Digital Sandbox KC’s latest round of startup funding reflects the emergence of more Kansas City-built, scalable tech in the new year, said Jill Meyer, announcing the fourth-quarter roster of companies bringing innovative ideas to life in the region.
“These six companies demonstrate the creativity and diversity of our region’s technology founders and problem solvers,” said Meyer, senior director of Technology Venture Studio at the UMKC Innovation Center, which oversees the Digital Sandbox proof-of-concept program.
From diversity, equity and inclusion and skill-based ed-tech, to PaaS (Publishing as a Service), the latest companies selected for funding are building solutions in fast-growing industries, according to the program.
“We had a really strong quarter and saw the scalable, investment-worthy tech that some of our region’s most driven, innovative founders are building,” she continued.
Since the program’s inception in 2013, Digital Sandbox KC has provided project-development funding for 160 area startups, which has spurred an impressive $154 million in total follow-on funding. It also provides proof-of-concept resources, including market validation, prototyping and beta testing support to develop digital technologies within new and existing businesses.
For inventXYZ — one the six new additions to Digital Sandbox — the funding will allow the startup to kickstart its mixed reality curriculum and partner with professional game developers and motion capture animators, said CEO Nikil Ragav.
“Kids will get to learn how to make virtual-reality experiences from real professionals, like you would with MasterClass,” he explained, detailing the impact of Digital Sandbox’s investment. “In the process, students have to learn the history so they can make their recreation as accurate as possible.”
Click here to learn more about Ragav and inventXYZ’s 2021 arrival to Kansas City.
The six companies selected for support include:
- AZELLA, David Roberson (Grain Valley, Missouri) — AZELLA is the only full-service SaaS marketing platform to include automated branding, dynamic website building, AI marketing and matchmaking for financial advisers.
- inventXYZ, Nikil Ragav (Kansas City, Missouri) — inventXYZ is equipping high school students with cutting-edge, hands-on skills for the future. The company embeds real-world experiences in every high school so 100% of kids get immersed in hands-on STEM, computer science and artificial intelligence.
- MoodSpark (aka Telememory), Eliot Arnold (Kansas City, Kansas) — MoodSpark is a digital companion that detects sadness and uplifts with memories, conversations and video visits from friends, families and caregivers.
- SEPOW, Aishah Augusta-Parham (Kansas City, Missouri) — SEPOW is the “Yelp” for diversity, equity and inclusion. The company provides a tech-driven approach designed to mitigate instances of discrimination by equipping business with effective solutions and empowering users.
- PageMaster (aka Pocketale), Jaquan Sirls (Overland Park) — PageMaster is an online social marketplace that helps authors, literary agents and publishers gain more context on one another to reduce slush piles, unconscious bias and submission error through context and clarity.
- XReps, Brandon Fuhr (Olathe) — XReps delivers Extended Reality (XR) training & gaming products aimed at democratizing access to elite football training for the youth market, transforming quarterback training and evaluation at all levels of football and providing unique experiences to football fans worldwide. This is accomplished via XReps’ patent-pending XR platform.
Digital Sandbox KC is already accepting new applications for its first-quarter 2022 cycle and presentations.
Click here to learn more about Digital Sandbox KC or to submit ideas for funding.
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.