KANSAS CITY, MO. (March 23, 2017) — Digital Sandbox KC added six new companies, including the first startups to receive funding through the new Energy Sandbox and as part of the Sandbox’s partnership with the City of Independence, Missouri.
“The continued support through partnerships, like Independence, Olathe and Great Plains Energy for the Energy Sandbox, give us the opportunity to increase the quantity and quality of early-stage entrepreneurs across the entire metro area,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “It’s vital that we continue to drive a high-volume of early-stage companies who have rapid growth potential."
Digital Sandbox KC is a proof-of-concept program that significantly and rapidly moves early-stage entrepreneurs from concept to commercialization. It is a unique collaboration among private, public, university/research and philanthropic organizations.
The companies selected for support include:
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.
“Energy Sandbox is an amazing program,” said Conner Hazelrigg, 17° 73° Innovation Co. CEO. “The grant will allow our company to expand technology to better support mobile-first developing nations access sustainable electricity.”
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.
“The Digital Sandbox KC funding allows Anticipate Ventures to significantly accelerate mission critical efforts with strategic partners,” said PJ Piper, Anticipate Ventures CEO.
FEWDM is creating healthy habits by designing and developing fitness products with integrated technology to improve the workout experience. Using motion-recognition technology, FEWDM can provide real-time feedback and interactive games during exercise to maximize users’ results.
“The funding from Digital Sandbox KC allows us to implement motion recognition into our mobile app,” said Tommy Saunders, FEWDM CEO. “This technology will dramatically help our business.”
Homegrown & Happy is an online marketplace for community recipe sharing, food swapping, and unique buying experiences in personalized foods. With funding from the Sandbox, Homegrown & Happy will enable UI functionality for advancing developments in the company's recipe sharing framework and supporting API integrations for both the Homegrown & Happy home-exchanged and custom-ordered product offerings.
Homegrown & Happy is the first company to receive funding through the Sandbox’s partnership with the City of Independence and the Independence Economic Development Council. In addition to up to $20,000 in project development funds from Digital Sandbox KC, Homegrown & Happy will have access to professional workspace at WerksLab and specialized business support through the iNTech Growth Program at the Ennovation Center, a business incubator located in Independence.
“We’re both grateful and energized by the support from Digital Sandbox KC and its partnership with Independence to support entrepreneurship and early-stage company growth in the KC Metro,” said Christine Sanders, Homegrown & Happy CEO.
Live-K is an innovative mobile application using GPS technology to remotely administer road races for recreational runners and financial rewards for participation. Participants pay a small registration fee and run a predetermined route at their convenience. At the close of the race, the registration fees are redistributed to a percentage of runners based on their performance. Live-K pushes users to run harder and turn their healthy hobby into an avenue for financial independence.
“We will be using our Digital Sandbox KC funding to develop our beta version," said Andrew Tanner, Live-K CEO.
TicketRx is a digital platform that connects attorneys and drivers with the push of a button. The TicketRx smartphone application matches drivers to a licensed attorney in the area where the violation occurred. A TicketRx attorney will contact the driver within 24 hours to discuss the case. The confirmed attorney will handle the case from start to finish, which in most cases requires no court appearance.
"This is an incredible opportunity for TicketRx,” said Bryan Shannon, TicketRx founder and CEO. “The Sandbox funding allows us to accelerate the development of our technology and platform!"
Launched in February 2013, Digital Sandbox KC has worked with more than 350 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies across the metro area.
Results for Digital Sandbox KC thus far have included:
- 85 proof-of-concept projects funded for area startups
- 34 new businesses created
- 371 jobs created
- $28.3 million in follow-on funding
Digital Sandbox KC reviews applications on a rolling basis and evaluation/selection cycles run eight weeks. Sandbox funding may cover expenses for project consultants, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs.
Currently, funding is available for Kansas City area companies in Missouri and Olathe, Kansas. The City of Independence recently launched a special project with Digital Sandbox KC aimed at its residents and GXP Investments partnered to create the Energy Sandbox. Visit www.digitalsandboxkc.com to submit an idea and learn more about Sandbox programs.
About Digital Sandbox
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. More information and the Sandbox’s annual report can be found at www.digitalsandboxkc.com
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