When the Dolphin Tank pitch showcase sinks its teeth into a market like Kansas City, the goal is to accelerate women-led tech companies to a national level, said Rachel Rong.
“Our mission is to build out the ecosystem and support women entrepreneurs in Kansas City,” said Rong, the director of operations for Springboard Enterprises, which partners with Wells Fargo, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and OneKC for Women for Dolphin Tank events.
Now in its second year in Kansas City, Springboard Enterprises’ Dolphin Tank is set for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, at Polsinelli, 900 W. 48th St.
Springboard is a 501c3 not for profit organization that works to boost women entrepreneurs in technology and life sciences.
“We have been around for 23 years,” Rong explained. “There are close to 900 women who have come through our programs. There are 27 IPO companies, 10 unicorn companies, and we have more than 200 merger and acquisition transactions. So it’s a very robust set of programs we have for women entrepreneurs, especially in the healthcare space.”
Through the event, a trio of Kansas City women tech entrepreneurs — Jonaie Johnson, founder and CEO, Interplay; Lauren Hays, co-founder and CEO, The Matrascence; and Laura Owen, president and CEO, HealthyID, will have the opportunity for connections, capital, and insight from the audience of investors, advisors, and industry leaders, according to the organization.
Interplay and The Matrascence are among the startups also competing for grants from LaunchKC. Winners of the LaunchKC grants competition are expected to be revealed during Global Entrepreneurship Week-Kansas City at an event 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, at J. Rieger & Co. Distillery.
Three more Dolphin Tank pitch events — two in person and one virtual — are expected in 2024; set for in February, August, and November. Applications are already being accepted.
“It’s a three-years series because we believe that, to be able to build out an ecosystem altogether,” Rong added. “We can’t just have one event and be done.”
Pitching companies include:
- Interplay (Jonaie Johnson), Kansas City, Missouri — Smart dog crate that allows owners to play music, talk to, and feed their pets while they’re away.
- The Matrescence (Lauren Hays, Megan Dalton), Prairie Village — A digital app and brand dedicated to advocating and innovating in the field of maternal mental health.
- HealthyID (Laura Owen), Lenexa — A life science company that focuses on preventive health products and services. Its mission is to help people move from “sick care” to “health care” through at-home wellness testing, education and innovation.
Expert “dolphins” set to offer support at the event include: