Pitch Day for LaunchKC is expected to lift off next month with an opening keynote address from NASA executive Kira Blackwell.
Remarks are expected to delve into NASA iTech, a year-long effort to find innovative ideas that address challenges and fill gaps in five critical areas identified by the space agency as having a potential impact on future exploration, including big data and data mining.
“NASA iTech and LaunchKC are cut from the same innovative cloth – both are showcases for entrepreneurs who are looking to change the trajectory of the world through their innovative thinking and business plans,” said Drew Solomon, senior vice president of business and job development for the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City and competition chair for LaunchKC.
Blackwell, NASA program executive in the Office of the Chief Technologist, also is expected to speak about artificial intelligence and autonomous robotic capabilities; revolutionary concepts for communications; medical breakthrough; and x-factor innovations, according to LaunchKC.
The 9 a.m. Oct. 12 event at Union Station begins the culminating day of LaunchKC, as well as the final programming of Techweek KC. Twenty finalists will compete in the competition — narrowed over six weeks to a of field of 586 applicants — vying for $500,000 in non-dilutive grants.
A 3 p.m. announcement of the LaunchKC winners is set to cap the day of finalist pitches.
Tickets to the LaunchKC Pitch Day — including Blackwell’s keynote address — are part of the Techweek KC ticket package.
Techweek KC also added keynote speakers for earlier in the five-day, Oct. 8-12, event series. Google developer advocates Ben Morss and Neto Marin are joining the already stacked lineup of Techweek experts at the event.
Morss’ role at Google is to help make the internet faster and more beautiful, Techweek KC said in a press release, noting his past experience at the New York Times and AOL. Martin is a Google expert in mobile development, mobile platforms, and architecture specifications and implementations, with experience in both startup development and corporate applications.