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Digital Sandbox KC News

Sandbox Funding for Two St. Joseph Startups

Posted on Apr 09, 2018

The Innovation Stockyard announced two new companies to receive funding through its recent partnership with Digital Sandbox KC.

“We’re thrilled with the quality and quantity of ideas coming to the Sandbox through our partnership,” said Ronan Molloy, president of the Innovation Stockyard. “In less than a year, we’ve found three high-growth St. Joseph businesses to support and we know there are many more to come.”

The Sandbox partnered with the Innovation Stockyard in 2017, along with the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, the City of St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri Western State University and other local organizations, to drive new business growth and jobs in St. Joseph and throughout northwest Missouri.

“We know that there are creative, innovative entrepreneurs in Kansas City, St. Joseph and across the state of Missouri,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “The Sandbox provides critical funding so those ideas can move forward. By matching the program and its track record of success with the overwhelming response from the St. Joe community, we’re proving that supporting early-stage ideas is the way to support and grow entrepreneurship and build local economies.”


The companies selected for support include:

DocuLock helps businesses archive, index and digitize paper documents, protecting valuable business information from threats and making them accessible from any web-enabled device.

“The support from St. Joseph and the funding from the Digital Sandbox KC will allow us to meet the needs of our customers and provides important validation for our business,” said Paul Janicek, CEO of DocuLock.

WHETStone Devices developed an innovative brace to provide plumbing companies a secure and easy-to-install solution to meet new industry regulations for water heater expansion tanks.

“Funding from Digital Sandbox KC will allow us to move our product forward faster,” said Chad Raw, co-owner and manager of WHETStone Devices.

Launched in February 2013, results for Digital Sandbox KC thus far have included:

  • More than $1.9 million in project funding

  • 98 proof-of-concept projects funded for KC-area startups

  • More than 580 new jobs created with more than $14 million in payroll

  • $50,860,670 in follow-on funding


Funded by a grant to the Innovation Stockyard from the Missouri Technology Corporation and matching funds from Buchanan County and the City of St. Joseph, the partnership brings the Digital Sandbox KC program to St. Joseph, targeting early-stage entrepreneurs in northwest Missouri who have concepts that can rapidly grow a business into a significant employer. Businesses will receive as much as $15,000 in project development funding and coworking space for three to six months at the Innovation Stockyard, located inside the Kit Bond Incubator.

“We’re focused on continuing St. Joseph’s spirit of entrepreneurship,” said R. Patt Lilly, president and CEO of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. “By maximizing our existing resources and partnering with Digital Sandbox KC’s innovative program we are creating a pipeline for early-stage, high-growth companies in our community.”

Growing your business in Northwest Missouri?

Digital Sandbox KC is now accepting applications from entrepreneurs in the St. Joseph area for the next round of project reviews. The deadline for applications is August 15. Seven companies will be chosen to present to a panel of Digital Sandbox KC and St. Joseph evaluators on September 12 in St. Joseph.