Digital Sandbox KC completed its third-quarter application cycle by adding four new companies to its roster, continuing its commitment to spur innovation in the Kansas City startup ecosystem.
“In this time of uncertainty, being able to support early-stage companies and put them on a path to landing more capital is critical,” said Jill Meyer, senior director of the Technology Venture Studio at the UMKC Innovation Center.
Since its inception in 2013, the Sandbox has provided project development funding for 137 area startups, which has spurred a remarkable $102,295,920 million in total follow-on funding.
“Our current environment has been a challenging one to navigate for many of our entrepreneurs,” Meyer said. “As a part of our city’s startup community, we have a critical role to play to keep feeding the pipeline of innovation in the metro and to support the earliest innovations that will grow and fuel the economy. This all underscores the region’s commitment to supporting our entrepreneurial pioneers and their new technologies, in spite of all the challenges 2020 has presented.”
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.
Of the companies selected for funding support this quarter, three are from Kansas City, Missouri, and the fourth is from Overland Park, Kansas. Together, they reflect the breadth of technology, diversity and ingenuity that’s typical of Sandbox companies.
“With innovations ranging from telehealth solutions to on-demand diesel exhaust fluid production to marketing team software to a solution that helps pilots avoid in-air collisions, the latest additions to the Sandbox demonstrate the vision and brilliance that will drive our economy forward,” Meyer said.
The four latest companies selected for Digital Sandbox KC support include:
Air Traffic Awareness (Kansas City, Missouri)
Air Traffic Awareness provides patent-pending solutions that enhance situation awareness for general aviation to increase in-flight safety to avoid midair collisions. Its solutions leverage the ADS-B technology, which is geared to replace the secondary RADAR system in all aircraft. As of Jan. 1, 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration requires every aircraft to be outfitted with an ADS-B out. This opens up a market for real-time applications, like Air Traffic Awareness, to be compatible with every aircraft in the U.S.
“As a proof-of-concept grant, Digital Sandbox KC will help us secure our intellectual property, which is imperative for a tech-based startup like ours,” said Air Traffic Awareness CEO Kashif Hasnie. “As part of the greater effort in making Kansas City the ‘Most Entrepreneurial City in America,’ the novelty of our solutions needs the legal protection to move forward. And as we thrive, it will enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the metro. Air Traffic Awareness is privileged and thankful to be part of this process of acceleration and commercialization of new ideas and promotion of businesses and job growth in the region.”
AWA Technology LLC (Kansas City, Missouri)
NORDEF has developed technology to produce diesel exhaust fluid on-demand in an as-a-service business model. The result is the potential removal of millions of tons of harmful NOx emissions from upstream logistics and millions of tons of single-use plastics from landfills, while providing high-quality, long-life diesel exhaust fluid. The company plans to disrupt a more than $30 billion market.
“Digital Sandbox KC has allowed us to get the resources needed to get protections in place so we can be more open about our technology and take leaps forward, not just the next step,” said William L Walls, founder of AWA Technology LLC.
The Market Base (Overland Park, Kansas)
The Market Base is marketing software that eliminates the hiring process and high cost of working with an expert marketing team. In less than 10 minutes, a business owner can build a team and start a full marketing campaign for less than $18 a day.
"We're honored to receive the Sandbox grant,” said Jannae Gammage, chief troublemaker of The Market Base. “The program aligns with our own personal and company values: to level the playing field for underserved and under-funded founders. We were ecstatic to learn we would be on the receiving end because like most founders, a win like this is the difference between 10-times growth and going out of business. We're looking forward to becoming another Digital Sandbox KC success story."
SureShow App (Kansas City, Missouri)
SureShow is solving a problem physicians often face: the loss of revenue for no-show appointments. When appointments are missed, SureShow’s platform sends alerts to the physician and to the patient’s mobile device and invites the patient to participate in virtual services directly with a doctor, among other features for patients and health care providers.
“Winning the Sandbox grant will allow SureShow to add development features that we deem very important for securing a stronger market position and expanding customer acquisition related to adding communication features and collaborating with multiple caregivers and providers,” said Shelley Cooper, CEO and co-founder of SureShow.
Digital Sandbox KC is honored to support these new awardees and is ready for new applications for its fourth-quarter cycle and virtual presentations. Visit digitalsandboxkc.org for more information and to submit your idea.