A new accelerator powered by LaunchKC is Black & Veatch’s attempt to “create the world that we want,” said Hyleme George, director of the freshly announced IgniteX CleanTech program.
“It’s a world that we want to invest in to accelerate the adoption of sustainable infrastructure,” George continued. “What that means is a world where there’s clean water, clean energy available — a world where we fix climate change. It’s a world where we eliminate constraints on travel. It’s a portal where we can solve hunger.”
Click here to learn more about IgniteX.
With LaunchKC teasing the accelerator announcement earlier in the week, a crowd of entrepreneurs, civic leaders, and startup advocates gathered Wednesday afternoon at Boulevard Brewery to learn more about how the newly reformatted LaunchKC grant competition would evolve.
Click here to read more about the new LaunchKC format, which will power three, industry-specific accelerator programs, including IgniteX.
“We have had an incredible run the past five years,” said Drew Solomon, chair of the LaunchKC program, as the crowd sipped beer and noshed on hors d’oeuvres.
LaunchKC — coordinated by the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City and the Downtown Council of Kansas City — will be able to fund more companies and offer startups better support, as part of its collaborative efforts, he added.
Click here to learn about LaunchKC’s first accelerator partnership with Fountain City FinTech.
For its part, Black & Veatch will seek a cohort of startups focused on agricultural technology, machine learning and AI, renewable and distributed energy, mobility, and technologies or processes that simplify the world of engineering, the company said.
Keep reading below the photo gallery for more IgniteX program details.
“It’s really for the benefit of all of us here,” explained George, announced Wednesday as director of IgniteX. “Folks outside Black & Veatch may not realize that this journey started [three] years ago …”
At that time, Black & Veatch created a business incubator to promote job growth and entrepreneurial ideation, George added. The incubator already has spun out such projects as Solarhood, the company’s first-ever consumer product, and predictive analytics firm Atonix.
Startups eager to share in the company’s vision for the world can begin applying for the IgniteX accelerator next week, he added.
“These are big, bold goals and they sound crazy at times! But, the reality is — big, bold goals make for a wonderful story. Who doesn’t want to be part of a great story,” George said.
Applications for the accelerator will be open for 60 days, with final cohort selections being made in June and July, George said. Companies will relocate to Kansas City in August and take part in 75-day period of immersive programming.
IgniteX will culminate with a demo day in November, George added.
In addition to program resources, companies will also have the opportunity to win equity awards — in the traditional spirit of LaunchKC, Solomon explained.
“The bottom line of the new platform is to attract scalable companies to the city to create more jobs and opportunities while growing our economy,” Solomon said.
LaunchKC is eager to expand on its collaborative idea, he added. The announcement of a similar partnership that will form the grant competition’s HealthTech accelerator is anticipated in the coming months.