While COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the globe, Kansas City entrepreneurs already are proving their resiliency, said Donald J. Hawkins.
“They’re still grinding, iterating, and finding ways to make things happen,” said Hawkins, co-organizer of the KC Collective founder network, as well as co-founder of Griffin. “In addition to working on their own businesses, they’re diving in to do their part to help others.”
A new pitch event is expected to help expose the ongoing tenacity of such startups. Initially planned as an in-person live event at Strang Hall in Overland Park, the Pitch & Pint competition now is set to debut April 30 as a real-time, virtual event with eight entrepreneurs pitching for prize money.
Click here to register for the April 30 Pitch & Pint event.
“We [need] to show entrepreneurs that we’ve got their back and won’t allow distance to stop what we’re building,” Hawkins said. “Though we’re all dealing with a lot, providing an opportunity for the community to see and hear some amazing founders was too good to pass up. Though we’re all separated, being able to connect with our tribe, even for just a few hours, is therapeutic and they’re going to crush it.”
Entrepreneurs set to be showcased at the virtual Pitch & Pint include:
- Jannae Gammage, The Market Base — A software platform that connects clients with on-demand marketing services like strategy, copy writing, social media, and graphic design.
- Aaron Foster, Saavy House Hunting — A tool to help real estate agents show homes virtually, allowing them to more easily scale their sales efforts.
- Elango Thevar, Neer — A real-time water management platform (drinking water, wastewater, stormwater) using artificial intelligence, specifically machine learning, to model and assess the risk condition of drinking water distribution mains, sewer and stormwater collection systems.
- Jillian Carlile, TravelHive — A social travel bookmarking and planning tool, inspiring travel lovers to live their travel adventures.
- Kwinton Scarborough, PawConX — An app that maximizes social networking culture by embracing the natural interactions that happen at dog parks or similar communities, while keeping privacy and convenience as top priority.
- Parker Graham, Destiny — A fintech platform that helps banks and credit unions engage and grow revenue with their digital-first customers; one of Startland News’ Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2020.
- Pat McLoughlin, Digs — A financial platform for building wealth through homeownership.
- Tiffany Watts, Biin — A marketplace that offers a quick and easy way to arrange or offer storage space in an experience that changes the future of self-storage.
“We are excited about the group of founders selected for our first Pitch and Pint event,” said Bo Lais, co-organizer of KC Collective and founder of Lula. “The selection process was difficult as there were a lot of deserving founders that applied, but this is just the first of many virtual pitch events we have planned.”
Here’s how it works: Founders will pitch via Zoom Webinar to an audience that has the ability to network with each other, panelists, and participants. After each pitch, judges will have three minutes for Q&A. A poll within Zoom will allow for judge and audience voting, followed by the announcement of first, second and third winners, as well as a final People’s Choice award.
The April 30 Pitch & Pint event is sponsored by nbkc bank, Bench, Prudential and Flyover Capital.
KC Collective, also known as the Founders Collective, has grown substantially during the past year because it provides a safe environment for Kansas City-based startups regardless of their stage, said Lais.
“Even founders that only have an idea on a napkin can receive the support they need to develop that idea into a real business,” he said. “Community support is necessary to help startup founders thrive, and we aim to be an important piece of the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Kansas City.”