Kansas City needs startups’ brightest minds working on the ever-evolving city’s behalf, said Mayor Sly James.
Six valuable new startup partners — ranging from companies addressing housing and zoning issues to firms focused on high-tech dog houses and the management of restaurants’ grease — have accepted the call, the city announced Friday.
“The Innovation Partnership Program asks the startup community and the city to work together to find sustainable solutions to improve services for our residents and visitors,” James said. “This is the exact type of collaboration that will ensure Kansas City continues to build on its momentum and become the world class city we know it can be.”
Launched in 2015, IPP not only seeks to identify new efficiencies but also offer startups an opportunity to earn business with the city. After being designated a department to work with, each firm is provided city data and access to infrastructure, working closely with the Office of Innovation and receiving part-time office space in City Hall.
Running Aug. 1 to Oct. 30, the 13-week program culminates with the startups presenting their technology services and discussing their pilot progress in pitches to James and City Manager Troy Schulte, among other attendees from city departments and the City Council. Read more about the 2017 Demo Day here.
“This year’s IPP class will be testing innovative solutions to challenges ranging from crisis response to increasing efficiency in our sewage systems,” James said. “I wish them good luck, and look forward to their presentations.”
Criteria for the program includes: the ability to support economic development and operations strategies, supporting environment quality efforts with the city, engaging neighborhoods, and improving economic vitality and social equity, according to the city.
Members of the 2018 cohort include:
- DogSpot, Chelsea Brownridge
City Department: Office of Innovation
DogSpot is a company with a network of high-tech dog houses in the community, which can be rented by the minute. This allows dog owners to run errands with their pet, without having to tie them up outside. DogSpot houses are temperature-controlled, sanitized, and equipped with a camera so that dog owners can monitor their pet. Placing several DogSpot dog houses in downtown Kansas City could make the city more dog-friendly and increase potential revenue of area businesses.
- Dynamhex, Sunny Sanwar
City Partner: General Services
Dynamhex is a data analytics software for municipal energy usage from both an economic cost and an environmental sustainability standpoint. Their technology product visualizes complex energy consumption patterns geographically on a dashboard for government officials. This allows municipal leaders to make data-driven decisions and target areas of energy waste and inefficiencies. The management of organizational level and regional level energy usage is helpful for measuring energy and emission performance and saving money.
- Geospiza, Sarah Tuneberg
City Department: Public Safety
Geospiza uses data to enable cities to better prepare for and respond to crises through assessment of multiple data streams. Geospiza allows communities to identify where difficult rescue and recovery operations may occur, which allows for better deployment of public safety resources.
- Gridics, LLC, Felipe Azenha
City Department: City Planning
Gridics is a real estate technology company that has developed a zoning code software management platform which cities across the country have adopted. The company developed a site-specific zoning application that helps cities manage, update and visualize their zoning code in real time. The Gridics app could help Kansas City write, test, and visualize rezonings more easily, and more effectively answer questions about land use and zoning.
- Homebase, Blake Miller
City Department: Housing Services
Homebase is a Kansas City-based connected building solutions provider delivering connectivity, automation, and community management solutions for property owners and managers of apartment communities. The company hosts a connected building management platform, which allows residents to experience modern and efficient living, while making property management more seamless. With the use of wifi and connected Smart Home devices, the platform allows users to pay rent, monitor utilities, report maintenance, and more.
Homebase would like to develop a solution for affordable housing that helps bridge the digital divide. This would work with property owners and managers of affordable housing to offer connectivity, a smart home package, smart appliances with greater energy efficiency, and metered utility usage.
- Snorkel, Luke Ismert
City Partner: Water Services/Sewer
Snorkel is a software tool that helps city staff better allocate the city’s fat, oil, and grease management resources and extend the life of its sewers. Snorkel allows city officials to identify which restaurants are equipped with grease traps, whether they maintain and pump their traps appropriately, and how poorly managed restaurant grease relate to broader systemic problems within the city’s sewer maintenance program.
Using data from Snorkel, the city can better allocate restaurant inspection resources, ensure better compliance with ordinances, and keep more fat, oil, and grease out of the sewers, which saves money on maintenance and repair and extends the life of the city’s sewers.
Excited to announce 2018 Cohort for our Innovation Partnership Program! Looking forward to @HelloGeospiza @dogspot @HomebaseAI @Gridics Snorkel & Dynamhex bringing creative, sustainable solutions to #KC. More here: https://t.co/N9NWP6xUzj
— Mayor Sly James (@MayorSlyJames) July 27, 2018