Editor’s note: Full Scale is a partner of the Kansas City Startup Foundation and Startland News. The following content was independently produced by Startland News.
Development help often can be more valuable to an early stage startup than simply opening a checkbook, said Matt DeCoursey, announcing Full Scale’s commitment to investing $1 million of its technical services in Kansas City region companies over the next two years.
“There are a lot of hard-working, innovative, smart and deserving people here in this town,” said DeCoursey, co-founder of Full Scale, a rapidly growing Leawood-based startup that offers website and software development services. “When we see reports come out, talking about how things are underfunded in Kansas City and we don’t have the needed community spirit, we think we can at least start to change that.”
Full Scale Suite and Greet
The co-founders of Full Scale have launched an intimate and curated networking series, with suite-based events at the Sprint Center, Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland, and Kauffman Stadium. The mission is to bring people in Kansas City together to hopefully spark more innovation and partnerships amongst KC businesses. To be eligible for event invites, apply at https://fullscale.io/contact/
A recent “State of the Silicon Prairie” report ranked Kansas City’s business scene last among its Tier 1 peers in Midwest, and indicated the City of Fountains only reached half of the venture deals anticipated by analysts in 2018. Click here to read more about the report.
“I don’t have $100 million to seal up that gap, but who knows what investing resources in startups leads to for these businesses?” DeCoursey said, leveraging not only excess capacity at Full Scale, but also his and co-founder Matt Watson’s extensive startup experience.
Click here for the duo’s Startup Hustle Podcast.
Every deal — just like the needs for each startup — will look different, he said, noting equity is taken in exchange for services.
“The resource investment is defined as us giving you a credit for developers and any of the other services we offer: graphic design, project management, SEO, content writing, the whole gamut,” DeCoursey said.
“We are more likely to find ourselves making these investments when they trigger a matching partner because that reduces our exposure, and it lets us be a lot more flexible,” he added.
Traction and previous success with funding also will be substantial contributors in Full Scale’s selections, he said.
“When companies already have some investors — or maybe even a little money and skin of their own in the game — that really piques our interest,” DeCoursey said.
Startup leaders curious about a partnership with Full Scale can reach out and submit investment materials at https://fullscale.io/contact/
DeCoursey pledged to consider each applicant, provided they can pitch their companies in a precise, but meaningful way, he said.
“I know I’m subjecting myself to being overwhelmed. I welcome that. Overwhelm me,” DeCoursey said. “But if you have a 60-page business plan, that’s great. Keep it, and send me a one-pager.”
A successful partnership means opening doors beyond the immediate development impact, he added, noting his and Watson’s past business wins and exits — including the $150 million acquisition in 2012 of VinSolutions, one of Watson’s previous ventures.
“Our experience brings excellent street cred to some of these early stage companies that want to raise more money,” DeCoursey said. “We don’t have a track record of doing ‘just OK.’ We have a history of success and we believe there’s a model, a repeatable format and process that can be used.”
One of Full Scale’s first startup investment partners, Roy Scott, founder of Healthy Hip Hop, vouched for DeCoursey’s and Watson’s impact. The duo initially invested $100,000 in services to boost the company’s hip hop-based edtech offering.
“I’m a tech guy, but I’m not a developer,” Scott said. “One thing you learn when you’re really in the trenches, it can be a challenge to do everything yourself efficiently or cost-effectively. … I was able to bring Full Scale on to really build out the technology side. We already had an MVP, but now it’s expanded so much that we have a interactive mobile application that communicates with our online platform.”
Click here to read more about Healthy Hip Hop.
“All the resources Full Scale brought to the table really put us in a position to scale, to fully launch,” Scott added, noting the exchange of equity for services was a productive trade. “For them to buy in, to believe in me, really means a lot. It’s organically been a great partnership to grow Healthy Hip Hop.”
The investment helped Scott’s startup get to the next level, DeCoursey said.
“And we’re going to put more money into Healthy Hip Hop,” he added. “Together, we can launch some technology that is going to have a very viral component to it. But we offer more than just the hard resource; we can give advice and input — hopefully help some of these folks avoid a lot of the pitfalls that most entrepreneurs fall into.”
Click here to read more about Full Scale’s previous resource investment through Pure Pitch Rally, as well as DeCoursey and Watson’s Startup Hustle Podcast.
Ultimately, Full Scale’s $1 million investment could swell to $3 million, depending on the success of the effort and the pace of the company’s own expansion, DeCoursey said.
“We have allotted an undisclosed portion of Full Scale’s revenue specifically for this reason,” he said. “The rate at which our company is growing increases the amount of this investment pool.”