Editor’s note: Startland News selected 10 Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2020’s companies. Click here to view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch.
The smartest minds in the Kansas City area have assembled in offices from the Crossroads to Martin City, working to build an uncommon business that could change the future as most people know it, declared John Boucard.
Elevator pitch: Tesseract helps American industries become smarter, better connected and more efficient with our next-generation robots, smart spaces, 21st century software and radically connected platforms. We foster innovation in Kansas City and proudly call it America’s most quietly revolutionary place.
• Founder: John Boucard
• Founding year: 2018
• Amount raised to date: $15 million+
• Noteworthy investors: Undisclosed
• Current employee count: 20
“[We’re] helping companies become smarter, better connected and more efficient,” explained Boucard, founder and CEO of Tesseract Ventures — a tech company discreetly developing a revolutionary system that allows businesses to connect ultra-high speed processing backends to intuitively reveal, organize and display vast amounts of information, largely using robotics.
A veteran inventor, having worked with such minds as Stan Lee, creator of Marvel, Boucard left Kansas City in 1999, lured from the metro by the sex appeal of Silicon Valley tech.
“It wasn’t the right time to start a company [here] when I left,” Boucard recalled.
Two decades later, times have changed and Kansas City has established itself as a unique place to build a unique business, he added.
“There’s a huge entrepreneurial community here in town and it’s burgeoning. So, I decided that I would focus on [connecting with] local titans of industry,” Boucard explained of the beginnings of Tesseract, launched in 2018.
“I was at the right place at the right time with the right people in the right business,” he added, detailing connections with entrepreneurs like Gary Fish, founder of Fishtech Group, who welcomed Tesseract into his Martin City campus for a seven-month innovation incubator.
“[Fish] saw something in the business — in me — and I very much appreciate my time there,” Boucard said.
Forced to think quickly, the project had to evolve, he noted.
In the past six months, Tesseract has established offices in Corrigan II and lab space in Martin City, an opportunity zone.
“We needed a secondary location to invent the future and our own spot [where] we could build and blow up and make stuff,” Boucard detailed, adding the growth is a sign of the startup’s scaling as it nears more than $15 million of locally raised capital and a team of 20 people and counting.
“We don’t think we need to go out to anybody else to raise money, which is different than most companies. We think we can raise it all here and we’ve put together a dream team of investors. I couldn’t be more proud of the group that we put together, which will be revealed,” the always close-to-the-vest Boucard said with a smile.
By the end of the first quarter, Tesseract is expected to reach 26 employees, part of ongoing recruitment efforts to secure the most promising tech and engineering talent the startup can find, he said.
“We are committed to fostering innovation in Kansas City and the Midwest,” Boucard said. “It’s wonderful to work with a team that understands the potential of this space. The process has been seamless so far and we’re looking forward to working together to build something special.”
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.