After a morning evaluating 20 pitches at Union Station, a panel of LaunchKC judges revealed the 10 startups that each snagged a $50,000 grant.
LaunchKC — which distributes $500,000 via 10, $50,000 non-dilutive grants — drew more than 400 tech startup applicants for the second year in a row. The 20 finalists included 11 from the Kansas City metro area, seven other states and one international startup hailing from Austria.
In addition to a $50,000 grant, a winning entrepreneur receives other benefits, including free office space for one year; industry-specific mentors; and professional services, in areas such as legal, financial, and marketing. The grant competition is led by the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City and the Downtown Council of Kansas City.
Here’s more on the 10 winners:
- Big Bang is a cloud services platform that was founded by Jonathan Wagner founded in 2014. From Kansas City, Mo., the service offers SDKs and APIs that assist developers in creating secure, low-latency, real-time IoT applications.
- BLITAB, based in Austria, created the first braille tablet for blind and visually impaired people with text to speech software. Founded by Kristina Tsvetanova and Slavi Slavev in 2014, the duo believes this technology could disrupt the digital lifestyle of the visually impaired.
- ConsultUS developed CommodiTrade Mill Manager, which is a software as a service helping feed mill managers lower the cost of IT needs.
- FEWDM develops fitness technology products out of Kansas City, MO. The company currently offers the OmniBall and ROCK 360. Tommy and Kacie Saunders founded the company in 2012 to create products that are engaging and effective.
- Forest Devices was co-founded by Matt Kesinger and Dan Willis in 2015. The Pittsburgh-based startup developed the stroke screening device “ALPHASTROKE.” This device measures the asymmetry in brain oxygen in order to detect strokes within a minute and was put together using repurposed technology.
- Labor Chart is a construction workforce management system based in Overland Park, Kan. that lets team members collaborate in real-time. Ben Schultz, CEO, said the software puts customers in control of all of their resources. Founded in 2014, Labor Chart aims to provide structure and visual analysis to users
- Mobility Designed, based in Prairie Village Kan., was founded by Max and Liliana Younger founded in 2014. Their first product, M+D crutches, aim to give customers pain-free mobility with their ergonomic design.
- Mycroft AI, is based in Lawrence, Kan., and was founded by Joshua Montgomery and his co-founder and wife, Kris Adair. With the goal of being “artificial intelligence for everyone,” Mycroft created a open-source version of Amazon Echo. The firm recently was a member of the Sprint Accelerator and is now focused on creating open source AI products that can be used in a variety of industries.
- PerfectCube provides a platform for the future of big data analytics. Launched in 2015, co-founders Mark Calhoun and Jim Starcev wanted to create something more sophisticated than Excel — something more advanced for a variety data types.
- Super Dispatch was founded by Bek Abdullayev founded in 2013. The company aims to eliminate unnecessary paperwork in the trucking industry. Initially focused solely on car hauling, Super Dispatch has now expanded to include specialized freight. The platform is located in Kansas City and is a part of Sprint Accelerator.
Here are a few of the presenters from the pitch compeition — enjoy!