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Creelio

Creelio simplifies content marketing for small and medium-sized businesses.  The company tackles the “I know I should be blogging and tweeting regularly, but I don’t have the time” problem faced by many businesses. Creelio helps those businesses take advantage of content marketing as a smart and efficient way to build their brand and engage with a loyal community. 

In less than 20 minutes per month, businesses will have a growing social influence. Creelio removes the hassles of content marketing through a mobile marketing platform that delivers original, targeted, quality content that matches the company’s voice. Creelio regularly delivers content recommendations to a customer’s mobile phone where they can personalize and approve them for delivery to their Twitter, Facebook, and Blog accounts according to a customized schedule.

The market size is significant for custom content. According to the Custom Content Council (April 2013), annual spending on production and distribution of custom content rose 9.2% since 2012 to $43.9 billion. Of the average overall marketing, advertising and communications budget, 39% of funds were dedicated to content marketing. According to Outbrain.com’s Report: State of Content Marketing 2012, 96% of marketers surveyed use social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to distribute their brand’s digital content, up from 88% in 2011.

Based on 1,000 respondents to a study, “Characteristics Study: A Look at the Volume and Type of Content Marketing in America for 2013,” 40 to 44% expect to increase their output of Web updates, social content and SEO content in 2013. In an infographic built by blogging.org in 2012, there are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the United States with 42 million blog sites and 329 million people viewing blog content. Sixty-percent of businesses have a company blog, however, their rates of updating the blog are weak with 35% blogging once per month and 65% blogging once a year or less. In the micro-blog space, Twitter has more than 200 million active users sending more than 400 million tweets per day with 60% tweeting via mobile devices according to an article published in September 2013 in The Guardian.

Co-founders Steve Stava and Julie Edge bring industry experience to this new venture. Stava has 25 years of experience designing technology solutions. Edge has worked for more than two decades as a strategic communications and policy expert. Together, they have created the new “easy button” for content marketing. 

Digital Sandbox funding will help Creelio build the web interface and data analytics components for the platform.

 

Smart Steps

 Smart Steps Mobile is a decision-making app designed for teens and adults with cognitive disabilities such as autism or Down syndrome.  It allows the user to solve everyday problems such as a late ride or a lost backpack. Prompts include social skills, safety tips and when to call for help.  “The Digital Sandbox KC helped the initial prototype to complete and launch the Smart Steps Mobile application,” says Jeff Shackelford, executive director of Digital Sandbox KC,  “and to create a portal for user-created decision trees, the top request from parents and professionals. 

"User-created content is one of several planned features to personalize the app," said Cindy Fisher, Ed. D., President and CEO of Smart Steps, LLC.  "With this feature, Smart Steps Mobile will appeal to a wider age range and in a variety of situations at school, work, home and in the community."
 

Cindy Fisher completed  UMKC’s E-Scholars program  an intensive entrepreneurial development program offered through the University of Missouri – Kansas City’s Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  The program is designed to provide promising entrepreneurs with the support and resources needed to launch scalable and sustainable ventures.  E-Scholars has helped to launch more than 160 ventures since its first graduating class in 2011, ranging from enterprise software to health care services to consumer products.  

Digital Sandbox KC and UMKC partnered together to fund startups coming out of the program.  



FolioMatch

FolioMatch is an educational portfolio platform designed for students as they navigate the competitive field while applying for college, graduate school or their first job.  FolioMatch helps match students with schools specializing in their degree field.   Additionally, the FolioMatch platform helps schools market more directly to the prospective students.

Evan Kirsch, founder and CEO, recounts the inspiration for the product. “I was sitting on my couch being pressured from family about how I was going to get a job after graduation.  Knowing the likelihood was not high (based on the economy and stories from previous graduates) I decided to create a new way to present myself from all other applicants and college seniors.  During the course of 2012, I shifted from building something for myself, to something for all students across the globe.” Kirsch and co-founder Andrea Moran based the company on this opportunity and have made great strides in development. Digital Sandbox is supporting front-end web development for FolioMatch’s platform.  The first of two projects is complete and will allow FolioMatch to launch and test its beta version.  The second project is currently under way. 

FolioMatch addresses a pressing need for students. Many discover too late that they need an attractive way to display the work they’ve accomplished. At the same time, other young professionals are left wondering what career path is right for them. FolioMatch aspires to be a resource to all the students out there who need more than a place to store their stuff. The company provides guidance and the tools students need to pursue their dreams – and be a success.

This is why FolioMatch is going beyond the online portfolio and has created a way to match students with the resources they need to succeed. FolioMatch has the ability to take the work done, plus any other interests, and match students with potential schools, scholarships, internships, service opportunities and a mentor. FolioMatch isn’t just an excellent resource for students: matching goes both ways. Now schools can find the perfect candidates for their scholarships and programs, without having to wonder if this student will excel at one’s campus. Their portfolios prove they are up to the challenge.

Speaking of challenge, it’s a tough job market out there for both businesses and college graduates. Now students will be able to get the experience they need and businesses will hire the students they want with our matching service. It’s truly a win-win for everyone.

Informed Health Solutions

Readmission to the hospital comes at a huge cost for the hospital with the new penalties in place. The risk of readmission to the hospital is high for many patients, especially those with chronic, complex illnesses, such as heart failure.  Informed Health Solutions, with the assistance of Digital Sandbox KC, is working to change that model.

Informed Health Solutions has developed a sophisticated blend of both high-touch and high-tech tools, designed to safely transition newly discharged heart failure patients from the hospital to home. Use of the tools and processes developed by Informed Health Solutions typically reduces heart failure readmissions by 30-60%, at a per-patient cost far lower than other approaches.  IHS also shares a percentage of its revenues with its hospital customer.

Elizabeth Blanchard Hills, founder and president, explains it this way:  “We are focused on the care Transitions space; how patients successfully transition from a stay in the hospital back into the community.  Our processes are the result of great science—a randomized clinical trial we recently completed-- and our care model relies primarily upon the power of group interactions. Put simply, we help patients change their stories—instead of being isolated and afraid, we empower them to become engaged patients who partner successfully with their health care team.   The magic happens in groups—four clinics that meet weekly for one month following discharge.”

Informed Health Solutions joins other tech, mobile and data companies in the Digital Sandbox. The Digital Sandbox KC provides proof-of-concept resources to support early-stage commercialization processes. Support for each Sandbox participant is customized based on the unique needs of the project as well as the resources required to move the product or service forward. 

Hills was provided a Digital Sandbox KC scholarship to participate in FastTrac® TechVenture™, an intensive eight-session course designed to give technology and science-based entrepreneurs a proven framework and network of connections to help grow a great idea into the next viable innovation.  She credits the class with changing her strategic thinking. “I went from thinking of myself as a person with a passionate idea to thinking of myself as an investor. We heard one lecture about what investors look for. That was my big ‘ah ha’ moment…why wouldn’t I look at this as an investor?” she said.

Hills also credited Digital Sandbox KC with connecting her to other startups, mentors and resources.

“Informed Health Solutions is an example of how Digital Sandbox can help entrepreneurs and startups in many ways,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC.  “Elizabeth was very passionate about her company but needed some help in further developing the business model so we offered her a Kauffman FastTrac scholarship and that was exactly what she needed at the time.”

While the company is still in its early stages, Informed Health Solutions is generating revenue and has been successful in several competitions and grant requests:

  • Semifinalist, 2013 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Care About Your Care” video contest
  • Winner, 2012 Overland Park Regional Medical Center’s Innovator’s Award: Quality and Patient Safety category
  • Winner, National Institutes of Health grant, HF Clinic Appointments: Self-Management & Care of Heart Failure
  • Winner, SBIR grant, Lowering the Cost of Congestive Heart Failure
  • Winner, EAG 10th Anniversary Pay-it-Forward Celebration--$10,000 worth of marketing
  • Secured a pilot with KU Hospital beginning in early 2014

Play-it Health

More than half of Americans—adults and children--are on chronic medications. Failure to take that medication can result in disastrous personal and financial consequences. With organ transplants, lack of adherence can mean graft loss and even death.  In diabetes, it can translate into increased complication and organ failure.  In HIV+ individuals, failure to adhere to prescribed medical regimens can mean increased conversion rates to AIDS.

There are significant financial losses as well: non-adherence costs the pharmaceutical industry alone an estimated $100 to 300 billion each year—and that’s on top of other financial losses due to increased complications and hospital readmissions.

Play-it Health, one of the first six companies to be eligible for funding the Digital Sandbox KC, has found a way to make taking medications and following medical regimes easier, and even fun, with the most comprehensive, innovative, and responsive adherence system to date. By working with the Sandbox’s resources and corporate partners, Play-it Health hopes to transform an innovative idea into a solid business.

An Easier Pill to Swallow

Dr. Kimberly Gandy, founder and CEO, had been confronted firsthand with the devastating consequences of nonadherence. She had watched patients, young and old, die due to an inability to adhere to complex medical regimens. As a clinician, she began to devise systems to solve this problem—and save lives.

Since some of the most problematic patients are adolescents, her solutions began using information technology, and more specifically, mobile information technology. With diverse software products, including apps, eBooks, games and web worlds, Dr. Gandy and Play-it Health have developed a system to engage patients more effectively.

For example, smartphone applications give tailored medication reminders, facilitate contact with caregivers and include motivational games, rewards and education. Another example, Play-it Health’s customizable eBooks provide an engaging approach to typically dry medical content by incorporating animated illustrations and pop quizzes.

Play-it Health has also identified a critical and missing link in other approaches to adherence. The medical system currently lacks the resources and capacity to monitor, analyze and continuously update the information necessary to provide optimal support to improve adherence to medical regimens. Play-it Health is developing a system to provide these services. Though the mainstay of the system is an automated component, these services will be backed by significant clinical expertise.

With all of this serious work as a backdrop, Dr. Gandy's daughter, Erica, wanted to make sure that Dr. Gandy did not forget to incorporate fun into her thinking. Erica was sure that fun would translate into participation. She began to draw and describe schematics of how she wanted games and medication administration to interface, a process that led to some of the first proposed products of Play-it Health.

Where Innovators Comes to Play

“Play-it Health is a great example of the Digital Sandbox KC partnering with an incredible entrepreneur to help solve a very serious real world problem,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC.  “Dr. Gandy has used her vast expertise in the adolescent transplant field to find a better way to encourage younger patients to fully follow their post transplant medical adherence.” 

 “Within the Sandbox, we are hoping to gain the guidance necessary to take our company from a good idea with a solid foundation to a company with a means and end to moving forward with a sound, revenue generating model,” says Dr. Gandy.  “The seed funding will allow us to move further to achieving these goals.”

Welltodo

Welltodo is a mobile health technology company that is bringing personal health care into the age of big data and the intelligent machine. Founded by Chris Cardinal, Jim Console M.D., and Will Landecker, the company leverages the latest advances in data analytics, medical monitoring, and behavioral science to target chronic diseases with personalized behavioral interventions and disease management steps that lead to improved health outcomes.

Traditional models of health care don't adequately utilize the ever-growing availability relevant personalized health data that we leave behind just by living our day-to-day lives. This leads to:

  • A more fallible health care system full of health care recommendations that are based on insufficient and often outdated personal and population information
  • Denied relief to chronic disease sufferers
  • Accelerating system wide health costs proportionate to population aging and chronic illness cases
  • Significant global economic burdens from employee absences, workers' compensation claims, and lost worker productivity

Welltodo's initial product leveraging their Smart Health Platform is Welltodo Migraine, a mobile application which predicts individuals’ migraines, warns them prior to an attack, and gives personalized actionable insight on how to manage upcoming attacks. Currently migraine affects 11% (783M) of adults worldwide with a three-times higher rate in women.

Proof of concept funding will assist in implementation of a pilot study for their mobile app, Welltodo Migraine.

 

RFP365

RFP365 provides software to facilitate the entire RFP process. From RFP creation, through vendor response collection, to scoring, this intelligent RFP software connects procurement teams and suppliers in an integrated and seamless platform. RFP365 helps teams work together, manage knowledge, and analyze their processes for continual improvement. 

Founded by Stuart Ludlow and David Hulsen in 2012, the company launched its first release in March and rebranded its site and application this fall.  Digital Sandbox KC will assist in upgrading the core infrastructure and support future integrations with external applications.

The product seeks to unify the components in the RFP process. The RFP process (including RFI, RFQ, etc.) has not matured. There are several disjointed components within the overall process which, when integrated, can lead to significant cost and time savings. Procurement teams need to reduce purchasing costs, increase speed-to-market, and make fact-based decisions. The current process of creating documents, delivering them to vendors, scouring proposals, and creating scoring checklists is heavily manual and inefficient. Vendor teams needs to be able to respond to RFPs in hours, not weeks. They need to be able to track tasks, manage knowledge, and work together no matter where individual members are located.

When the process is integrated, data is transferred from one team to another at key points. Data, not documents, can be filtered, searched, and leveraged as we expect in our modern, connected world. RFP365 can help small companies compete with large, incumbent providers. This competition can reduce overall costs. We help shorten the overall procurement timeframe by leveraging templates, searching knowledge repositories, and maintaining real-time access to data.

RFP365 allows procurement teams and their potential vendors to share data in an efficient and effective process. The platform provides benefits to both purchasers and vendors, respectively.

 

Aware3

Aware3 is reinventing brick-and-mortar retail districts through an omni-channel digital experience.  Their platform, AMP, is a cloud-based service that can build and manage an end-to-end digital ecosystem, helping retail districts achieve growth through their digital touch points.  It serves as the “command center" for their digital presence, allowing them to provide a consistent and real-time user experience anytime, anywhere, and from any device.

Knoda

Predictions are made every single day by almost everyone on the planet. However, there is no universal platform to make or track predictions. Predictions are written on blogs, tweeted, uttered by a pundit on television or just casually mentioned to a friend in the car. They are then lost to time and the transience of the Internet.

That is, until Knoda. A prediction tracking platform, Knoda takes and scores predictions, rates and ranks predictors and allows social interaction. 

With the help of Digital Sandbox KC, Knoda will turn its own prediction for startup success into reality. Knoda will use the tools in the Sandbox—both development support and industry connections—to build and release its application and beta test its concept in the marketplace.

Digital Sandbox KC is assisting in market validation and intellectual property search as well as development of an iOS application. 

Handprint

Handprint lets average people replace retail purchasable items with their 3D printers. 

Support from Digital Sandbox KC resulted in the establishment of the company and will help Handprint finish the beta version of its software, assist in helping test the version on the necessary range of 3D printers, and run a demo campaign. Handprint also received a scholarship to attend the FastTrac business development class.

LightBridge

LightBridge delivers distributed data storage solutions through deployment of our proprietary software into telecommunication facilities that currently exist. By leveraging their strategic partnerships with local, regional and national telecommunication carriers, LightBridge is able to substantially reduce monthly data storage wholesale costs.

Beyond the data storage cost savings LightBridge extends to its clients are the benefits of unprecedented security, redundancy and geographical distribution. Combining these elements is how LightBridge is disrupting the traditional data storage market.

Digital Sandbox KC is working with LightBridge to develop customer integration features and advise on intellectual property protection.

Briefcase


Jobs boards, recruiters, college placement offices and sheer competition - juggling the demands of the job hunt fresh out of college is tougher than trying to find an actual book with an old-school card catalog.

What online catalogs did for college research and sites like Kayak did for booking travel, Briefcase is doing for university placement offices and college job seekers, with the help of Digital Sandbox KC.

"One of the biggest struggles start-ups face is the ability to pull in resources relevant to the companies Minimum Viable Product, said Christian Fisher, CEO. “With the amazing resources, physical, monetarily and mentoring-wise that Digital Sandbox brings to the table, companies like ours can offset some of those struggles and ultimately be successful earlier on. We are proud and honored to be a part of this next group of remarkable companies chosen to the Digital Sandbox program."

Fisher moved to Kansas City from the Bay Area after being recruited to lead the global talent acquisition of a large digital advertising company. There, he met Nick Mallare, and together they embarked on a startup journey to “terraform” the landscape of job searching.

Briefcase, powered by Cobrapps, aggregates job boards and sites, delivers real-time push notifications to job seekers and keeps track of the entire process from start to finish and beyond. A powerful management tool for the job seeker, Briefcase also allows universities to distribute jobs, track job placement and ultimately improve their job placement rates.

With a great idea in the palm of their hand, Fisher and Mallare recruited their team, including Caleb Phillippi, COO and Alex Benson, Director of UX. They then assembled their advisory board and developed their platform.

Support from Digital Sandbox KC will help Briefcase continue to fully develop their initial product version.

 

Innovative Health Media

Healthcare providers face any number of challenges in the current environment. Innovative Health Media (IHM), with the help of Digital Sandbox KC, has developed a product to solve at least one challenge: reduce the time and effort it takes for primary care providers and extended care facilities to accurately conduct Medicare Annual Wellness Visits.

IHM’s product, the e-AWV™ System, uses the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) as a tool to provide a physical and cloud-based Personal Health Record for Medicare patients. The e-AWV system helps clinicians meet Medicare requirements for reimbursement in a simple, intuitive and cost-efficient fashion.

The e-AWV serves both the needs of the patient and the clinician. Patients often do not have basic information about their own health, such as health history, medications, family history, risk factors and prevention. Physicians have not had the tools to educate their patients, with potential life-threatening results. The e-AWV Personal Health Record solves the communication problem between healthcare providers and patients.

Chuck Smith, an RN with more than 18 years of experience, founded the company in 2010 and created the e-AWV system. He and partner David Wilson have co-founded several companies ranging from real estate to temp staffing. The product has progressed through alpha and beta stages, and version 1.0 is currently in use.

Digital Sandbox KC funding will allow IHM to make several product enhancements and add features in order to build interest and market share. The founders recently participated in SparkLabKC and received $18,000 in equity funding from that source.

 

Mi Zócalo


Although 30 percent of iPhone users in the United States are Hispanic, less than 5 percent of Hispanic newspapers and radio stations have an iPhone app or a mobile website. Through the support of Digital Sandbox KC, Bluejacket Technology will take the next steps in developing its product, Mi Zócalo, for the U.S. Hispanic market and help Hispanic publishers move into the mobile era and create new revenue streams.

The Mi Zócalo platform allows the publisher to share existing content on mobile devices and increase revenue through additional advertising streams. For users, Mi Zócalo is a bilingual guide to the Hispanic communities of America. The app helps users find local bilingual news, events and buzz-worthy places to eat, shop and have fun based on the informed opinions of local Latinos. 

Mi Zócalo is the brainchild of a talented management team. Christina Frazier, CEO, is a serial entrepreneur who raised venture capital in China and sold her second company, Alianthus, Inc., to Galaxy Glory Holding Ltd in 2010.  She co-created a very popular top-20 android app that generated more than 500,000 downloads. Ed Reyes, CMO/Sales Director, is a member of the Reyes Media Group, which owns and operates Spanish language newspapers and radio stations in Kansas, Missouri and Texas.

Support from the Digital Sandbox will assist in the development of a “dashboard” user interface, critical for the implementation of beta testing.  

TapTeach

Many people volunteer in their children’s classroom. Most do not create a crusade from that experience. Digital Sandbox KC is helping founder Adam Jones and TapTeach evolve the classroom experience itself.

You might say Jones learned a lesson when he volunteered in his kid’s classroom. “I was seeing a bunch of kindergarteners with mice and keyboards in front of them, touching the screen of the computers, not knowing how to work them,” Jones said. “And all day long, I was hearing teachers time and time again say they had put in grant requests with no success.”

That experience motivated Jones to step in. He was convinced that if he could connect educators with developers, together they could build apps that would benefit children and change their educational experiences.

“One way that Digital Sandbox KC assists companies is by connecting them to the appropriate resources,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox KC. Shortly after joining Digital Sandbox KC, Jones was awarded a Digital Sandbox KC scholarship for FastTrac® TechVenture™. 

Since then TapTeach has received Sandbox funding allowing them to build out important platform elements. "Receiving this assistance from Digital Sandbox is great validation of our vision for a connected and engaging classroom,” said Adam Jones, co-founder.  “We're excited that Digital Sandbox KC has shared in the TapTeach vision, and the team cannot wait to ramp up development on the TapTeach platform and give area educators tools that will impact the lives of their students in 2015.”  

XLRYNT

XLRYNT (Accelerant) Technologies uses a new, patent pending, approach to process networking application data at speeds 10 to 1000 times faster than existing architectures.  Funds from Digital Sandbox will be used in helping to secure the intellectual property and for a prototype to demonstrate the application of this innovative technology to 'Big Data' type operations.

Venture 360

Venture 360 has developed a technology platform to assist private equity investors in evaluating, closing and tracking investments in order to facilitate a private market for trading these securities. Digital Sandbox KC will provide resources to develop additional features so that the platform can support entrepreneurs in organizing their capital raising efforts.

The complete suite of software services for the private equity market includes a proprietary deal scoring and ranking system; investment closing; portfolio tracking; and individual investor portfolio management.

Digital Sandbox KC resources will be used to build the “entrepreneur facing” element of the Venture 360 platform.  With this element added, Venture 360 will release its beta version and seek additional investment.

Flyover Innovations

Flyover Innovations LLC is a hardware/software startup company focusing on easy to use smart A/V and AV accessory products. The first product, Blumoo™ , is a universal home entertainment "app-cessory" that provides users seamless control of the audio and visual equipment already installed in their home.

Digital Sandbox KC is working with FlyOver to develop a prototype on the iOS and Android mobile platforms.

FanAddict


FanAddict is the first “fan-centric” event listing service, allowing users to easily track artists and relive their memories. FanAddict engages fans of all kinds with artists and events by genre, city, venue and event. Venues, promoters and bands use FanAddict to connect to a broader set of active consumers in a way that generates long term engagement and more sales.
 
Digital Sandbox KC resources are helping to prove scalability and develop the user engagement features for this exciting new platform.

LittleHoots

LittleHoots is a mobile application designed for busy parents to capture, create, archive and share precious things their children say and do. Think scrapbooking reinvented and on-the-go. The app allows users to capture an image or text, and then use artists' templates to instantly transform the moment or quote into a bit of memorabilia.

The background:
  • 92% of moms are connected to the Internet and access Facebook on their smartphone at least once per day
  • 22 million of those moms have young children and frequently use social media as a tool to post and share their children's quotes, dialogue and photos
The problem: These memories get lost in the social noise and there's no easy way to safely archive them for the future. Parents need a better way to preserve their children's memories.

The solution: LittleHoots is designed to help parents capture, beautifully create and easily archive their children's lives. It all happens in one simple, mobile platform so memories are beautifully designed and archived on the go. Parents can also share memories to their favorite social networks or simply keep them private. 

LittleHoots won Startup Weekend Kansas City #7. The value for parents caught the attention of the judges at the Startup Weekend. Naithan Jones, co-founder of Kansas City area startup AgLocal, was on the panel of judges. "They are tackling a real problem that social media today is struggling with, and it combines that with a very viral group (moms) and a very strong emotional message (sentiment)," he said in an email. "If they can key on user acquisition via mom's groups, private groups in the app and then provide backward discoverability of pics and photos that existed prior to the install of the app, they will have a winner.
 
The company will benefit from Digital Sandbox KC’s resources that support prototype development, testing and functionality refinement.