Kansas City’s popular grants competition LaunchKC has raised the stakes for applicants in 2017.
Instead of allocating $500,000 via 10 equally-sized grants, LaunchKC will dish out eight awards of $50,000 and one $100,000 grand prize. In 2016, LaunchKC drew more than 400 tech startup applicants for the second year in a row.
Applications open on March 1.
Drew Solomon, chair of the LaunchKC grants competition, said that the new grand prize aims to generate more excitement and even more applicants.
The $100,000 prize is another way to use the competition to reach out to companies around the country and the world and push the envelope for Kansas City,” Solomon said. “We want to continue to be creative to stay relevant. Relevancy is key for competitions like this. Kansas City is part of a big world so we have to continue to innovate.”
In addition to a 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.
Winners of the 2016 LaunchKC grants were: Big Bang, BLITAB, ConsultUS, FEWDM, Forest Devices, Labor Chart, Mobility Designed, Mycroft AI, Perfect Cube and Super Dispatch.
Winners of the 2015 LaunchKC grants were: Blooom, Integrated Roadways, KC Drone Company, Nodal Security, Health ID, PopBookings, Pycno, SquareOffs, Vertisense and VideoFizz.
LaunchKC will be hosting a party Feb. 1 for those interested in learning more about the program. Learn more about the event here.