Investing in Kansas City startups ultimately brings greater interest from outside funding sources, said Darcy Howe, KCRise Fund founder and managing director.
“We continue to be impressed by the increasing early stage deal flow in our region,” Howe said Tuesday in announcing the additions of Kansas City-based PayIt and Main Street Data to the fund’s portfolio. “And we are thrilled to provide both capital and the expertise of our networks to help our KC entrepreneurs continue to scale.”
KCRise Fund portfolio companies have collectively raised about $80 million in rounds in which the fund has participated. More than half of the capital has come from investors located outside of the Kansas City region, which Howe feels is a testament to the breadth and depth of KC’s growing technology ecosystem, she said.
Joining Royal Street Ventures and prominent Kansas City angel investors in the funding round for PayIt, the fund recognized the potential for the company’s patent-pending digital government and payment platform. The technology simplifies interaction between citizens and local, state and federal service providers through applications like iKan and WyCo.
“We are proud to build PayIt in our Kansas City hometown, and value partnerships like KCRise Fund which bring networks and talent to help us grow,” said John Thomson, PayIt’s founder and CEO.
PayIt was one of Startland’s Top Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2018.
Launched in 2016, KCRise Fund has raised $19 million in private capital from Kansas City corporations, family offices and individuals. The fund targets high growth companies which reside in or have substantial operations between Manhattan, Kansas, and Columbia, Missouri, are seeking at least $1 million in capital and have an approved venture capital firm invested in the funding round.
It now has invested $6 million across 14 portfolio companies — including existing startups BacklotCars, Bardavon Health Innovations, blooom, Dunami, Innara Health, Pepper IoT, Site 1001, SpiderOak, ShotTracker, SMRxT, SquareOffs and Zego.
Main Street Data, an agriculture data analytics company, fits into that fold with its machine learning-driven tools to help farmers optimize production and maximize the price received for their crops.
With its first product, the Validator, and strategic partnerships with IBM and Grower Information Services Cooperative, the nation’s only grower-owned and governed agricultural data cooperative, Main Street data is poised for growth and the building of a global team, said Kathy Walker, the company’s chief technology officer.
“KCRise Fund brings local capital, which allows us to build in the region we call home,” she said.
The fund joins OpenAir Equity Partners, Leawood Capital and Royal Street Ventures in Main Street Data’s series seed round.