Digital Sandbox KC helps early-stage tech entrepreneurs accelerate the commercialization of new ideas by providing project funding grants up to $20,000. Since launching in 2013, the Sandbox has worked with more than 500 entrepreneurs and supported 104 proof-of-concept projects. If you’re thinking if bringing your innovative tech idea to the Sandbox (and you should!) here are the top five things Kansas City entrepreneurs ask when applying for a project support and that you should know about the Sandbox:
When is the deadline to apply for Sandbox startup funding?
You can submit an application online at any time. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. However, projects are evaluated in the first two months of each quarter: January and February, April and May, July and August, October and November.
The evaluation team reviews pitches from early-stage tech entrepreneurs six Wednesday mornings during the quarter. Project review dates are scheduled first-come, first -served, and they can fill quickly.
TIP: Submit your application for Sandbox project funding the month before the quarter you plan to present.
What happens after I submit my tech idea to Digital Sandbox KC?
Once an application is received, it’s reviewed for location, funding requested and project fit.
If those three things check out, a member of our team will reach out with the next steps and get you on the schedule for a 30-minute presentation with the Sandbox evaluators. Each presentation is broken down into an uninterrupted 10-minute pitch and 20 minutes of Q&A.
TIP: Keep the application concise. We need enough information to understand the idea and your project, but it is meant to supplement your presentation, not be a carbon copy.
Who evaluates Digital Sandbox KC projects and makes the funding decision?
The evaluation committee is made up of market specialists and people who routinely evaluate business concepts, including and not limited to corporate partners, local angel investors and other investors. Each evaluator is asked to consider the following:
- Is the idea innovative, unique or in a crowded-space?
- Does the team have a competitive advantage and the expertise needed?
- Is the revenue model well-thought out? Is it a scalable business?
- Is this the right time? Is the market ready?
Attend a How to Pitch to the Sandbox session
, offered at the end of each quarter, for advice on what to do (and not do) when presenting to the evaluation team.
What happens after I pitch my startup to the Sandbox evaluation team?
All applicants, whether chosen for funding or not, will receive feedback on their presentation by the end of the quarter. The Sandbox team will make recommendations for resources in the entrepreneurial ecosystem for further support and development.
If approved for funding, the entrepreneur receives an offer to contract with one vendor to complete one project. Digital Sandbox KC contracts with the vendor on behalf of the entrepreneur.
Keep the momentum going. Connect with entrepreneurial resources
who can identify additional support organizations and help you grow your business.
What’s the catch? Does Digital Sandbox KC take an equity position in a company?
The Sandbox contracts with a vendor, so no funds go directly to the company or the entrepreneur and the Sandbox does not take an ownership position.
The “catch” is that your company is part of the Sandbox even after you project is complete. We care about the success of our entrepreneurs and continue to collect and measure the program’s impact throughout the life of their business. The bi-annual survey, required the continuation of the Sandbox program, is non-negotiable, but also an excellent opportunity for Sandbox entrepreneurs to share important milestones and connect with our team for ongoing support, mentorships and connections.
Check out the latest Digital Sandbox KC report
for an overview of the program’s impact and to learn more about the companies that have received project funding.
Now, it’s time to apply for up to $20,000 in project funding from the Sandbox.
Digital Sandbox KC accepts submissions on a rolling basis via an online application
process. Many concepts that eventually received funding didn't get it the first time around, so don't hesitate to get your idea to the Sandbox soon so you can start receiving feedback and guidance.
More questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for help.