Larissa Uredi and Jenny Miller are playing matchmaker.
Teaming up with KCSourceLink, UMKC Innovation Center, No-Where Consultants and the City of Kansas City Missouri, the duo worked with their teams to create a Kansas City business directory that pairs KC tech talent with startups and businesses in tech-need.
They call it: GotDevKC.
“We had identified a gap in the market,” Miller said, referring to her work as a network builder at KCSourceLink — an organization with a network of resources that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.
“Early-stage tech companies and non-tech companies are looking for product development assistance and coders to help with app development or website development, but they aren’t able to find those resources,” she continued.
And while Kansas City has a longstanding tech shortage, it’s a lack of connections creating the bottleneck of work — not necessarily too little talent, Miller said.
“I think it’s a lack of awareness of who is out there and what they’re doing,” she said. “Also, it’s a little of apprehension from the client’s perspective of, ‘I’m not sure if this is a right fit. Am I asking the right questions?’ The problem is that there is not a systemic approach to who [businesses] connect with.”
Clients can use GotDevKC’s site and fill out a short survey about the type of technology development they need, explained Uredi, CEO of No-Where Consultants.
“So, say a startup inputs that they have $500 to spend and they need a [minimum viable product] for their site,” she said. “They can fill out the questionnaire, and it will show them the appropriate list of vendors who can work with their budget and business size.”
Click here to check out GotDevKC’s website.
Along with budget, the short survey will also ask clients about their timeframe and their current business phase. These are important questions, Miller noted, that businesses should consider before onboarding a developer.
“If they haven’t thought about, ‘What is my budget for this?’, then they should back up a bit and figure that out,” Miller said. “We have those key questions so that when they get their matches, it really is a good fit.”
The client questionnaire is not yet live, but Uredi plans to have it launched by the middle-to-end of October, she said. At that time, GotDevKC will also list its full vendor directory.
“Vendors will have samples of their material in the directory,” Miller added. “So when an entrepreneur goes online, they can see which vendors would be a good match, read profiles about the vendors and see samples of their work.”
GotDevKC recruited 35 local vendors — including names such as Crema and Propaganda3 — and is still accepting partners, Uredi said. Venders who are interested in being part of the tech-directory can fill out the form on GotDevKC’s website under “Get Listed.”
Click here to read about Crema’s recent spinout venture.
The site also includes a tab labeled “The Node.” Uredi envisions The Node to be a tech-centric blog where companies can share technical expertise and stories, she said.
“I think it can be a really powerful resource,” Uredi noted. “I want it to be a deep dive of tech development in the industry, so that we can serve to showcase the brain power we have here.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the need and possibilities of the tech industry is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, Miller added.
“So many businesses needed to go online very quickly,” Miller said in regard to pandemic impacts. “It was not in their expertise area, and there was nowhere for them to go. Now, they will have a centralized place to easily place to find those resources.”
Ultimately with GotDevKC’s new platform, Uredi hopes to see Kansas City break down barriers, she said.
“Kansas City has this ‘silo’ problem where our communities are isolated from each other, even though we’re all a part of the same city,” Uredi said. “The vendors we get are extremely qualified, and half of them I had never heard of.
“Kansas City is known for a lot of things, and tech talent should be one of those things,” she continued. “We have a ton of very capable people, agencies and businesses — right in our backyard.”