Editor’s note: The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a sponsor of Startland News.
As a new cohort of pitchers prepare to toss their nets toward local land sharks at this month’s Pure Pitch Rally, the addition of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as a key financial backer elevates the annual competition for spot-cash funding and resources.
Pitch your deck chairs
During a live Oct. 18 event, eight startup founders will pitch to more than 100 “land sharks” — a nod to the hit TV show “Shark Tank” and Kansas City’s landlocked geography — who will donate $1,000 to the pitcher of their choice. In total, up to $1 million in cash and resources will be awarded.
“This is more than an event — it’s a platform focused on social impact investing that connects the city’s most successful entrepreneurs, corporate citizens and civic ecosystems,” said Karen Fenaroli, founder of Pure Pitch Rally and CEO of Fenaroli & Associates, a premier talent consultancy. “Aligning with the Kauffman Foundation’s goals, we are eliminating hurdles to create more startups, which in turn create jobs and solidify the Kansas City region’s reputation as a Midwestern magnet for talent.”
The one-of-a-kind event — set for in-person and invite-only Oct. 18 at the downtown Loews Kansas City Hotel with appropriate safety measures in place, organizers said — is offering up to $1 million in cash prizes and resources, keeping with its mission to put entrepreneurs in the room with decision-makers and investors, Fenaroli said. About 130 attendees are expected at the gathering, which now its sixth year has become one of the startup community’s cornerstone events.
Click here to read about the 2020 Pure Pitch Rally winners, which included PMI Rate Pro and SureShow, two of Startland News’ Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2021.
Following a rigorous selection process this summer, Pure Pitch Rally tapped eight tech Kansas City startups that are creating solutions to enhance communities and improve quality of life, she added.
2021 pitchers include:
- Azella, David Roberson — Azella is an automated platform built to simplify branding and the digital experience for independent financial advisors and their targeted customer base.
- Crib Coaching, Jill Bertelsen — Crib Coaching uses artificial intelligence to gamify parental education. Each day, information coupled with a game builds parenting confidence.
- MD MatchUp, Bob Waddell — MD MatchUp is a dating-app-like solution for patients and providers that works on any health network’s website or app, providing patients a curated list of compatible providers.
- SeeInMe, Risa Stein — SeeInMe enables family members to share a personality profile for loved ones to ensure they receive truly person-centered care.
- Tenfold Security, Jon Broek — Tenfold Security addresses the growing cybersecurity personnel deficit and closes the knowledge gap by offering automated cloud security services and software.
- Veeper, Jordan Williams — Veeper is a Shopify app that tracks each customers’ shopping habits to apply the optimum discount that gets them to buy more.
- Venboo, Juaquan Herron — Venboo strives to help small businesses easily locate and book events that match their needs, in addition to tracking event-related expenses.
- Vetelligence, Zachary Oshinbanjo — Vetelligence aims to create a more diverse hiring environment for employers using data and artificial intelligence to build relationships with the military community.
The startups’ selection to the 2021 Pure Pitch Rally opens the door to opportunities before, during and after the event, Fenaroli said. In addition to pitching and networking with local executives, community leaders and investors, founders also are invited to participate in four bootcamps that aim to help them build a firm foundation for their business.
Alongside the Kauffman Foundation, the Pure Pitch Rally is supported by presenting sponsors BKD, Circle Sideways, Fenaroli & Associates, nbkc bank, Park University and Polsinelli. Other backers include Artisan Technology Group, EVB Designs, Lockton, Morningstar Communications, Plexpod and Worcester Investments.
The Oct. 18 event also is expected to include an educational component led by the Blue Valley CAPS program for students interested in entrepreneurship, Fenaroli detailed, further connecting Pure Pitch Rally to aims of the Kauffman Foundation, she said.
Set for Spring 2022, Kansas and Missouri educators will have the opportunity to send students to an in-person learning event where one of the event pitchers shares a business challenge he or she is facing. Students will then receive instruction from educators on how to think as entrepreneurs, helping find ways to address and solve the problem.
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.