Three Kansas City-area firms are among the finalists in a national startup competition that could earn them significant prize money.
Venture Legal, Bungii and Cambrian are the three area startups that beat out more than 2,000 other applicants to earn one of 30 spots in WeWork’s Creator Awards’ South Regional Final on June 27.
WeWork — which has offices in 37 cities and 15 countries around the globe — is a massive company that’s building a 40,000-square-foot space in Kansas City. WeWork plans to give away $1.5 million in total at South regional finals.
The local startups are competing for prizes varying in value. Placed in the “Incubate” category, Venture Legal is angling for a prize valued at $18,000 to $36,000. In the “Launch” category, Bungii is competing for $72,000 to $180,000. In the “Scale” category, Cambrian is trying to nab a $180,000 to $360,000 award.
Chris Brown, founder of Venture Legal, said he’s excited that WeWork chose his company because it illustrates there’s a real need for his firm’s offering. Venture Legal works to make it easier for freelancers to create contracts with their clients by using cloud-based technology, digital file-sharing, electronic signatures. and online billing.
“It’s great to be selected as a finalist,” Brown said. “Being selected provides another layer of validation for our project. And if we win the grant, it means we’ll be able to actually build out the project to further test the concept and try to find the right product-market fit.”
Named as a finalist for the largest prize in the Creator Awards is Cambrian, a tech firm based in Kansas City, Kan. Cambrian has created an augmented reality app that enables DIYers to visualize home improvement projects, like painting, flooring, countertops and more. The firm offers an Android and iOS app called Home Harmony that provides a representation of a completed project in your home — without spending anything on consultations or installs.
“I love talking about our technology and company,” Heather Spalding, Cambrian’s chief operating officer, said in a release. “We’re doing some really exciting and innovative things and I love seeing the amazement on people’s faces when I show them what we’ve already built and share our vision for where we’re going.”
New to Kansas City, fast-growing Bungii is is competing for $72,000 to $180,000. Bungii created an on-demand, truck-sharing app, helping people move stuff that can’t fit in their cars. Users in Kansas City and Lawrence can request a local truck and schedule pickups for items they’d like to move. Bungii charges $1 per minute and $1 per mile, with the average trip costing around $40.
“We’re honored to represent Kansas City at this nationwide event,” Bungii co-founder Ben Jackson said. “VentureLegal and Cambrian are two outstanding companies and we’re blessed to be selected as a finalist along side them.”
The Creator Awards’ South Regional Final is set for June 27 at ACL Live in Austin, Texas. Winners from each regional event will come together for the global finals, to be held at Barclays Center in New York City on November 30.
In March, WeWork made splash in Kansas City when it announced that it’d be opening a huge space in the recently-restored Corrigan Station building in the Crossroads Arts District. New York-based WeWork aims to host more than 750 members — from freelancers to small businesses — at the Kansas City location. Located on the Kansas City Streetcar Line, the building features a creative and modern floor plan set amid 11-foot ceilings and huge windows for natural light. The 1921 building also will feature a restaurant, rooftop patio, energy efficient design and planned LEED certification.
WeWork’s arrival represents what’s been a sustained coworking boom in Kansas City. More than 12 coworking spaces of varying sizes — from 3,000 to 160,000 square feet — call the Kansas City metro home.
Stay posted on Cambrian’s, Bungii’s and Venture Legal’s performance in the Creator Awards by following Startland News.