Prime locations along the Chiefs championship parade gave several local startups an opportunity to celebrate with their team members and families Wednesday as traffic and business largely came to a halt across midtown and downtown Kansas City.
“It’s not every day Chiefs players are walking the streets out front and waving at our team in the office,” said Justin Watkins, founder and CEO of Native Digital.
The offices for the scaling marketing firm are right along the parade route at 16th Street and Grand Boulevard; the company gave the entire staff — both local and remote — the day off to celebrate and/or relax, Watkins said. Four of its remote employees — from Omaha, Wichita, and Phoenix — already had trips planned to KC this week, providing a nice bonus for them to get to see the parade up close, he added.
“Being right on the parade route, several of our team invited friends and relatives to watch from our front row seats,” Watkins explained. “We had several parents and kids of employees thank us for the ‘box seats.’ (It was a) nice way for them to show off where they work.”
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Jon Broek, co-founder of Tenfold Security, and several coworkers stayed overnight Tuesday in their office — off 26th Street, just west of Union Station. Some stayed with the focus of securing parking spots to allow for family and friends — including his teenage daughter — to have easier access to the parade, Broek said. Others — like himself — stayed to ensure the safety of the office.
“(We had) air mattresses, sleeping bags, recliners, video games, Chinese food and so on,” he continued. “(It) was actually a really fun evening. Luckily our office has a game room/lounge and a full bar.”
On Wednesday, he said, it was somewhat business as usual for him and fellow co-founder Aaron Weissenfluh inside the cloud security solutions office as the rest of the team attended the parade or stayed home, although there were a few interruptions from people knocking on the window to use the restroom.
Outside the office, it was chaotic.
“We have actually been enjoying all of the people watching and craziness happening outside,” he told Startland News Wednesday amid the hours-long parade festivities. “Cars are parked on sidewalks, in front of loading docks, driveways, parking lot entrances, and on other businesses properties.”
The office for Homebase — a resident experience and connected building solution — sits just off the parade route at 16th and Walnut Streets and founder Blake Miller shared that the startup gave its team a half day off to enjoy the festivities encircling its Crossroads headquarters.
“Some came into our office early to work and then hung around,” he added.