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17º 73º Innovation Co

17º 73º Innovation Co. is working to find solar solutions to facilitate the expansion of electronic device usage in support of economic development and communication. The Sunshine Box, a portable solar powered charging system, will bridge the gap for those who already have access to mobile phones but live in communities that are off the grid and with unreliable power and connectivity.

17° 73° Innovation Co. is the first company to receive funding from the Energy Sandbox, a partnership between Digital Sandbox KC and GXP Investment (part of Great Plains Energy). Launched in summer 2016, the Energy Sandbox supports emerging startups and established companies located within or near the Great Plains Energy service area with innovative concepts focused on the energy sector. 

Acre Designs

The future of home-building is here today.

Acre Designs builds homes for the next generation that fully embrace new technologies, processes and materials.  They design homes that are more efficient, comfortable, intelligent and affordable.  By using a proprietary PGX system, owners of Acre Designs homes will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility expenses versus today’s typically-built homes. 

“Acre Designs has a truly game-changing technology that can revolutionize home building as we know it today,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox.  “This is the type of early-stage entrepreneur that fits in Digital Sandbox.”

A key technology that helps Acre Designs homes advance in energy performance is their PGX system.  This system uses geothermal energy to temper incoming air and to cool through the home’s slab. Through this system, Acre Design can generate more than 5,000 BTU of heating and more than 15,000 BTU of cooling, greatly reducing and possibly eliminating the need for an active air conditioner or heat pump.

The system is comprised of a series of pumps, geothermal loops, radiant slab loops and air/water heat exchangers.  Temperature is modulated via variable speed pumps that are controlled with a hub that measures various sensors monitoring weather, indoor temperature and humidity, and responds to user selected set points. The hub, based on open source hardware, will be compatible with various home automation protocols to enable interactivity with major automation and control systems.

The PGX system will improve performance of Acre Designs homes by 40%, allowing the homes to meet net-zero energy standards and outperform other homes on the market.

Funding from Digital Sandbox KC is enabling Acre Designs to finalize development and validate the performance of the PGX system.

AddVenture

AddVenture’s mission is to create adventure-added advertisements. The mission is accomplished by producing GameAds – Games that are Ads, Ads that are Games. GameAds are short, intuitive, online video games tailored-made to the businesses’ image to generate website traffic, boost brand recognition and leverage sales. Unlike other video games where advertisements annoyingly pop up during the gameplay, GameAds themselves are the advertisements. Everything about a GameAd, from graphic and audio to gameplay and features, are all specifically designed to tell a lively and animated story about a business’ history, reasons for being, value proposition, products and services offered.

As youth marketing becomes increasingly difficult due to the rapid advancement of technology, small local businesses, with their limit budget for marketing, cannot afford to host huge online marketing campaigns to promote themselves to young consumers. Their inability to appeal to the youth market, a customer segment estimated to influence over $30 billion in annual spending, hinders them from growing, or even sustaining their businesses

AddVenture’s mission is to create adventure-added advertisements. Adventure is added to advertisements through something called GameAds – Games that are Ads, Ads that are Games. GameAds are short, intuitive, online video games tailored-made to the businesses’ image to generate website traffic and boost brand recognition. In order to convert this brand recognition into sales, GameAds are designed to incentivize the players to purchase from a business. GameAds do this by having achievement levels that players can unlock and win coupons, discounts, gift cards or free merchandises. Since the players need to work hard to win these prizes, they are entitled to their victories and will have a strong desire to “cash in” their winnings. Each time players use their coupons or take advantage of their gift cards is each time the business makes a sale.  

“It is such an honor to have been approved for project financing by Digital Sandbox,” said Phuc Ho, AddVenture co-founder and CEO.  “This vital and timely funding will definitely help AddVenture in researching and developing the high-quality products that users love. On top of the funding, Digital Sandbox’s reputation and trustworthiness will tremendously increase our chance of finding our early adopters.”

Agreeable

The Agreeable Company is developing a mobile app (Agreeable) that allows individuals planning meetings (especially those with strangers such as through Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist) to do so in a safer and more reliable manner. The in-app messaging and agreements function allows both parties to work out details, including a no-show fee.

One setting particularly dense with no-shows is online classifieds, with more than a billion ads posted annual. Initial target customers are grouped by frequency of online classifieds use, including super sellers (buy or sell weekly); smart shoppers (buy or sell monthly); and spring cleaners (casual users of online classifieds).

The app not only allows for meeting details to be set with both parties, but the app also detects whether either party is present at the time of the meeting using the users’ phone location technology. The app then automatically compensates the user when there is a no show. Additional features include a rating system on users and suggested safe meeting locations.

“We’re excited to have been selected for Digital Sandbox KC,” said Ian Hoffman, co-founder and CEO. “It’s great to see others believe in our vision as much as we do, and this will allow Agreeable to grow our website features, giving our customers a more comfortable and full-featured tool for their meetings.”

Anticipate Ventures

Anticipate Ventures is transforming innovative health and hygiene, artificial intelligence, agtech, augmented reality, advanced manufacturing and cleantech technologies into successful business ventures.  The company’s first venture is creating products using ultra violet disinfection light spectrum called Far UV to significantly reduce bacteria and viruses and their associated diseases in medical, food, hygiene, HVAC/air and water applications.

Aware3

Aware3 is reinventing brick-and-mortar retail districts through an omni-channel digital experience.  Their platform, AMP, is a cloud-based service that can build and manage an end-to-end digital ecosystem, helping retail districts achieve growth through their digital touch points.  It serves as the “command center" for their digital presence, allowing them to provide a consistent and real-time user experience anytime, anywhere, and from any device.

B2G Data

B2G Data addresses the issue of nursing retention through a mobile app that allows nurses to record activities, earn points for those activities and then redeem those points for incentives such as paid time off, gift cards, raffles and catalog items.

Hospital reimbursement for services is increasingly being tied to care quality. Staffing shortages and temporary staffing can lead to a decrease in overall care quality and patient satisfaction. Hospitals can improve their financial bottom line by focusing on nurse retention, using B2G Data’s Tak mobile app. Tak means “thank you” in Danish.

The initial target audience for the product is hospitals. B2G Data has launched a single location version of the app and plans to launch a multi-location app before the end of the year.

“We are very excited that Digital Sandbox KC has given their endorsement to our nurse retention app with both encouragement and finances,” said Gary Abram, DEO of B2G Data. “Digital Sandbox KC's support will allow us to expand the app's ability to work with multiple clients at once.” 

BigBang

BigBang is a backend as a service (BaaS) platform for developing real-time applications for mobile devices, desktops and the web. BigBang reduces complexity by providing developers with a streamlined API that allows them to build scalable applications without maintaining servers or infrastructure.

Jonathan Wagner founded BigBang on the premise that application developers want to develop real-time features that function identically on any device or platform. There are many good tools and frameworks for creating the client portion of a real-time connected application across devices, but few for developing the infrastructure.

BigBang provides client APIs that developers can use to add real-time networking and structured data storage to their applications quickly and simply. They work across platforms and operating systems, and are custom tailored for popular client frameworks and technologies. In many cases, applications can be developed entirely using the client APIs. Developers can scale their applications to thousands or millions of users with no code changes.

Wagner sees a significant market for the service. The current mobile application development services market is valued at roughly $20.5 million. The BaaS market as a whole is less than five years old and is expected to grow from $200 million to more than $7 billion in the next four years.

The founder brings real world application development to the company. Wagner was the application developer for Flex Rental Solutions (formerly Shoptick, acquired), now the leading provider of cloud based rental and event management software. At Electrotank (acquired by Hi5 Games), he developed crossplatform networking middleware for games, simulations and virtual worlds. Technology licensees include Disney, Ubisoft, Mattel, Viacom, Spinmaster and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Proof of concept funding from Digital Sandbox KC will help expand the number of programming languages supported by the API and provide technical documentation.

Briefcase


Jobs boards, recruiters, college placement offices and sheer competition - juggling the demands of the job hunt fresh out of college is tougher than trying to find an actual book with an old-school card catalog.

What online catalogs did for college research and sites like Kayak did for booking travel, Briefcase is doing for university placement offices and college job seekers, with the help of Digital Sandbox KC.

"One of the biggest struggles start-ups face is the ability to pull in resources relevant to the companies Minimum Viable Product, said Christian Fisher, CEO. “With the amazing resources, physical, monetarily and mentoring-wise that Digital Sandbox brings to the table, companies like ours can offset some of those struggles and ultimately be successful earlier on. We are proud and honored to be a part of this next group of remarkable companies chosen to the Digital Sandbox program."

Fisher moved to Kansas City from the Bay Area after being recruited to lead the global talent acquisition of a large digital advertising company. There, he met Nick Mallare, and together they embarked on a startup journey to “terraform” the landscape of job searching.

Briefcase, powered by Cobrapps, aggregates job boards and sites, delivers real-time push notifications to job seekers and keeps track of the entire process from start to finish and beyond. A powerful management tool for the job seeker, Briefcase also allows universities to distribute jobs, track job placement and ultimately improve their job placement rates.

With a great idea in the palm of their hand, Fisher and Mallare recruited their team, including Caleb Phillippi, COO and Alex Benson, Director of UX. They then assembled their advisory board and developed their platform.

Support from Digital Sandbox KC will help Briefcase continue to fully develop their initial product version.

 

Bulletyn

Bulletyn increases student engagement around campus by digitizing the traditional bulletin boards. Students will be able to know everything that is going on around campus in real time 24/7 while organization leaders will be able to track and use analytics to plan events.

Students miss opportunities all the time due to not knowing about certain events or activities. Today schools still uses old, traditional and messy cork bulletin boards to post events, activities and any type of classified ads. Those boards are messy and students have to be physically present to find anything that might be of their interest. Students or organizations who want to promote on bulletin boards have to go through a process of making flyers, then getting approval to post.

Bulletyn is a mobile and web application that will provide students with real time access to everything happening on campus. Students will be able to find relevant events that interest them all in one place. Students can save events, get notified about upcoming events and explore new opportunities. Students can sell textbooks, find roommates or discover a new interest. Event organizers can gather analytics on previous events to better plan for the next one, as well as have access to other tools to communicate and engage with members.

 “We would like to thank Digital Sandbox to provide us funding to help further our venture,” said Mike Nguyen, founder of Bulletyn.

Cancer SurvivorshipTraining

Cancer Survivorship Training is an e-Learning company delivering continuing education courses for health care professionals.  The courses are designed to increase knowledge and cancer survivorship care, thereby improving the lives and well-being of cancer survivors.

Support from Digital Sandbox KC will help the company enhance the platform, enabling curriculum developers the ability to offer and sell on the site, thus improving the offerings to health care providers. “Its great example of how technology can improve lives,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox KC. “Dr. Klemp and her team are bringing practical education ​to help oncologists and healthcare providers help survivors of cancer.”

“Digital Sandbox KC support will provide Cancer Survivorship Training with the momentum it needs to develop online training and resources with the mission to change knowledge and change practice of healthcare providers,” said Dr. Jennifer Klemp, PhD, MPH, founder and CEO.  “We extend our thanks for the support and entrepreneurial spirit of Kansas City.” 

ClaimJockey

ClaimJockey files and manages long term care insurance claims for families and care providers, helping them access funds for needed care. ClaimJockey has a 90% success rate in having claims accepted after the first filing.

Here’s how it works:

1. The consumer, their family member or referral partner contacts ClaimJockey via a submission through the ClaimJockey website. The lead is electronically fed into ClaimJockey’s HIPAA compliant database system.

2. ClaimJockey’s experienced long term care insurance professionals meet with families to assess their needs and claim viability at no charge.

3. Highly trained case management staff then review the case, gather the required medical records, prepare and file the initial claims in the manor required by the various insurance companies.

4. After the initial filing and payment, additional claims must be filed on a monthly basis which can continue for years. The duration of ClaimJockey’s involvement ranges from three months to multiple years.

A highly experienced management team leads this effort, beginning with founder and president Wendy Rinehart. Rinehart is a nationally recognized long term care industry specialist and co-founder of the Long Term Care Guild, an industry association. She is joined by CEO David Rinehart, divisional vice president at LTC Financial Partners, General Electric and John Hancock; CFO Michael Briggs, president of INFINEDI, Inc., a top  medical claims processor; and Bob Miller, senior vice president of business development and sales, formerly with Amex Life, Genworth, CUNA and LTC Financial Partners.

With the help of Digital Sandbox KC, ClaimJockey will build a new website that can be linked to their HIPAA-compliant database.

Creelio

Creelio simplifies content marketing for small and medium-sized businesses.  The company tackles the “I know I should be blogging and tweeting regularly, but I don’t have the time” problem faced by many businesses. Creelio helps those businesses take advantage of content marketing as a smart and efficient way to build their brand and engage with a loyal community. 

In less than 20 minutes per month, businesses will have a growing social influence. Creelio removes the hassles of content marketing through a mobile marketing platform that delivers original, targeted, quality content that matches the company’s voice. Creelio regularly delivers content recommendations to a customer’s mobile phone where they can personalize and approve them for delivery to their Twitter, Facebook, and Blog accounts according to a customized schedule.

The market size is significant for custom content. According to the Custom Content Council (April 2013), annual spending on production and distribution of custom content rose 9.2% since 2012 to $43.9 billion. Of the average overall marketing, advertising and communications budget, 39% of funds were dedicated to content marketing. According to Outbrain.com’s Report: State of Content Marketing 2012, 96% of marketers surveyed use social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to distribute their brand’s digital content, up from 88% in 2011.

Based on 1,000 respondents to a study, “Characteristics Study: A Look at the Volume and Type of Content Marketing in America for 2013,” 40 to 44% expect to increase their output of Web updates, social content and SEO content in 2013. In an infographic built by blogging.org in 2012, there are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the United States with 42 million blog sites and 329 million people viewing blog content. Sixty-percent of businesses have a company blog, however, their rates of updating the blog are weak with 35% blogging once per month and 65% blogging once a year or less. In the micro-blog space, Twitter has more than 200 million active users sending more than 400 million tweets per day with 60% tweeting via mobile devices according to an article published in September 2013 in The Guardian.

Co-founders Steve Stava and Julie Edge bring industry experience to this new venture. Stava has 25 years of experience designing technology solutions. Edge has worked for more than two decades as a strategic communications and policy expert. Together, they have created the new “easy button” for content marketing. 

Digital Sandbox funding will help Creelio build the web interface and data analytics components for the platform.

 

Dewsly

Dewsly, is a safe and secure online community that brings together schools, teachers, parents and students -- all in one place -- to stay up-to-date on important school, classroom and activity updates. Dewsly can provide schools streamlined communication of important activities, news, and information using online tools that engage the community through articles, photo galleries, videos, and live streaming coverage of the education experiences that can be monitored and controlled by school administrators.

The company was founded in the summer of 2012 by Anthony Noll, Jake Lisby and Tom Clark.  The three combine a passion for education and community engagement with technical expertise and business strategy. The trio saw an opportunity in the current state of educational content. Today much of a school’s media content is captured in expensive analog formats within vertical silos which limit integration into more highly efficient digital platforms. Online searching for school information is difficult and results are oftentimes outdated and unusable. Additionally, the cost of maintaining traditional platforms (newspapers, yearbooks, and websites) while converting to new and ever evolving platforms is cost prohibitive to many school districts.

Dewsly™ provides an integrated, internet mobile based service solution that delivers exceptional value by improving media and communications systems to students, families, faculty, and the local community as a whole by providing schools with educational and digital media sharing services on a safe and secure platform.

Digital Sandbox KC will help Dewsly with the development of a smartphone app. 

 

DivvyHQ

DivvyHQ (Alluresoft, LLC) has received funding from Digital Sandbox KC and Dundee Venture Capital of Omaha, Neb., to ramp up marketing and operations for the cloud-based content planning platform.

DivvyHQ was initially launched as the content marketing industry’s first spreadsheet-free editorial calendar application built specifically for professional content producers. Today, DivvyHQ helps organizations plan and facilitate their marketing and social media initiatives, and communicate more efficiently than ever. Within one easy application, customers can manage content ideas, their editorial team, production workflows and deadlines.

Dundee’s investment follows proof-of-concept funding from the Digital Sandbox that helped fill the IT management void in the company. Digital Sandbox support also provided resources to develop the proper corporate structure for the company, better positioning DivvyHQ for follow on funding.

“We are very excited about how these partnerships will allow us to build a rock-star team that will accelerate the development of our application and provide your content team with a more robust and customizable set of tools,” said Brody Dorland, co-founder.

DivvyHQ was launched in September 2011 at the first Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio.

“We were so excited to see our tool fill a big need and eliminate much of the pain that has been tolerated by so many content practitioners,” Dorland said.

Funding Match

DivvyHQ was a great fit for Dundee Venture Capital, given its focus on Midwest-based companies with a SaaS solution in a rapidly growing market. “We are excited to invest in Brock and Brody to help push DivvyHQ into the mainstream,” said Michael Wetta, principal at Dundee Venture Capital. “DivvyHQ’s unique approach to planning and executing sophisticated content marketing strategies combined with the team’s expertise in the increasingly complex and growing market created an attractive investment. ” 

The company also fit the Digital Sandbox profile of a company on the cusp of something big. “DivvyHQ is a great example of how the Digital Sandbox KC can help fill a gap and get a company fully prepared for their first real round of equity funding,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox KC.  

Digital Sandbox funding for DivvyHQ was made possible by the Missouri Technology Corporation through a matching grant to the Digital Sandbox program.

The Next Chapter of DivvyHQ

With a solid foundation and a notable customer base in place, the company looks forward to introducing customers to the new DivvyHQ, a fast-growing company with a targeted focus on building the best tool for big brands, agencies, publishers and media companies who produce high-volumes of content. 

Founders will head back to Content Marketing World in September to give attendees the first introduction to the new DivvyHQ. Friends of DivvyHQ can use the promo code “DIVVYHQ” and get a $100 discount on registration.

E.D. Dental Services

Today's healthcare institutions are overwhelmed and part of that strain is a result of dental emergencies being inappropriately placed in hospital emergency rooms.  E.D.Dental Services, doing business as The Dentist Is IN, provides 24/7 dental consultation in emergency rooms, urgent care centers and wellness programs through telemedicine services. 

The “virtual dentist” program will help assess, triage, recommend care and appoint patients for dental treatment at a dentist’s office; saving millions of dollars of unnecessary and expensive procedures.  For example: a dentist communicates with the ER via The Dentist in IN kiosk to asses and​ facilitate oral health to emergency room patients.  The kiosk becomes an "additional staff member" to serve ER patients and get them the specific expertise needed rather than wasting time and resources that might be better spent on patients with appropriate ER issues.  

“We are honored to be part of the Digital Sandbox group. The funding we are to receive will help ensure our product is completed with security being a high priority,” said Maria Kunstadter, co-founder of E.D. Dental Services. “The honor of being accepted into this prestigious program validates our company’s story and future success.  Thanks, Digital Sandbox.” 

EB Systems

The resources, connections and funding of Digital Sandbox KC will help startup e-beacons launch its public safety solution, which will send out the first “beacon” in the event of an emergency, over web and mobile applications.

For the web, ​e-beacons shows public safety dispatches location and incident data in real time, filtering emergencies so trained staff can focus on the greatest need. For mobile apps, ​e-beacons allows users to report when they need help instantly.

The fully customizable system will serve designated population areas.

“​e-beacons is one of those straight forward companies that focuses on a filling a very real need in the public safety arena,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of the Digital Sandbox KC. “John and Hieu are developing a highly integrated system that is easy for the user and provides real-time alert and data for public safety groups.”

Lighting the First Beacon

There’s a scene in Two Towers, the second book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, where beacons on the seven peaks of Gondor’s White Mountains are kindled one by one to warn neighboring Middle Earth that Minas Tirith has been besieged by the enemy’s armies.

That scene was an epiphany for John Ruiz, CEO and co-founder of ​e-beacons.

“Watching that scene gave me the idea to apply that ‘beacon’ system to real- life situations. I figured something similar could be effective using web and mobile applications,” said Ruiz, who had recently moved back to his hometown of Kansas City after attending Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, hot on the heels and opportunities of Google Fiber’s presence in Kansas City.

He began building out the application, using his newly developed programming skills gleaned from a free RareWire coding class at Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, a program of the Kauffman Foundation that helps the next generation of innovative firms learn how to start and grow their businesses. 

Ruiz quickly realized he needed an extensive backend system that could receive and organize the alerts. Exhausting his own development skills, he decided to pitch his idea at Startup Weekend Kansas City. His idea garnered positive responses, and Hieu Truong joined the team. Truong, who had recently graduated with a computer science degree from University of Arkansas, had driven to Kansas City on the off chance he would find a project to work on after graduating from the University of Arkansas.

​e-beacons didn’t win the weekend, although Ruiz and Truong both saw the potential and decided to join forces and pursue it. Ruiz started networking, pitching and building his connections. That naturally led to a presentation at 1 Million Cups.

“It was an event that truly changed our lives. After the 1MC presentation things went from 0 to 60, and it took us to where we are now. We became well connected within the community and started taking advantage of any and every resource offered to us,” said Ruiz.

Those resources included the E-Scholars Program at UMKC, LaunchKC, OfficePort, and other programs through the Kauffman Foundation and around Kansas City. With the help of some key community members, mentors and a couple of beta clients willing to take a chance on the startup, ​e-beacons is now on the verge of successfully entering the market.

Lighting the Path

Ruiz and Truong will use the resources of the Digital Sandbox KC to take the next critical steps to move their startup toward commercialization. Funding and industry connections will help them cover initial startup costs and projects so they can continue to expand.

“Our ultimate goal is to achieve at least 1 percent market penetration, which would result in nearly $1 million in yearly revenue,” said Ruiz.

“The Digital Sandbox has helped ​e-beacons continue to build out its product set and get it tested and ready for the market,” said Shackelford.

edcoda

edcoda's innovative technology adapts education to today's generation by making learning simple and fun. The IP-protected gaming software platform delivers customizeable curriculum-based content to students through fun and engaging video games.  In addition, the platform provides educators and school administrators with actionable, real time analytics, classroom management, content management, and reports— all which are streamlined and easy to use.  

Today's educational landscape is trending downward with disengaged American students rising from 20% fifteen years ago to about 45% of K-12 American students today. When coupled with classroom teachers' job satisfaction dropping to an all-time low of 23%, U.S. education is at a crossroad of adapting updated curriculum with new learning tools and methods. The major reasons listed for non-engagement are dull traditional teaching methods along with the lack of or inadequate technology tools.

edcoda is an e-learning platform integrated with a role-playing digital game specifically designed to deliver interchangeable industry-standard learning content and assessment questions to players/learners. edcoda helps engage learners as well as streamline educators’ responsibilities.  Additionally, the platform is adaptive, so student learners can progress at their own pace and observed real time by the instructor.

"Funding and connection with Digital Sandbox KC will help in the full development of uniquely formatted electronic content that is a vital component in our business,” said Clarence Tan, CEO.

Edge Up Sports

Edge Up Sports is a platform for people who play fantasy football, aiming to make fantasy football research fun.  It gives participants “double coverage” or an overlay of an NFL player’s behavior and insights from multiple data sources along with traditional fantasy information.  This will give fantasy players the richest insights in the most convenient manner along with a robust user experience by combining the physical, mental and situational elements like injuries, weather and behavior. 

"Edge Up Sports is intriguing and unique,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox KC.  "Our assistance will allow for a richer feature set to be developed and allow them to move more quickly."

"We are excited about building tools for our customers that help them have fun and win their fantasy football leagues,” said Ilya Tabakh, CEO, Edge Up Sports. “The validation that Digital Sandbox KC has provided allows us to move faster, strengthen our team and deploy a better product."  

FanAddict


FanAddict is the first “fan-centric” event listing service, allowing users to easily track artists and relive their memories. FanAddict engages fans of all kinds with artists and events by genre, city, venue and event. Venues, promoters and bands use FanAddict to connect to a broader set of active consumers in a way that generates long term engagement and more sales.
 
Digital Sandbox KC resources are helping to prove scalability and develop the user engagement features for this exciting new platform.