Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this commentary are the author’s alone. John Boucard is founder and CEO of Tesseract Ventures, an innovator in next-generation robots, smart spaces, 21st century software and radically connected platforms — and one of Startland News’ Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2020. Click here to learn more about Tesseract Ventures.
Tesseract Ventures isn’t a company that just happens to be in Kansas City. It’s a company that is of Kansas City.
Our business is made up of people who’ve worked in the worlds’ biggest tech hubs, and returned to KC to build the company of their dreams. We had a huge, innovative idea that would be hard to pull off. It would take years of work, room for radical experimentation, top talent, big investors willing to take a chance, and a supportive community around us. Kansas City is the only city where all those things would fall into place.
We think Kansas City is America’s most quietly revolutionary place. If you live and work here, you probably understand what that means. For those of you who don’t, here’s why:
All the conditions for growth are here. There are more than a few Midwestern cities with business-friendly tax codes and a reasonable cost of living. But there are few cities anywhere that combine that kind of favorable financial climate with great, tech-centric universities, a deep bench of homegrown talent, a next-generation tech infrastructure for 5G and high-speed fiber internet, and a close-knit tech industry culture that is built to support both startups and established companies.
Our successes are shared. The tech industry in KC isn’t a cut throat, competitive scene where everyone’s chasing the same piece of the pie. It’s a place where we know that every win is a win for us all. Here we see companies sharing ideas and forming partnerships that make their tech stronger. Successful founders going on to take a chance on funding local startups. Big companies like C2FO and EyeVerify spawning talent that start innovative new businesses. All of this has been going on for years, but right now we see a scene that’s matured enough to hit its stride and produce truly incredible results.
We get (sh)it done. Kansas City sprang up out of the prairie, a town created from almost nothing, built on the sweat and sheer will of farmers, traders and pioneers. Over the following decades, people here earned everything they had, growing the prosperity of this city from the land, and eventually building big companies like JE Dunn and Garmin from the ground up. This is a town that likes to make a big plan, then figures out how to get there together, step by step. We don’t brag about our hard work, we just put our heads down, put in the hours, and make it happen.
Risk taking is in our DNA. Every city was founded on some amount of risk. But in Kansas City, it’s a lifestyle that’s stayed with us. After all, what’s riskier than staking your survival on crops, weather, animals and the hope that a tornado doesn’t come and blow it all to pieces? That mindset makes us an ideal incubator for tech, an inherently risky business where only those willing to lose it all can truly succeed.
We create technology for the long haul. This is not the place to start your business if you’re looking to build something fast and flip it for a quick pay day. We want the things we build today to be around long after we’re gone. We take the long view of our city and our companies, building trust in our community, and creating lasting infrastructure that will allow us to produce technologies that have a far reaching impact.
We could have started Tesseract Ventures anywhere, but we built it here for all these reasons. There is simply no other place that could provide us with the support, inspiration, room for risk taking and talent that we find here. Oh, and the BBQ. We definitely couldn’t do it without the BBQ.
And while you’re here, check out my newest invention: The Tesseract
John Boucard is founder and CEO of Tesseract Ventures. Follow him on Twitter at @johnboucard. This commentary originally was published by Tesseract Ventures.