A diverse group of entrepreneurs took home $43,000 in cash prizes from Tuesday’s Pure Pitch Rally at The American restaurant.
Emulating the popular TV show “Shark Tank,” about 45 investors — or “land sharks” — evaluated presentations from eight Kansas City tech startups and donated $1,000 to one of the companies at the conclusion of the competition. Some land sharks were so impressed that they wrote checks to multiple pitchers. (MatchRite Care earned an additional $1,000 as the People’s Choice Award winner.)
The once-a-year event gives business leaders not only a chance for high-level networking, but also a direct opportunity to “be a multiplier,” said Karen Fenaroli, lead sponsor and founder of Pure Pitch Rally and CEO of Fenaroli & Associates, a premier talent consultancy.
Look who’s talking — click here to check out Startland’s photos of the deal making and relationship building at Tuesday’s Pure Pitch Rally.
“Together, we find a way, we fund a way, and we mentor a way to create more success in the startup community in our city,” she said. “In fact, Pure Pitch Rally is the greatest form of experimentation for a platform multiplier.”
All in, more than $300,000 in resources were deployed through Tuesday’s event.
Each startup received credits for development and cloud services to help make their startups more robust. Project United Knowledge offered $10,000 in development credits to FeedKC, a program of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Enactus, which pitched for community donations, and Full Scale offered $60,000 in development credits, divided on a sliding scale among the other eight startups (see breakdown below). Google for Startups gave $20,000 in credits for cloud and other Google services to each pitcher, which Google representative Rachel Merlo said would help them “make Kansas City a brighter shining star in the Google-verse.”
Startups raising cash from land sharks included:
Elango Thevar, Blockchain Water: $9,000
Blockchain Water is a comprehensive, integrated real-time water management platform. Blockchain Water Platform uses artificial intelligence, specifically machine learning, to model and assess the risk condition of drinking water distribution mains, sewer and stormwater collection systems.
Blockchain Water received $10,000 in development credits from Full Scale.
Christopher Jones, MatchRite Care: $9,000
MatchRite Care is an integrated electronic health records application that allows patients to aggregate their data into a single patient profile via mobile application or web portal along with their dependents’ records.
MatchRite Care earned an additional $1,000 as the People’s Choice Award winner and $5,000 in development credits from Full Scale.
James West, Clara Biotech: $8,000
Clara Biotech enables tomorrow’s medical breakthroughs today through exosomes. The company solves the major roadblock preventing exosome solutions from reaching patients — purification of exosomes from biofluids. Clara Biotech’s solution enables breakthroughs in diagnostics and cures for a wide variety of conditions including cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, ischemic stroke and more.
Clara Biotech received $5,000 in development credits from Full Scale.
Libby Martin, Calving Technologies: $6,000
Calving Technologies equips cattle producers with affordable, durable technology that reduces calving mortality rates and increases cattle production overall.
Calving Technologies received $7,500 in development credits from Full Scale.
Matt Krentz and Andy Bond, BestyBnB: $5,000
BestyBnB aims to address the less than 5 percent of nearly 3,000 domestic violence shelters in the U.S. that have the means to house companion animals. The platform provides a suite of tools to manage and track survivors’ pets, who are matched with pet caregivers.
BestyBnB received $5,000 in development credits from Full Scale.
Anurag Patel, Helix Health: $5,000
Helix Health increases revenue and health outcomes through data intelligence. The company does this by giving clinics a tool to understand their patient populations in real-time and allocate their resources in a value-based health care system.
Helix Health received $15,000 in development credits from Full Scale.
Kwinton Scarbrough, PawConX LLC: $1,000
PawConX is the playdate messaging app for dogs and their owners. PawConX creates an innovative method allowing dogs to use their natural ability to select preferred playmates and build their own dog pack.
PawConX received $5,000 in development credits from Full Scale.
Kim Naramore, TravelHive
TravelHive simplifies the millennial travel journey through digital bookmarking and planning tools. Travelers save their travel research to their profile; when they are ready to start planning, they can seamlessly move their saved research into collaborative, visual trip plans.
TravelHive received $7,500 in development credits from Full Scale.
This year’s pitchers receive an extra benefit outside of participation in the rally: Founders are invited to three boot camps that aim to help them build a firm foundation for their business. Eric Morgenstern of Morningstar Communications hosted the first boot camp for pitchers on perfecting their pitch. Advertising agency Bernstein-Rein and marketing and branding firm Circle Sideways will host the next boot camp on building a brand. First Business Bank, BKD and Polsinelli will offer scale-up guidance in the areas of finance, M&A and legal support at a third boot camp.
FeedKC, which pitched for connections as well as donations, is expected to be matched up to $10,000 by a donor to the UMKC Bloch School of Management. At the event, FeedKC received $1,000 from the Rotary Club of Kansas City Plaza and additional verbal commitments of funding.
The concept of FeedKC is to match area soup kitchens with high-volume prepared-food distributors, such as corporate or institutional cafeterias and buffet restaurants, that would otherwise throw out food at the end of the day. FeedKC’s recently launched digital platform allows organizations to post leftovers and coordinate with nonprofits to arrange pick-up.
Click here to make a donation.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.
Check out a photo gallery from the Pure Pitch Rally’s invite-only reception below.