Editor’s note: Startland News selected 10 Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list, now in its seventh year recognizing founders and startups that editors believe will make some of the biggest news in the coming 12 months. The following is one of 2022’s companies. Click here to view the full list of Startups to Watch — presented by sponsors Husch Blackwell and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
A foundation of pivots was poured in 2021 for Kansas City-housed proptech startup, Particle Space, successfully positioning the company to build products for its competitors — a rare but successful path toward growth, David Biga explained.
“[We decided to] focus on providing API services that allow businesses or startups building products within the real estate market — to go to market much faster,” said Biga, founder and CEO, outlining reasons he feels Kansas Citians should keep an eye on the startup in the year ahead.
Elevator pitch: Particle Space is creating the proptech infrastructure for the internet. We make it really easy to build real estate technology through API (application programing interface) services.
- Founder: David Biga
- Founding year: 2015
- Current employee count: 5
- Amount raised to date: $650,000
- Noteworthy investors: Undisclosed angel investors
- Programs completed: Pitch Perfect at the Enterprise Center in Johnson County, Digital Sandbox KC, ELEVATIONLAB programming with the Missouri Small Business Development Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City
“We went from sensors, building integrations and [offering] a live view of your building to property management [and now API,]” he continued, noting ways Particle Space has found its purpose (and a disruptive niche) in what’s become a booming industry.
“You are seeing startups, left and right, that are building technology for housing transactions to security deposits. Particle Space is essentially in a position where we can be the backbone that powers all of these companies.”
Defined simply, Particle Space can be thought of as Stripe for real estate, Biga added.
“It’s really cool,” he said, reflecting on the evolution of the company. “It gets me excited. We’re handling the data, we’re supporting the growth and development of these businesses. We’re helping them go to market.”
As long as the company can fire on all cylinders, 2022 could be the year that defines Particle Space, Biga said, teasing plans for hiring, fundraising and developing young, local tech talent through a robust internship program.
Particle Space is also set to release its newest product by the time the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, he noted, further empowering the startup to begin work to expand its customer base from day, hour and minute one of 2022.
“There’s a lot of good things [on the horizon] for 2022. I think some of the customers we’re going to be bringing on board are some big hitters. … They’re going to be utilizing us as a core function of their business — which could potentially lead to investment or acquisition options,” he detailed.
“We plan on doubling our headcount — or tripling our headcount. A new round of funding, our seed round, will be working toward that.”
“[2022 is about] seeing the fruit of what we’ve been working on. What people have believed in us to do and taking that, executing on it and running with it.”
One of such things includes the reputation of Biga, a young founder, but a veteran of the Kansas City startup space, committed to giving back to a city that’s helped him become a thriving purveyor of innovation.
“Now that I look back on it, I’m very grateful,” he said, recalling previous experiences and roles at local startups that include EyeVerify (now Zoloz), CitySmart, Griffin Technologies, and PMi Rate Pro, as well as legacy Kansas City-launched companies like Hallmark and H&R Block.
In his current role as the company’s head of household, Biga hopes to take lessons learned from friends at such companies and use them to help further Kansas City’s place as an emerging hub for tech, capital, and community.
“I want to help people. I’m just helpful in nature. There’s no ill intent. I just like helping people. And I think that’s what creates a good community,” he said of his approach to life and as a founder and leader of people.
“If I’m helping you, it’s because I choose to do that. You don’t owe me anything. Having that attitude, in turn, has helped me build the right connections that have, essentially, led to Particle Space continuing to succeed.”
Biga credits much of the startup’s success (so far) to champions of Kansas City innovation, unwavering in their support and candid approach to guidance and feedback.
“I’m very grateful — and humble too. When you have people that believe in what you’re doing and want to get behind you and support what you’re doing … it really is cool.”
Without it, he admitted, Particle Space might have grown at a much slower pace, inhibiting Biga and his team from realizing the full potential of the company.
“Imagine you walk into an expo and it’s just a bunch of real estate startups. Little does anyone know that half of these companies are using Particle Space in some form of fashion to power their technology. That’s what gets me excited,” he said, laying out the company’s big picture goal and acknowledging his own team members who’ve helped get it through the front door of innovation with blueprints for disruption set to roll out steadily in the months and years ahead.
Click here to connect with Biga via Linkedin.
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Startups to Watch is now in its seventh year, thanks to ongoing 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.