fashion show, speakers, social events and many others. The conference is expecting 3,000 to 5,000 attendees during its inaugural event in Kansas City.
Techweek held a countdown party in Kansas City on Monday, which revealed more details about the conference’s schedule and speaker list. Click here to learn more about that event.
LaunchKC received a $250,000 matching grant from the Missouri Technology Corporation, and the funds were matched by several area corporate and philanthropic groups. Drew Solomon, vice president of business and job development at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, said that LaunchKC hopes not only to boost the economy through new businesses, but also show that the area has companies worthy of investments.
“This competition serves as an excellent calling card for people to understand that there’s the potential for a fertile landscape and good opportunities for investable deals here,” Solomon said. “Through the creation of a competition like this, Kansas City and our corporate partners have made a very declarative statement that we want to entertain and develop relationships with folks in the venture capital community.”