A local tech founder is transforming his Kansas City, Kan., home to eventually become the area’s next incubator program.
Sports Photos founder Brandon Schatz recently launched the “Kansas City Startup Home” to host entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world. While it’s now serving as an Airbnb destination for techies, Schatz said in the next two months his house will become an incubator for those developing smart home technologies.
“It’s budding up now,” Schatz said. “Smart home technology is a huge market and also a personal interest. I love this stuff. … There are so many more things that companies can put together for smart homes. It’s an enormous industry.”
The program is located in the Kansas City Startup Village — near 45th and State Line Road — and adopts an idea from one of its neighbors, the Homes for Hackers program. Homes for Hackers welcomes techies from around the world to stay at the home rent-free for three to six months to work on projects.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to come to Kansas City to build connected-home technologies.” – Matthew Marcus
But instead of working on their own and staying for free, Schatz’s program will negotiate an equity swap in exchange for rent, mentorship and tech consultation. Schatz also would put an application process in place to select candidates for the incubator. Schatz has spent $15,000 on renovating the six-bedroom, two-bath house and plans to host up to six founders for the incubator. The home also has access to Google Fiber’s gigabit internet plan.
Schatz is already working on smart home technology called “Fridge Share.” Geared toward those in the home-sharing economy with services like Airbnb or VRBO, the tech would allow hosts to easily track and charge tenants for food in their refrigerators.
The incubator would become the latest asset for the Kansas City Startup Village. Founded in 2012, the village is a community of entrepreneurs that serendipitously moved to the first neighborhood to receive Google Fiber. It now serves as a home to more than 25 startup firms.
Matthew Marcus, a co-leader of the Kansas City Startup Village, said that the community is thrilled to see the idea.
“We’re super excited to hear about these types of innovative initiatives that continue to make Kansas City a fantastic place for entrepreneurship and tech,” Marcus said. “For the village itself, it’s fun to see the transformations that happen over time. … It’s an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to come to Kansas City to build connected-home technologies.”