Mission accomplished, said organizers of Startup Crawl KC, announcing record attendance during the fifth showing of the innovation expo.
“Best Startup Crawl ever,” said Gerald Smith, co-founder of Plexpod — which played host Oct. 4 to one of the Crawl’s three stops at its Crossroads Arts District location.
More than 1,000 guests descended on the Crossroads during the three-and-a-half-hour event, which coincided with First Fridays for the second consecutive year. The timing was an intentional effort by the Kansas City Startup Foundation (KCSF), which organized the annual event and is Startland News’ parent organization, to create collisions between curious citizens and the city’s startup ecosystem.
“I’m exceptionally proud and grateful,” said Adam Arredondo, executive director of KCSF.
In the lead up to the event, the entrepreneurial support organization was confident Startup Crawl would continue to draw a sizable crowd to the area, despite changes late this summer to First Fridays, which saw the loss of food trucks and many art vendors for which the monthly gathering had become known the past few years.
“[Crowds were] very, very impressive. We’re making a difference,” Arredondo added in reflection of the Crawl’s reach — which nearly doubled attendance from its 2018 showing.
“We met so many amazing people and can’t wait to set up some coffee dates and happy hours,” said members of the team at The List by Crossing Broadway, one of more than 30 startups on display at Crawl stops at Lead and Academy banks, in addition to Plexpod.
A testament to KCSF’s commitment to creating moments of impact, a first grader in the crowd spent 30 minutes at a booth hosted by Boddle Learning — a gamified education platform, the company led by husband-wife duo Clarence Tan and Edna Martinson noted in an Instagram post.
“He was definitely our favorite visitor. … Huge thank you to everyone who came out!” the post read.
In addition to coinciding with First Fridays, Startup Crawl also collided with Back2KC — another of KCSF’s programs, which brings Kansas Citians who’ve left the region, back to their hometown for a two day experience that highlights local innovation.
“Startup Crawl KC was epic,” posted Lauren Conaway, CEO of InnovateHER KC and a former Startup Crawl organizer. “So many organizations, musicians, community leaders and friends came together to celebrate these amazing KC startups. … Love this event.”
Sponsors of Startup Crawl included the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Industrious, Husch Blackwell, ChowNow, Diageo and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.