Six more Kansas City area early-stage companies have jumped into the Sandbox and are receiving support to help them move toward commercialization. The Digital Sandbox KC advisory team recently approved proof-of-concept projects for Happy Food Co, TapTeach, Cancer Survivorship Training, EdgeUp Sports, Motavera and PerfectCube.
Digital Sandbox KC’s mission is to help launch new businesses and assist them with securing add-on funding. Launched in February 2013, the highly successful proof-of-concept program has worked with more than 300 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies across the metro area. Results so far:
- 52 proof-of-concept funded for area startups
- 23 new businesses created
- 181 jobs created
- $17.7 million in follow-on funding
“The companies selected in this round represent the stuff of daily life: food, health, sports, education, and employment,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “The quality and diversity of Kansas City’s early-stage companies continue to inspire.”
The companies approved for projects are:
· Happy Food Co delivers a new Eat Well solution for busy professionals and families who want fresh, home-cooked meals but don’t have time. Happy Food Co offers “meal kits” with ingredients supplied by premium providers and comes with visual instructions. Meals can go from kit to table in under 30 minutes. The meal kits are ordered via website and delivered daily to designated distribution partners that are equipped and monitored by Happy Food Co technology. Digital Sandbox KC money will support software development to connect the ordering process with distribution hubs. "We are privileged to join Digital Sandbox,” said Jeff Glasco, founder of Happy Food Co. “We feel lucky to be in Kansas City and are constantly amazed by the willingness of our community to bend over backwards in helping validate our solution as we work toward launch."
· TapTeach is an educational engagement platform designed to connect classrooms to mobile devices leveraging an on-demand experience driven by Bluetooth beacons. The beacons allow teachers to establish zones and deliver specifically-prescribed content to individual students or groups of students. Educators can choose content from the system or deliver their own lesson plans with minimal IT interaction. Support from Digital Sandbox KC allows them to build out important platform elements. "Receiving this assistance from Digital Sandbox is great validation of our vision for a connected and engaging classroom,” said Adam Jones, co-founder. “We're excited that Digital Sandbox has shared in the TapTeach vision, and the team cannot wait to ramp up development on the TapTeach platform and give area educators tools that will impact the lives of their students in 2015.”
· 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. “Support from Digital Sandbox KC 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.”
· 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. Digital Sandbox KC assistance will allow for a richer feature set to be developed and allow Edge Up Sports 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."
· Motavera is an online platform that enables small to medium-sized businesses to find and hire college students for internships and entry-level employment. Motavera is a combination of informative profiles similar to those on LinkedIn and Indeed’s job posting functionality but exclusively for college students. Support from Digital Sandbox KC will be used to further design and develop the existing minimum viable product of the platform. “I am ecstatic that Motavera has received support from Digital Sandbox KC and look forward to establishing ourselves in the Kansas City ecosystem,” said Nep Orshiso, co-founder of Motavera.
· PerfectCube provides business analytics tools – typically available only to large retailers – for small retail business owners. The tools show important trends, comparisons and predicative information so the business owner can anticipate and make more informed decisions by collecting POS and other relevant information. It’s almost like a crystal ball for small business owners. With Digital Sandbox KC funding the company plans to add additional functionality to help small retailers grow and flourish. “We’re excited about the opportunity Digital Sandbox provides to improve our product and move the company forward,” said Mark Calhoun, co-founder of PerfectCube. “Critical resources like this didn’t exist in the area 15 years ago when we did our first startup and we will be able to grow much faster as a result.”
Applications for Digital Sandbox KC are taken on a rolling basis. The Sandbox may cover expenses for project consultants, market research, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs. For more information about Digital Sandbox KC, go to www.digitalsandboxkc.com.
About Digital Sandbox KC
Digital Sandbox KC is an unprecedented partnership among private companies, universities, entrepreneurial support organizations and government agencies across the Kansas City region designed to spur the creation of high growth companies. Digital Sandbox KC provides proof of concept resources including market validation, prototyping and beta testing support for development of digital technologies within new and existing businesses.