From making the college admissions process easier for students to summarizing books and podcasts using artificial intelligence, the latest startups to join Digital Sandbox KC are a great example of the creativity of this region’s entrepreneurs, said Jill Meyer.
The four newly selected companies are expected to receive up to $20,000 in project funding and additional support to help accelerate their innovations.
“Our team is thrilled to welcome this extraordinary group of startups into the Sandbox,” said Jill Meyer, senior director of Technology Venture Studio, which houses Digital Sandbox KC. “In a landscape where early-stage funding is scarce, Digital Sandbox KC takes pride in being able to fill that gap and offer crucial support to ignite and drive innovation. By providing initial backing, we enable these innovations to gain momentum and attract further funding down the line.”
Among the funding recipients, Tony Caudill, founder and CEO of the new sports tech startup Duesy, is now a two-time Digital Sandbox KC awardee. He knows how important early funding is to a company, he said. With his first Sandbox-funded company, aware3, Caudill used the Sandbox funds to integrate with a strategic partner. In 2018, aware3 had a successful exit and was acquired by Nelnet.
“That integration was one of the key reasons for our rapid growth and eventual exit,” Caudill said. “With Duesy, we’ll be using the funds to accelerate the build of our MVP so we can start our pilot and get to market faster. I’m so grateful for Digital Sandbox KC’s continued support of me and our broader entrepreneur community in KC. We’re lucky to have such an amazing resource in our city.”
The four companies selected for funding include:
- Dropofwisdom, Louis Pires (Kansas City, Missouri) — provides personal growth and self-help content summaries and uses artificial intelligence to give structure to people’s efforts to change.
- Duesy, Tony Caudill (Kansas City, Missouri) — Makes registration and dues easy for youth sports teams.
- Playhaus, Connor Borrego (Kansas City, Missouri) — A smart wallet for your digital identity. The company’s software platform centralizes and transforms user and organizational data stored in third-party software to power an artificial intelligence system built on the blockchain. The company then uses the data vaults to improve the efficiency of digital ad spend on AI-powered systems by 30 to 90 percent.
- VU Scholarships, Andrew Marquez (Roeland Park, Kansas) — Helps high school students see the immense potential they have by awarding them scholarships from colleges before they even apply, making the college admissions process more exciting, effective and transparent.
These companies join 184 startups that have participated in the program since 2013.
In addition to receiving up to $20,000 in project funding, startups in the program gain access to the Technology Venture Studio community and technical project support.
Click here to submit an idea and pitch to the Sandbox.