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Meet 14 Digital Sandbox KC Alums That Broke the $1MM Mark

Posted on Apr 02, 2021

Every startup dreams of it: building a million-dollar business. While aiming to achieve this target is admirable, growing a revenue-generating, scalable company is quite the undertaking. It takes work, grit and a relentless desire to solve everyday problems through innovative solutions. 

Reaching the coveted million-dollar milestone is not impossible, however, and a number of Kansas City startups have demonstrated what happens when compelling ideas meet a critical market need.

The Technology Venture Studio helps early-stage companies overcome hurdles and survive the valley of death with the connections, education and capital necessary to move their businesses forward. Digital Sandbox KC, a Technology Venture Studio program, works to provide proof-of-concept resources, including market validation, prototyping and beta testing support to develop digital technologies within new and existing businesses.

Meet 14 Sandbox alums that have generated a million dollars in revenue and built global solutions right here in Kansas City:  

Anticipate Ventures, LLC a.k.a. Far UV Technologies

Anticipate Ventures commercializes technologies that change the world. They do so by working closely with and in between inventors, entrepreneurs, corporates, National Labs, universities, hospitals and investors to improve their tech transfer opportunities.

Their current innovation portfolio is concentrated in health care, clean technology, autonomous vehicles, agtech, e-commerce, fintech and artificial intelligence. In October 2020, founder and serial entrepreneur P.J. Piper, landed a huge contract with Boeing to manufacture a far ultraviolet wand that can safely sanitize airplane flight decks and interiors.

Founder: Patrick Piper
Funded Year: 2017

Aware3

Aware3 offers a suite of tools to make it easy for members to engage with the church and connect with each other. It’s the go-to platform churches trust to engage their members, having partnered with over 2,000 churches and counting.

Over the years, the company has innovated and combined their tech, transforming it into the Together+ platform. As the company looks into the future, they envision strong, engaged church communities—through both digital or in-person experiences.

Founders: Anthony Caudill, Joe Terry
Funded Year: 2013

DivvyHQ 

After years in the digital marketing agency space, DivvyHQ’s founders realized quickly that spreadsheets and generic project management tools weren’t the answer. Their daily pain points inspired the development of a better tool, one tailored for managing the unique processes of content strategy, editorial planning and creative production.

The Kansas City-based tech company has outshined bigger industry players with its software year after year. For four consecutive years, DivvyHQ ranked as the top content marketing tool in Content Marketing Institute’s annual Content Tech Survey

Founders: Brock Stechman, Brody Dorland
Funded Year: 2013

FireBoard

A “fitness tracker for cooking,” the FireBoard is a cloud-connected, smart thermometer designed to operate through your smartphone or through the web. It allows you to easily track up to six temperatures at once, and alerts you via SMS or email to make sure your temperatures are on track. 

In 2020, Fireboard launched an updated version of the new thermometer with a large, multiview graphing LCD screen, and an elegant, modern industrial design. FireBoard mobile apps and voice enabled technology with Alexa and Google Home also make it easy to use—making it a favorite for restaurants and barbecue enthusiasts. 

Founders: Ted Conrad, Steven Briggeman
Funded Year: 2016

Grant Company LLC

Grant Company grows businesses and delivers high-quality work that resonates with audiences. Founded in 2017 by Eric Grant and Brian Bell, the company offers a unique blend of media, public relations, communications and advertising services for clients. They are committed to delivering superior-quality work that resonates with audiences through unmatched storytelling. 

Founders: Eric Grant, Brian Bell
Funded Year: 2018

Idle Smart Inc

Idle Smart is an automated start-stop solution that reduces vehicle idle time and increases vehicle uptime. Through their Cabin Comfort, Cold Start Guard, Battery Protect and APU Protection features, the company offers a variety of benefits that help reduce idle time and fuel consumption and increase vehicle up-time. 

Founder: Jeff Lynch
Funded Year: 2017

IFTA Plus

IFTA Plus is the fastest, easiest way to prepare fuel tax returns. While other IFTA software tools produce a generic report that you must transfer by hand to your state return, IFTA Plus prepares your official state IFTA fuel tax return in seconds.

The company makes doing quarterly taxes a seamless experience, offering reminders to clients and sharing results immediately. 

Founder: Jason Reid
Funded Year: 2016

LaborChart 

LaborChart believes that every contractor in every corner of the world should have the ability to manage their workforce from anywhere at any time. The leading workforce management solution is built by construction, for construction. In 2014, founder Ben Schultz set out to build the leading workforce management solution for the construction industry. 

Arcoro,a software platform used to hire, manage and grow workforces, -recently announced that its customers can use LaborChart as an extension of their time and attendance software, enabling construction leaders to effectively plan for their labor needs between the field and the office.

Founder: Ben Schultz

Funded Year: 2015 

LendingStandard Inc. f.k.a (FormZapper.com d.b.a LendingStandard)

LendingStandard is the only secure online origination and underwriting system for HUD and Fannie/Freddie multifamily lenders. The MultifamilyDebt platform uses an online profile to match borrowers with lending options pulled from a sourced network of trusted lenders. 

The company recently opened a funding pipeline with its latest offering that exceeded $860 million in its first seven months of operation. 

Founder: Andy Kallenbach
Funded Year: 2013

PowerPlus Cleaning Systems 

IMPULSE, by PowerPlus Cleaning Systems, enhances boiler operation and minimizes high maintenance expenses associated with other cleaning methods. This revolutionary technology provides significant advantages over traditional boiler cleaning methods like sootblowing, rapping, manual shaking, blasting and high-pressure water washing. 

Vince Barreto, the president and managing director of PowerPlus Cleaning Systems has over 25 years of engineering, technical and product management experience. 

Founder: Vince Barreto
Funded Year: 2018

RFP360 

RFP360 designs, develops and delivers software solutions that transform how organizations request information, respond to requests and connect. The company’s founding team discovered a better way, and were first to market with a solution that eliminates specific pain points related to knowledge management, collaboration, communication, quality control, vendor selection and more for both buyers and sellers. 

Today, RFP360 is a category leader for proposal management software and was named one of the 2020 Best Places to Work by the Kansas City Business Journal. Moreover, their triple-digit growth over the last 18 months has more than doubled their workforce to support market demand. 

Founders: David Hulsen, Stuart Ludlow
Funded Year: 2013

ShotTracker (DDSports, Inc., d.b.a. ShotTracker)

ShotTracker is a revolutionary sensor-based system that delivers statistics and analytics to teams, fans and broadcast networks instantly, enhancing the experience of the game — both on and off the court. ShotTracker is revolutionizing the game by automating the tracking of detailed players stats, while being an affordable solution for basketball programs at every level. 

ShotTracker has secured$40 million from big-time investors like legendary former professional basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson and former commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) David Stern. 

Founders: Davyeon Ross, Bruce Ianni
Funded Year: 2013

Super Dispatch

Super Dispatch was built by car haulers, for car haulers. What started as an app is now a robust car hauling platform, connecting the auto transport industry through best-in-class technology backed by real people enabling carriers and shippers to move cars faster, smarter and easier.

In November 2020, the company announced its expansion into the shipper segment, stating that through a single, unified platform, the company now serves the entire auto transport industry by supporting shippers and carriers.

Founder: Bek Abdullayev
Funded Year: 2015 

TeraCrunch

TeraCrunch is a data science and artificial intelligence solutions provider, providing its clients with an eco-system of custom solutions, process improvement and experts. To achieve that, they have built an eclectic team of highly experienced business experts, behavioral data scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. 

TeraCrunch has found a niche in the healthcare space, developing algorithms to identify patterns that predict when patients could experience adverse reactions to various treatments. 

Founders: Kevin Payne, Tapan Bhatt
Funded Year: 2013

To learn more about innovations in the Technology Venture Studio at the UMKC Innovation Center, reach out to Jill Meyer, senior director of the Technology Venture Studio at jill@digitalsandboxkc.com.