Digital Sandbox KC provides critical proof-of-concept funding, mentoring, and connections to help founders build viable innovations ready for follow-on funding. Since our program’s inception in 2013, The Sandbox has provided project development funding for 148 area startups, which has spurred $154 million in total follow-on funding.
Digital Sandbox awards project grants four times a year. Of the companies funded in 2020, 33% were women, while 60% were entrepreneurs of color. Over the past year, our program has provided funding to over 25 startups building innovative solutions in the Kansas City region.
Meet the startups:
Bertelsen Education(Kansas City, Mo.)
Many parents struggle through the transition to parenthood, and they want information that is quick and practical. Bertelsen Education is developing an app that uses artificial intelligence to gamify parental education. Imagine a Noom meets Duolingo-like app, developed for parents, with daily bits of information and a game allowing parents to build their confidence.
“As we are developing an app, these Sandbox funds will allow us to create an MVP and get feedback from customers quicker than we would be able to on our own – allowing us to help more parents in their transition to parenthood,” says Jill Berletson, founder of Berletson Education.
Bōzt(Overland Park, Kan.)
Bōzt (pronounced boast) is a social application for sharing and discovering new places to get great food with people you know and trust.
“The Bōzt team is incredibly excited to be working with Digital Sandbox KC as we move forward with our V2 release,” says Leo Esposito, founder of Bōzt. “We couldn’t have gotten where we are without their amazing feedback and support.”
CuePlay(Kansas City, Mo.)
CuePlay is a patent-pending technology that allows hobby sports enthusiasts to locate, reserve and pay for table time through mobile app-based payments, avoiding cash and coins entirely. CuePlay is the only product servicing the hobby sports industry and currently focuses on billiards tables but can also be incorporated into air hockey, foosball and shuffleboard tables.
“Winning Sandbox project funding is a game changer for CuePlay Inc.,” says Rebecca Simons, founder of CuePlay. “It allows us to finish the development of a beta app and get it to the over 200 pre-registered customers and businesses signed up for the beta test group. I'm so grateful Kansas City has programs like this one available to the startup community.”
KNIMO (Overland Park, Kan.)
KNIMO, short for Knowledge in Motion, is developing a collaborative intelligence solution to help marketing and sales organizations quickly capture, curate and surface organizational knowledge. Using its proprietary technology, KNIMO captures an organization’s knowledge base, contributed daily through channels like Teams and Slack – enabling marketing organizations to proactively present specific knowledge needed to move opportunities to closure.
“By capturing these one-and-done conversations within a company’s collaborative channels, we can proactively create, synthesize, deliver and measure net new content used to drive opportunities forward,” says KNIMO founder Jason Reid. “This is an industry game changer.”
SeeinME (Lee Summit, Mo.)
An inability to connect with a person who experiences communication challenges frustrates providers, promotes anxiety in family members and ends in isolation for the individual. SeeInMe enables family members to share a personality profile for loved ones ranging from preverbal infants to those with special needs to elderly victims of stroke and dementia, enabling truly person-centered care across numerous settings.
“We are immensely grateful to Digital Sandbox KC for providing funding for SeeInMe,” says Risa Stein, founder of SeeinME. “Rather than having to utilize a preconstructed platform with multiple constraints, we can now create our platform in a way that will empower parents and communication-challenged individuals while simultaneously creating maximum value for our business customers.”
VRdojo (Kansas City, Mo.)
VRdojo is building Dust, a VR e-sport that collects all popular VR gameplay styles into a cross-platform and free-to-play game – the Overwatch of VR. Dust is built on an extremely scalable networking system that distributes network load among users such that tens of thousands of people can all share the same virtual space at one time. Professional matches, music festivals or any massive event can take place in a virtual stadium filled with fans from across the globe.
B1rdOne(Kansas City, MO)
B1rdOne is revolutionizing the way field operations are conducted. Using cutting-edge tools such as drones, augmented reality and real-time communication – B1rdOne is closing the communication gap for first responders and life-saving resources.
BryghtLabs builds AI-injected games – merging entertainment and education into novel hardware products. The startup’s launch product, ChessUp, is the most-funded chess product in crowdfunding history with over 6,000 units pre-ordered.
Kadogo(Overland Park, KS)
Kadogo helps users turn everyday purchases into charitable donations. The company’s platform makes it simple for everyone to donate their spare change, cashback rewards and more to nonprofits.
Love Lifesciences(Overland Park, KS)
Love Lifesciences is developing a series of injection safety devices which will improve the patient experience when injection medications are required for care. The injection process is tedious, can induce unnecessary pain and frequently evokes anxiety and fear. MultiPen will allow for a better injection experience, providing patients complete injection control while limiting opportunity for error.
SaRA Health(Kansas City, MO)
SaRA Health provides personalized injury and fall prevention paths through its platform to high-risk populations like first responders and senior citizens. The company’s customers – corporate wellness providers, home health and PT clinics – apply their content directly to patients or provide SaRA Health with their content and mapping, which the company subsequently "codes" into a fully digital patient experience.
VEEPER (Kansas City, MO)
Veeper builds personalized loyalty programs for online stores and tracks customers’ shopping habits to apply the optimum discount that gets them to buy more. The company’s MVP saw a 14% net increase in 30 launch partners’ average order value.
Bodify (Overland Park, KS)
Bodify is a web-based platform that leverages computer vision and artificial intelligence to help online shoppers find the best brands for their bodies. This both improves the shopping experience and reduces returns seen by online retailers. The company believes that by helping shoppers make better decisions up front regarding what to buy, the purchases they make stay purchased.
Interplay (Kansas City, MO)
Interplay helps create digital crating experiences by providing dog owners with a remote-control dog crate attachment.
Splitsy (Lenexa, KS)
Splitsy is a patent-pending mobile application that allows users to automatically split large shared bills without the need for P2P transferring services. Splitsy solves this problem through intuitive software unlike any other available on the market today.
Audo AI (Kansas City, MO)
Audo AI transforms the way media is produced by combining media processing technology with cutting edge artificial intelligence. Audo's resulting tools will radically improve every stage in content creation from capturing and enhancing to editing and distribution while empowering creators and businesses with software that is simple to use, affordable and powerful.
LeadSigma (Lenexa, KS)
LeadSigma is a sales-tech platform that plugs leaky sales funnels by connecting online forms (websites, landing pages, and/or digital lead forms) to business phones and by giving the business an actionable game plan for future follow-up activities, LeadSigma creates revenue generating conversations with new customers in a matter of seconds and ensures that businesses know exactly when and how each sales follow-up action happens.
Air Traffic Awareness (Kansas City, MO)
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.
AWA Technology LLC (Kansas City, MO)
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.
The Market Base (Overland Park, KS)
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.
SureShow App (Kansas City, MO)
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.
MatchRite Care (Kansas City, MO)
MatchRite Care delivers personal health records to patients in a simple and clean format. Customers can access, store and manage their medical records from multiple providers, all in one software platform. Additionally, MatchRite's patient-facing platform will allow future health care technologies to connect with patients and achieve true interoperability.
PANDA Healthcare Technologies (Kansas City, MO)
PANDA Healthcare Technologies is the world's first tool for an objective, biometric measure of the presence of autism in children as young as 12 to 18 months. With PANDA, universal screening for autism can finally become a reality and ensure that more children get the therapy care they need early in life.
Team Cura (Overland Park, KS)
Team Cura’s Skills Beyond Drills℠ online training helps high-achieving high school and college athletes broaden their performance training to include character-driven interpersonal skills. Student athletes benefit from attaining their competitive advantage on and off the field.
The Vendors Assistant (Kansas City, MO)
Started by the founders of 2923 Comics, The Vendors Assistant is a tech application that helps everyday entrepreneurs turn their passion into a strategic business and allows small non-enterprise businesses to locate and book vending opportunities, secure travel accommodations and track expenses so they can strategically sell at events.