From gig economy and healthcare companies to startups attacking supply chain concerns, the solutions to today’s challenges come from Kansas City’s up-and-coming innovators, said Karen Fenaroli, announcing the eight competitors for this fall’s Pure Pitch Rally.
The invitation-only event brings leading executives and investors together to provide mentorship, networking and funding support to emerging tech companies, and to collaborate on how best we as a community can encourage additional entrepreneurship in our city and our region.
“We could not be more excited for the diversity of ideas, industries and experience represented in this year’s cohort that will be on display and for evaluation by our land sharks,” said Fenaroli, lead sponsor and founder of Pure Pitch Rally. “Most importantly, we continue our mission of facilitating critical connections across Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to better our community and our region.”
The one-of-a-kind pitch competition is set to return for an in-person, invitation-only event Oct. 12 at the Neptune Ballroom of the new downtown Loews Hotel Kansas City.
Emulating the popular show “Shark Tank,” Pure Pitch Rally brings together more than 80 investors — or “land sharks,” a nod to Kansas City’s landlocked geography — to evaluate each presentation. Each land shark donates $1,000 to one of the startups at the conclusion of the competition. Up to $1 million in cash and resources will be awarded.
Click here to learn more about Pure Pitch Rally.
The competitors for this year’s event include:
- AgButler Inc., Kevin Johansen — The gig economy platform serves as a solution to a labor shortage in rural America. AgButler provides on-demand jobs, giving farmers and ranchers access to a high-quality labor force while boosting rural economies.
- Air Traffic Awareness, Merwan Abdelmajeed — What started as a class project at the University of Missouri-Kansas City is now a startup providing solutions to enhance situation awareness for general aviation to increase in-flight safety.
- AWA Technology, William Walls — AWA’s technology streamlines processes and reduces cost in the automotive fluids industry by removing the need to transport water, minimizing end-use plastic waste, and significantly reducing storage time and shelf-life concerns.
- Booth Browser, Alan Harris — The supply chain mobile app is designed to manage inventory and streamline transactions for vendors at sporting events, concerts and festivals.
- Plasmonic Diagnostics LLC, Syed Barizuddin — The startup’s cutting-edge platform technology, P-GRAT, enables faster, easier and less costly diagnoses for diseases such as tuberculosis and SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19) through advanced single-molecule detection technology.
- PMI Rate Pro, Nomi Smith — This unique quoting tool allows loan officers to complete one short form and receive results from all national private mortgage insurance (PMI) providers in less than six seconds.
- Relay Trade Solutions, Delvin Higginson — The collaborative supply chain platform connects shippers, carriers, origins, and destinations for seamless order to delivery, saving up to 50 percent on back-office costs.
- SureShow Inc., Shelley Cooper — This platform helps medical offices replace no-show appointments with revenue-generating telehealth visits, with a focus on populations that need greater access to care.
In addition to access to funding opportunities, participating startups are invited to four bootcamps that aim to help them build a firm foundation for their business. The bootcamps focus on perfecting their pitch, branding, product development and scale-up guidance in the areas of finance, mergers and acquisitions, and legal support.
Click here to see winners and photos from the 2019 Pure Pitch Rally event.
“The fifth annual Pure Pitch Rally will be bigger, better and safer than ever,” said Fenaroli, who also is CEO of Fenaroli & Associates premier talent consultancy, emphasizing COVID-19 awareness and efforts to address concerns well before the in-person Oct. 12 event. “We will be taking the utmost precautions to keep founders, land sharks and sponsors safe at one of the only events for the startup community this year.”
Click here to read more about the reasons behind a dearth of other tech and startup events this fall.
The 13,000-square-foot ballroom at the Loews Hotel will allow ample room for social distancing, and masks are required, Fenaroli added. Attendance is expected to be capped at just over 100, she said previously, noting more than 80 land sharks are slated to participate by doling out spot-cash funding, which is the most in the history of the Pure Pitch Rally.
New and notable land sharks include such Kansas City business leaders as:
- Toby Rush, CEO of Smart Warehousing and founder of EyeVerify/Zoloz
- Zane Burke, CEO of Livongo and former president of Cerner Corp.
- Dominique Davison, CEO and founder of PlanIT Impact, a 2017 Pure Pitch Rally alumnus
- Christopher Jones, CEO and founder of MatchRite Care, a 2019 Pure Pitch Rally alumnus
- Bek Abdullayev, CEO and founder of Super Dispatch
- Maria Flynn, founder of Orbis Biosciences and serial entrepreneur
- Joel Worcester, partner and cofounder of Worcester Investments
- Mary Ann Camacho, executive director, national customer service operations for Quest Diagnostics
- Maria Maffry, chief business development officer for BNIM
- Eileen Weir, mayor of Independence
- Simone Curls, executive director of the Prospect Business Association
- Nia Richardson, assistant to the director of KC Bizcare
- Matthew Mellor, serial entrepreneur and strategy executive for Startland
The event and incubator academies are sponsored by Artisan Technology Group, BKD, C3 Capital, Circle Sideways, Fenaroli & Associates, First Business Bank, Morningstar Communications, Park University, Polsinelli, Real Media and Paradise Productions KC.