LaunchKC on Friday announced 20 finalists vying for $500,000 in grants.
The popular grants contest will award eight startups each a $50,000 non-dilutive grant and one firm a grand prize of $100,000 after a live pitch competition at Techweek Kansas City on Sept. 15. Techweek Kansas City is scheduled from Sept. 11 to Sept. 15 in various locations around the metro.
Drew Solomon, senior vice president of business development at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, said it was tough to finalize the list of 20 startups.
“It has been another strong year for applications to LaunchKC,” Solomon, chairman for LaunchKC, said in a release. “We are very fortunate to have the immense support of our judges, sponsors and the Kansas City community in securing the final 20 who will compete for the $500,000 available in this year’s competition.”
The 20 contenders — which beat out more than 400 applicants from around the world — include 14 finalists from the Kansas City metro, five from five different U.S. states, and 1 international business from Ukraine. More than 35 area business and investment leaders vetted the applications.
In addition to the grants, the nine winning firms will receive 12 months of free office space in downtown Kansas City; industry-specific mentor teams and opportunities to meet and learn from entrepreneurial leaders around the metro.
Here are the finalists:
- Aware Vehicles: ZhiQiang Chen, Kansas City, Mo.
- backstitch: Jordan Warzecha, Kansas City, Mo.
- Blue Point 2: Liderman Duin, Leawood, Kan.
- Cambrian Tech: Heather Spalding, Leawood, Kan.
- H3 Enterprises: Roy Scott, Kansas City. Mo.
- HerdDogg: Melissa Brandao, Longmont, Colo.
- Hidden Abilities: Jamee Miller, Lawrence, Kan.
- iShare Medical: Linda VanHorn, Kansas City, Mo.
- MenuHunt: Beau Clinton, St. Joseph, Mo.
- Miles: Lance Windholz, Overland Park, Kan.
- MusicSpoke: Jennifer Rosenblatt, Kansas City, Kan.
- Play-It Health: Kimberly Gandy, Kansas City, Kan.
- Redivus Health: Jeff Dunn, Olathe, Kan.
- Sickweather: Graham Dodge, Kansas City, Mo.
- Smart Bridge Health: Hua Wang, Washington, D.C.
- SwineTech: Matthew Rooda, New Sharon, Iowa
- TradeLanes: Vijay Harrell, Kansas City, Mo.
- UniExo: Tatiana Holovachenko, Ukraine
- Vytal: Jared Goering, McPherson, Kan.
- Zitches: Bart Patenaude, Kansas City, Mo.
LaunchKC — which is designed to build high-growth tech businesses and jobs in downtown Kansas City — is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.