KCRise Fund today announced the launch of its second fund — KCRise Fund II — along with three new investments in high-growth, early-stage Kansas City tech companies.
Backstitch, Bungii and Daupler are the latest startups to join the KCRise Fund family, and the first three portfolio companies for the new fund. All three are featured on Startland’s list of Kansas City’s Top Venture Capital-Backed Companies in 2019.
Since its launch in 2016, KCRise Fund I ($19 million) has invested in 20 companies, all located in the Kansas City region. The first fund is fully invested in new deals and will only be investing in follow-on rounds of current portfolio companies, said Darcy Howe, founder and managing director of KCRise Fund.
Click here for a look at KCRise Fund’s full portfolio, which include such heavy-hitters as BacklotCars, Bardavon, ShotTracker, and PayIt.
“Three years ago, West Coast venture firms signaled to us that what we were building was nice, but not important. That’s no longer the case,” Howe said. “Today, we are hosting venture firms from coast to coast, who are coming to KC, recognizing the untapped value of our region.”
Targeting startups in the entire state of Kansas and western half of Missouri, the KCRise Fund II venture capital co-investment fund requires potential portfolio companies be seeking at least $1 million in capital and an approved venture capital firm invested in the funding round.
Among the investments announced today:
- backstitch — The Techstars Kansas City and Sprint Accelerator graduate is an employee communications software platform that helps large organizations better inform, educate and engage their team members. Impact includes improved benefits utilization, higher retention, and fewer costly mistakes. Co-founders Stefanie Warzecha, CTO, and Jordan Warzecha, CEO, moved from Detroit to Kansas City in 2016.
- Bungii — A marketplace that solves on-demand large item, last mile delivery, the Bungii platform connects users and businesses to local pickup truck owners to help move, haul and deliver large items around town. Co-founded by Ben Jackson and Harrison Proffitt while in college at Kansas State University, the service is now available in Kansas City, Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Baltimore, and Miami.
- Daupler — A SaaS platform helping cities and utilities respond to emergencies while improving efficiencies in their daily operations, Daupler engages citizens in the response process, maps failing infrastructure, and identifies proactive maintenance opportunities, among other key features. Co-founded by John Bertrand (CEO) and Ryan Rosenbaum (CTO), Daupler is a 2018 Techstars Kansas City graduate.
Between the KCRise Fund I and II portfolios, companies have already raised about $150 million in the rounds in which KCRise Fund has participated, Howe said. More than half of that capital has come from investors located outside of the Kansas City region, she added.
The initial fund was launched as an initiative of KC Rising, a long term vision for the greater Kansas City region to build capacity, bring existing businesses to scale, and fully realize the region’s potential in terms of high growth in trade, people, and ideas.
KCRise Fund is led by Howe, with board members Toby Rush, founder of EyeVerify (now Zoloz), and Ron LeMay, managing director of Open Air Equity Partners and former president and COO of Sprint.