Startup Scene Explodes In Kansas City
Written by Ken Gaebler
Kansas City has quickly become one of the nation's hottest tech start-up scenes thanks to an abundance of funding and other opportunities that foster entrepreneurial growth and innovation.
When most people think tech startup, they think Silicon Valley. But while it's true that the Silicon Valley area continues to birth a large number of technology firms, other cities including Chicago and now, Kansas City, are emerging as popular locations for entrepreneurs launching technology-based ventures.
As the home of the Kaufmann Foundation (a well-known research and grant-making organization for entrepreneurship and education), Kansas City has become a Midwest mecca for technology entrepreneurs. Recently, the startup appeal of the Kansas City region has been fueled by several important opportunities:
- The Sprint/Techstars Mobile Health Accelerator. The Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator is providing 10 mobile health-related startups with an intensive 3-month program designed to help entrepreneurs improve their skills and business strategies under the mentorship of leading technology experts. The program also provides each participating startup with up to $120,000 in funding.
- Digital Sandbox KC. Digital Sandbox KC has been aggressively assisting and funding area startups over the past year. The group recently announced that it had helped 19 companies receive more than $7 million in funding since early 2013, achieving its goal six months early. Launched in February 2013, Digital Sandbox KC has worked with over 160 companies and provided project funding for 37 Kansas City technology startups in industries that include health care IT, data security, creative mobile apps, big data, consumer products, technology platforms and more.
- Google Fiber. In late 2012, Kansas City became the first major U.S. city to receive Google Fiber--a service that provides online connections that are 100 times faster than average. Superior Internet connections are important to tech startups and have contributed to the region's standing with technology entrepreneurs. This month, Google announced that it will expand Google Fiber to even more locations in the Kansas City area, further improving the area's standing with tech companies.
In technology and other industries, the presence of business incubators is a serious consideration when deciding where to locate a company. Although the West Coast will continue to be attractive to some startups, Kansas City's rising profile makes it a location worth considering--especially for technology startups that already enjoy access to business networks throughout the Midwest.
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