A just-announced first-quarter cohort of startups are set to receive more than just $20,000 each in project funding from Digital Sandbox KC, said Jill Meyer, emphasizing the holistic support headed toward selected founders.
“Early-stage funding is just one piece of the puzzle that helps our founders succeed and our startups accelerate toward commercialization and follow-on funding,” said Meyer, senior director of Technology Venture Studio, which houses Digital Sandbox KC as well as Whiteboard 2 Boardroom and KCInvestED. “For the Technology Venture Studio, focused connections and intertwined support from founders, funders and advisers are foundational to driving success for the awardees.”
In addition to project funding, Digital Sandbox KC fosters connections by introducing founders to experts and investors, facilitating peer-to-peer entrepreneur roundtables and hosting ongoing conversations, like Black Women in Tech.
The five new startups bring Digital Sandbox’s total number of funded companies to 165. They include:
- Workplace Healing (Mindy Corporon, Lisa Cooper), Leawood — Workplace Healing LLC created the revolutionary Human Recovery PlanTM Software Platform, a B2B SaaS tool, to provide corporate leaders, managers and care teams with the empathetic muscle necessary to support employees affected by life disruptions. The Human Recovery Plan relies on the unique balance of both head- and heart-based initiatives to restore an employee’s productivity following a grief event.
- Foothold Labs (Sean McIntosh, Sarah Steeby), Olathe — The mission of Foothold Labs is to develop next generation rapid diagnostic systems that provide laboratory quality capabilities in the field for the military, health care technicians and first responders. Foothold Labs was funded through Digital Sandbox KC’s partnership with the city of Olathe and the Olathe Chamber of Commerce.
- DataSource (Tyler Bolz, Will Strout), Kansas City, Missouri — DataSource is building a better and more efficient world through data by optimizing logistics networks and industries to reduce costs and carbon emissions. (Click here to read recent reporting on DataSource from Startland News.)
- DataAppraisal (Tam Tran, Roger Ngo), Overland Park — DataAppraisal’s automated proprietary solution helps companies discover the monetary value in their data assets, allowing them to engage in new revenue opportunities without the risk of being undervalued.
- VaccineAssist (Nick Bennett, Dan Schwarzlander), Lee’s Summit, Missouri — VaccineAssist is a public health platform intended to create a personalized vaccine experience for patients and to help vaccine providers optimize their workflows and patient engagement.
Kansas City’s startup support network — the organizations and institutions that make up an “ecosystem” — is vital for startups to thrive, Digital Sandbox KC said in a press release. But measuring a startup ecosystem’s success comes down to how the people — founders, funders and advisers — intentionally connect and support one another, the organization noted.
As part of UMKC Innovation Center’s Technology Venture Studio, Digital Sandbox KC supports early-stage startups not only with project funding, but also with panels of experts during Summer in the Sand, as well as founder roundtables, where entrepreneurs are introduced to peer networks of support; referrals to other transformation funding and programs, like Comeback KC, Launch KC, Pure Pitch Rally, Pipeline and others; intentional connections to regional and national angels and venture capitalists for follow-on funding; and exposure to cutting-edge technologies emerging from our partner research institutions in the region.
“We’re thrilled to continue to support high-potential companies at this early stage, and we couldn’t do it without the stakeholders and funders who make funding and connecting these startups possible,” Meyer said. “Connecting founders to expertise, resources and to one another is key, and joining the Sandbox is a great way to help drive growth past the early stages of running a startup.”
Digital Sandbox KC is accepting new applications for its second-quarter 2022 cycle and presentations. Click here for more information and to submit an idea.