Nine more Kansas City tech startups have received support through Comeback KC Ventures to take the next steps to launch new technologies and startups in response to challenges stemming from the pandemic. A total of more than 20 innovations are now part of the program.
The community is invited to meet some of Comeback KC Ventures Fellows at an Innovation Showcase from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. May 18 at The Futures Group at 1801 Oak St., Kansas City, Missouri. Register to attend: kcdigitaldrive.org/event/comeback-kc-innovation-showcase/
These nine newest innovations to join Comeback KC Ventures were conceived after two years of the coronavirus pandemic revealed and ignited a need for rapid change and innovation in health care, wellness, immunizations and virtual meetings, among other areas. Patients put off seeing a primary care physician for non-life-threatening procedures. Medical professionals traveled and needed mid-term lodging. People met virtually and sought new ways to digitally experience locations without person-to-person contact. Handling immunizations and vaccines became a hot topic. And during all this, we looked for ways to stay active and healthy. These nine Comeback KC Ventures startups from the Kansas City region have worked to address these pandemic-related needs.
“COVID-19 illuminated gaps that these innovators have leveraged,” says Charlotte Clark, project coordinator for UMKC Innovation Center’s Technology Venture Studio. “Where others saw roadblocks, these founders saw great opportunities to become pioneers for new tech right here in Kansas City, creating more equitable solutions for those in need and expanding the possibilities of what innovation looks like in the region.”
Comeback KC Ventures, funded by a SPRINT Challenge grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, will wrap at least 20 local, early-stage innovations in support, resources, mentorship and financial assistance to accelerate COVID-related solutions. Led by KC Digital Drive and the UMKC Innovation Center, the program is sprinting toward 10 new businesses, 30 new jobs and $5 million in follow-on funding in an 18-month period, culminating with the Innovation Fest in August.
Meet the next nine Comeback KC Ventures fellows
These innovators are commercializing new solutions to problems in health care, wellness, video communication, immunization records, venue booking, vaccine platforms and accommodations for traveling doctors.
Bob Waddell and Jim Brown, Founders of MD Matchup
MD Matchup focuses on the patient’s needs and preferences by creating a platform that matches patients to the right provider. During the pandemic, patients abandoned wellness visits and canceled clinic and elective surgery appointments, which allowed for minor health issues to be neglected or worsen. Now, approximately 64 million Americans would benefit from establishing a primary care relationship. MD Matchup is currently partnering with health systems and aims to work with insurance networks, provider groups and telehealth companies so patients everywhere can find a provider they can use and trust long term. Learn more at https://www.mdmatchup.com/.
Kenneth Yancy, Founder & CEO of NoW
NoW is a virtual meeting platform that allows for easy and secure video communication. During the pandemic, all meetings and events went virtual, and most of us turned to Zoom, where we consistently dealt with user experience issues related to security, forced updates and crashes. NoW is positioned to become a disrupter in the video conferencing space by providing customers a solid return on investment. Learn more at nowvideo.us.
Jessie & Jeff Pavalone, Founders of Venues Made Simple
Venues Made Simple is creating a tool for engaged couples to find, tour and book venues 100% online. Although most weddings were postponed during the pandemic, booking venues for post-pandemic events became almost impossible because the process relied on in-person contact. Venues Made Simple’s mission is to help small to mid-sized venues secure more weddings to help their business thrive and ultimately to help more people get married. This technology also lends itself to other types of businesses with similar needs if in the future, the company chooses to expand to other industries. Learn more at venuesmadesimple.com.
Dr. Saroj Gupta, Founder of MyDigiRecords
MyDigiRecords allows for vulnerable populations to manage their immunization records digitally. Because doctor’s offices were closed during the pandemic, these populations could not access their paper or electronic records, which caused individuals to either miss important vaccinations or take multiple doses, leading to adverse outcomes. MyDigiRecords aims to provide its SaaS and mobile platform to populations, such as foster children, homeless people, immigrants and elderly people across the globe. Learn more at mydigirecords.com.
Dr. Courtney Younglove, Founder of Health Partners MD
Health Partners MD saves employers money in health care and disability costs by providing a disease-management platform that directly addresses obesity in employees. During the pandemic, obesity rates rose, and those infected by COVID-19 had higher morbidity and mortality rates. Health Partners MD is providing education and training to people with obesity as an employee benefit, which allows users to become healthier at no cost. Learn more at healthpartnersmd.com.
Shapree Marshall, Founder of A Traveled Path
A Traveled Path is a platform that connects traveling medical professionals with local property owners to accommodate mid-term rental needs. During the pandemic, traveling medical professionals were in high demand but lacked the appropriate living facilities to rest from their long shifts. A Traveled Path will be expanding the pool of property owners so professionals with specific accommodation requests can find affordable places to stay.
Nick Bennett & Dan Schwarzlander, Founders of VaccineAssist
VaccineAssist is a platform that allows vaccine providers to optimize their workflows and increase patient engagement by personalizing the patient-vaccine experience. During the pandemic, patients had difficulty understanding and adhering to CDC-based vaccine recommendations and providers didn’t have the infrastructure to scale vaccine offerings. VaccineAssist is a step toward developing innovative and patient-driven tools to keep patients informed and engaged with their pharmacy providers. Learn more at http://www.vaccineassist.co.
Clifton Alexander, Founder of Perfect Day
Perfect Day is a platform that ties health and wellness to the weather and encourages users to get outdoors. During the pandemic, the work/life balance changed, and those confined to their homes for long stretches of time became more sedentary. Perfect Day is adding creative ways for users to engage with the weather that will improve mental and physical health when starting new post-pandemic wellness routines.
Jeff Blackwood, Founder of New Frontier Mobile Diagnostics
New Frontier Mobile Diagnostics provides patients and providers affordable and convenient diagnostic imaging services, which can include cardiac, vascular and OB/GYN procedures. During the pandemic, over 40% of patients delayed diagnostic care to avoid visiting hospitals. The company is in a pilot with local hospitals and plans to expand nationwide to direct primary care facilities, corporate clinics and home-based care providers. Learn more at www.newfrontiermd.com.
Become a Comeback KC Ventures Fellow
Comeback KC Ventures is seeking entrepreneurs and innovators in the Kansas City bi-state area who are building new technology businesses or innovation-focused business lines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
First-time or seasoned innovators are welcome to apply. Qualified fellows must be:
pursuing a new business, product or service line in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic
developing an innovation with potential for high growth that brings additional revenue and jobs to the KC region
based in or have a significant business presence in the greater KC metro area
All Fellows are encouraged to apply for Digital Sandbox KC proof-of-concept project support. An average of $20,000 in direct technical assistance is available per project. Apply to become a Comeback KC Ventures Fellow or recommend a business for support at https://airtable.com/shrxODeUQWcL7wKLg.
Become a Comeback KC Ventures advisor or mentor
Comeback KC Ventures also welcomes advisors, mentors, investors and others, from all areas of expertise, who are willing to provide support for and help advance these innovations. Interested individuals should apply at https://airtable.com/shrxODeUQWcL7wKLg.
About Comeback KC Ventures
Comeback KC Ventures is funded through an 18-month SPRINT Challenge grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and administered by KC Digital Drive and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center.
About Comeback KC Ventures Fellows
The Fellows program supports select researchers, innovators and businesses that can solve issues related to COVID-19, create new jobs and find additional investment by October 2022. The program is designed to include everyone from first-time entrepreneurs to established businesses building new product and service lines. Types and levels of funding and support may differ depending on the stage of the business and the experience of the entrepreneur. To learn more about the Comeback KC Ventures Fellows Program or to apply online, visit https://tinyurl.com/comebackkcfellows.
About KC Digital Drive
KC Digital Drive is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote a more equitable Kansas City through digital leadership, to maximize technology use by diverse communities, and to spur the development of technology solutions for vexing public problems. For more information, visit kcdigitaldrive.org.
About the Technology Venture Studio at the UMKC Innovation Center
The Technology Venture Studio, a program of the UMKC Innovation Center, delivers a strong suite of programs to support business owners in creating and growing new technology businesses. The studio also plays a key role in the region by facilitating connections between companies, regional research centers, investors, educational programs and mentors, creating support and connections that lead to new business growth. For more information, visit umkcinnovates.com/tech.