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Mag-Vest

Mag-Vest is the first magnetic tool vest that lets people carry their tools, screws, nuts and bolts from any working position.  Unlike other solutions that have limited compartments or simply get in the way in tight spaces, Mag-Vest(TM) gives complete freedom to move and place tools in any manner.  Founder, Grant Miner, found tool belts were not designed with the user in mind:  "They just don't hold everything you need so we decided to completely reinvent how you carry your tools."  Mag-Vest is the first magnetic tool vest. The design gives the wearer complete freedom to place tools wherever they want. "Tools don't have to get in the way when you are working in a tight space," Miner says.

The Digital Sandbox funding aided the startup with website development, optimization and other launch-related projects," says Jeff Shackelford, executive director of Digital Sandbox KC. "This product is for anyone who uses tools so the market is wide open."

“I am honored, humbled and grateful that Digital Sandbox KC chose to support Mag-Vest(TM) with this incredibly generous grant,” said Grant Miner, inventor/founder.  

Grant Miner 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.  


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The Swapping Company

Opening up the resale market.

 
The Swapping Company provides a sellers app and website for the resale fashion community to solve two key problems.

One: resale stores and individuals who want to sell online can’t afford an e-commerce solution. They don’t have time to set up multiple selling sites and manage all their accounts. It can take 20 minutes to post one item and then manually send each item to each site.   
 
The other problem is moving inventory.  Many stores have items that have been hanging on racks for a year or more and do not know what items sell on which online selling or social sites. 
 
The solution is an automated system where all accounts are managed in one place which allows maximum exposure to the ideal customers.  The app allows users to upload inventory within 60 seconds and takes them through an automated description writing service that enables the process to be streamlined so that inventory can be pushed out to social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterist, Instagram) and e-commerce sites like (eBay and Etsy) instantly.   

This one-two punch maximizes market exposure of that merchandise to the ideal customers.  The Swapping Company allows for a one stop marketplace to view client inventory irrespective of location. 
 
The clothing resale market has grown tremendously and become a part of mainstream shopping.  It is a multi-billion dollar a year industry with over 25, 000 resale, consignment, and not for profit stores in the U.S.However, the resale industry has been slow to break into the digital world of e-commerce due to the high cost of website/app development and lack of social media integration.
 
“Though there are many resale and consignment physical retail outlets, the industry hasn’t really adopted the online e-commerce model yet”, says Jeff Shackelford, Director, Digital Sandbox.  “The Swapping Company is building an easy-to-use platform to expand audience reach and incorporate the added value of integrating social media.”

The Swapping Company is building a hosting a service for resale stores and professional consigners to do business online. The only applicable apps available today focus solely on swapping.   
 
Digital Sandbox funding is supporting the development of the web platform and the company’s mobile app.

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.

 

Royal Loyal

Creating loyal customers cost effectively.

Royal Loyal is building a universal mobile app service that promotes store products on a weekly basis at gas stations, convenience stores and other retail locations.  Many store owners can’t afford to build a custom mobile app.  The Royal Loyal app will allow these businesses to reach their customers more effectively and at a manageable cost.

Currently there is virtually no downloadable mobile app/website that caters to convenience store shoppers or independent store business owners.   Many independent store owners can’t afford to design or build a custom mobile application to market their business.   Big chain stores like QuikTrip and Price Chopper have teamed up to offer a loyalty system but most independent store owners don’t have the necessary tools to work together.

“Royal Loyal has identified a real problem for independent and smaller convenience store owners,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox.  “Babir’s experience in the convenience store business really provides him great insight into what works in retaining and attracting new customers.”                                                                   

Royal Loyal has developed a cell phone-based loyalty program that allows store-owners to quickly and easily develop store-specific promotions and loyalty rewards. The system enables store owners to promote specific products to attract new customers and unique rewards for frequent customers.  Business owners can quickly reach a wider and larger audience through Royal Loyal’s platform.

Digital Sandbox funding is assisting the company with building a more streamlined user experience for both store owners and store customers.

Motavera

Motavera is an online platform that enables small to medium-sized businesses to find and hire college students for internships and entry-level employment.  Motavera is a combination of informative profiles similar to those on LinkedIn and Indeed’s job posting functionality but exclusively for college students solving the problem of connecting college students with job opportunities in their field of study. 

Support from Digital Sandbox KC will be used to further design and develop the existing minimum viable product of the platform. “This product was developed to solve a problem the founders were experiencing as college students. These are young entrepreneurs who jumped in and solved it,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox KC.

 “I am ecstatic that Motavera has received support from Digital Sandbox KC and look forward to establishing ourselves in the Kansas City ecosystem,” said Nep Orshiso, co-founder of Motavera. They plan to relocate later this year to Kansas City from Truman State University.

Happy Food Company

Happy Food Co delivers a new Eat Well solution for busy professionals and families who want fresh, home-cooked meals but don’t have time.  Happy Food Co offers “meal kits” with ingredients supplied by premium providers and comes with visual instructions. Meals can go from kit to table in under 30 minutes. The meal kits are ordered via website and delivered daily to designated distribution partners that are equipped and monitored by Happy Food Co technology. 

“Digital Sandbox KC money will support software development to connect the ordering process with distribution hubs,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox KC. “The founders of this are committed to combining technology with healthy eating and convenience.”  

"We are privileged to join Digital Sandbox,” said Jeff Glasco, founder of Happy Food Co. “We feel lucky to be in Kansas City and are constantly amazed by the willingness of our community to bend over backwards in helping validate our solution as we work toward launch." 

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.”  

Cancer SurvivorshipTraining

Cancer Survivorship Training is an e-Learning company delivering continuing education courses for health care professionals.  The courses are designed to increase knowledge and cancer survivorship care, thereby improving the lives and well-being of cancer survivors.

Support from Digital Sandbox KC will help the company enhance the platform, enabling curriculum developers the ability to offer and sell on the site, thus improving the offerings to health care providers. “Its great example of how technology can improve lives,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox KC. “Dr. Klemp and her team are bringing practical education ​to help oncologists and healthcare providers help survivors of cancer.”

“Digital Sandbox KC support will provide Cancer Survivorship Training with the momentum it needs to develop online training and resources with the mission to change knowledge and change practice of healthcare providers,” said Dr. Jennifer Klemp, PhD, MPH, founder and CEO.  “We extend our thanks for the support and entrepreneurial spirit of Kansas City.” 

Edge Up Sports

Edge Up Sports is a platform for people who play fantasy football, aiming to make fantasy football research fun.  It gives participants “double coverage” or an overlay of an NFL player’s behavior and insights from multiple data sources along with traditional fantasy information.  This will give fantasy players the richest insights in the most convenient manner along with a robust user experience by combining the physical, mental and situational elements like injuries, weather and behavior. 

"Edge Up Sports is intriguing and unique,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox KC.  "Our assistance will allow for a richer feature set to be developed and allow them to move more quickly."

"We are excited about building tools for our customers that help them have fun and win their fantasy football leagues,” said Ilya Tabakh, CEO, Edge Up Sports. “The validation that Digital Sandbox KC has provided allows us to move faster, strengthen our team and deploy a better product."  

PerfectCube

PerfectCube provides business analytics tools – typically available only to large retailers – for small retail business owners. The tools show important trends, comparisons and predictive information so the business owner can anticipate and make more informed decisions by collecting POS and other relevant information. 

The solution provides important information and helps business owners understand what it means and what to with the data.  It’s almost like a crystal ball for small business owners.  "With Digital Sandbox funding the company plans to add additional functionality to help small retailers grow and flourish," said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox KC.  
 
“We’re excited about the opportunity Digital Sandbox provides to improve our product and move the company forward,” said Mark Calhoun, co-founder of PerfectCube.  “Critical resources like this didn’t exist in the area 15 years ago when we did our first startup and we will be able to grow much faster as a result.”  

E.D. Dental Services

Today's healthcare institutions are overwhelmed and part of that strain is a result of dental emergencies being inappropriately placed in hospital emergency rooms.  E.D.Dental Services, doing business as The Dentist Is IN, provides 24/7 dental consultation in emergency rooms, urgent care centers and wellness programs through telemedicine services. 

The “virtual dentist” program will help assess, triage, recommend care and appoint patients for dental treatment at a dentist’s office; saving millions of dollars of unnecessary and expensive procedures.  For example: a dentist communicates with the ER via The Dentist in IN kiosk to asses and​ facilitate oral health to emergency room patients.  The kiosk becomes an "additional staff member" to serve ER patients and get them the specific expertise needed rather than wasting time and resources that might be better spent on patients with appropriate ER issues.  

“We are honored to be part of the Digital Sandbox group. The funding we are to receive will help ensure our product is completed with security being a high priority,” said Maria Kunstadter, co-founder of E.D. Dental Services. “The honor of being accepted into this prestigious program validates our company’s story and future success.  Thanks, Digital Sandbox.” 

LaborChart

LaborChart is a resource management and scheduling application for the construction industry, replacing the traditional whiteboard and primitive spreadsheet.  LaborChart simplifies and automates an otherwise very repetitive and manual process.

LaborChart uses a simple drag-and-drop process to schedule resources across multiple construction projects.  The SaaS platform then uses automated notifications to pass along relevant information to applicable individuals.  LaborChart helps contractors save time, simplify workflow processes and ensure that manpower hours are maximized. 

"Being selected for Sandbox funding is a huge step for LaborChart,” said Ben Schultz, LaborChart founder.  “The funding will enable us to invest in product enhancements six to nine months sooner than otherwise possible, which will help us maintain customer and market momentum."

Hacumen

Hacumen helps “Cyber Security” consultants collaborate on IT security audits and create detailed reports. Security consultants are in high demand and low supply, therefore it is critical to provide them the most advanced software. Hacumen fills a long unmet need, giving cyber security consultants the tools they require to maximize security audit results.

Support from the Digital Sandbox KC will help build out Hacumen’s prototype.According to Hacumen’s founder, Neil Anderson, “The Digital Sandbox has been invaluable to us not only for prototype development, but their guidance and oversight has provided a deeper bridge into the KC business ecosystem.”

Mapper

Brian Welde and his company Angling Technologies set out to revolutionize fishing maps – and with the help of Digital Sandbox KC, a new proof of concept center in Kansas City,  they’ll refine  their core mapping technology and move it into new markets.

“Brian is a classic example of an entrepreneur; he saw an opportunity to take existing technology and apply it to one of his passions – fishing.  From there, he gathered feedback and applied learned lessons to build a new product – Mapper – and evolve into new markets,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC.

Entrepreneurial Beginnings

In 2004, all fishing maps were static. Anglers bought a paper map or pre-set digital maps for their GPS or depth finders.

“At that time I was building complex interactive mapping solutions that worked in web browsers for the Department of Defense and federal agencies,” said Brian Welde about Angling Technologies’ origins. “I saw a need to transfer that knowledge to outdoor recreation.”

Pairing his extensive knowledge of mapping technology with his passion for fishing, Welde created an interactive fishing map that allows anglers to make custom maps based on a constantly growing library of geographic information relevant to fishing. 

“The value proposition for anglers is that they can obtain more information online and customize this information to gain new insights into planning fishing trips or doing research for fishing tournaments,” says Welde.

Broadening the Scope

As a technologist, Welde could see the trend in location-based services rapidly advancing toward self service mapping solutions where consumers have the ability to promote/share/monetize their valuable local knowledge of place. By being an early adopter of open source software, consumer focused web-maps and crowd-sourced data, Welde was able to identify several key requirements for commercial web-mapping products. Mapper  was designed with these key requirements in mind to provide access to much larger and more diverse markets than fishing.

Mapper provides an interactive mapping solution that is easy to use, quick to set up, rich in context and functionality, and open to anyone. It is designed to allow users to rapidly create customized web-based maps populated with valuable local knowledge. Initial markets include fishing, outdoor recreation, community and real estate to supply maps for a wide array of uses such as events, trips, blogs, planning and anything where local knowledge is a valuable commodity yet traditionally hard to convey.  “The neat thing about Mapper is the creativity it inspires,” Welde said. “Our beta testers continually came up with new uses for the maps that we did not anticipate. Geography is an asset that most people do not consider. Mapper provides a way to unlock personal geographic knowledge.”

Playing in the Digital Sandbox

Angling Technologies is one of the first six innovative companies to be eligible for funding from Digital Sandbox KC, which 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. 

 “The Sandbox will help to make Mapper even better as we launch by allowing us to add new features, increase the ease of use, and refine some of the rough edges,” said Welde. “The challenge we have traditionally faced is exposure. We are hopeful that the connections we make in the Sandbox will help spread the word about Mapper to consumers and help us get established in many new markets.”

PatientsVoices™

Improving the healthcare experiences that matter most to patients.

To optimize Medicare payments hospitals must continuously improve patient satisfaction.  Last year most local hospitals lost thousands of dollars in Medicare payments because they failed to improve their patients’ experience.  Hospitals typically rely on surveys to monitor the patient experience.  Surveys show how the hospital is currently performing but do little to diagnose the problems that are frustrating patients.

PatientsVoices™ solves this problem.  The company asks patients to verbally tell their stories about the healthcare experiences that matter to them.  The patient insight from these stories takes the guess work out of deciding how to improve the patient experience.  The company is developing software that quickly analyzes these patient stories to identify the problems that are negatively impacting patient satisfaction, clinical outcomes and financial results.

“The founder of PatientsVoices™ has a deep background in customer feedback analysis and is putting that experience to great use in the healthcare field,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox.  “With the increased emphasis on coupling Medicare reimbursement with improving the patient experience, the market for PatientsVoices™ services is exploding.”

PatientsVoices™ interview and analysis process was developed over a 15+ year period working with premier consumer product companies. The company’s unique approach quickly uncovers patient expectations and provides specific feedback on how to improve the experiences that matter most to patients.

Digital Sandbox funding will assist with the development of a HIPPA secure, IT infrastructure for processing, analyzing and reporting patient feedback.  Project results will enable PatientsVoices™ to deploy customized, client dashboards for reporting patient feedback and integrating the metrics that clients need to monitor the impact of performance improvement activity on the patient experience.

Passel

Never miss another event

Passel is a free, web and mobile app that puts Mom at the center of her schedule, and enables her to easily maintain her existing mobile calendar.  Teams and groups can easily create calendars on Passel with the event dates, times, and locations.  Mom simply "follows" the calendar and it automatically adds the team events to her existing mobile calendar.  When a modification is made to an event Passel automatically updates Mom's mobile calendar for her.  Passel allows the user to replace the classic “Refrigerator Calendar” with a solution that is automatic, on her phone, and always accurate. 

With Passel her book club, Girl Scout meetings, soccer games, and football practices are all in one place, on her iOS or Google calendar.

Former colleagues at Hallmark, Aaron DeWitt and Neil Pfeiffer saw the need for a service that could help busy Moms seamlessly manage their hectic schedules.

“The Passel founders have identified a real problem in today’s busy world of multiple calendars,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox.  “They’ve developed a simple, yet integrated solution that will appeal to many.

Funding from Digital Sandbox is being used to complete the development of Passel’s minimum viable product that includes both iOS and Android operating systems.

Acre Designs

The future of home-building is here today.

Acre Designs builds homes for the next generation that fully embrace new technologies, processes and materials.  They design homes that are more efficient, comfortable, intelligent and affordable.  By using a proprietary PGX system, owners of Acre Designs homes will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility expenses versus today’s typically-built homes. 

“Acre Designs has a truly game-changing technology that can revolutionize home building as we know it today,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox.  “This is the type of early-stage entrepreneur that fits in Digital Sandbox.”

A key technology that helps Acre Designs homes advance in energy performance is their PGX system.  This system uses geothermal energy to temper incoming air and to cool through the home’s slab. Through this system, Acre Design can generate more than 5,000 BTU of heating and more than 15,000 BTU of cooling, greatly reducing and possibly eliminating the need for an active air conditioner or heat pump.

The system is comprised of a series of pumps, geothermal loops, radiant slab loops and air/water heat exchangers.  Temperature is modulated via variable speed pumps that are controlled with a hub that measures various sensors monitoring weather, indoor temperature and humidity, and responds to user selected set points. The hub, based on open source hardware, will be compatible with various home automation protocols to enable interactivity with major automation and control systems.

The PGX system will improve performance of Acre Designs homes by 40%, allowing the homes to meet net-zero energy standards and outperform other homes on the market.

Funding from Digital Sandbox KC is enabling Acre Designs to finalize development and validate the performance of the PGX system.

Revaluate

Revaluate lets you know what it’s like to live at a specific location…before you move there.  By combining a “carfax-like” home history report with a proprietary scoring platform, Revaluate has created a livability rating that allows buyers, renters and real estate professionals to quickly and accurately compare  significant and subtle differences between properties. 

“According to market research, 39% of people say they would not move where they currently live if they had known more about the property and the surrounding area,” said Revaluate co-founder Chris Drayer. “That’s what Revaluate does, gives you deep insight into a property before you move in.”

Revaluate simplifies, organizes and standardizes millions of data points across neighborhoods and specific addresses to produce a unique score for each address.  The score is based on four key Categories: Safety, Environment, Quality of Life and Expenses producing the unique “livability score” for each address. 

“Most current real estate sites will tell you the stuff you already know about a property”, said Chris, “Revaluate tells you about noisy construction projects, or continual issues with the buildings elevators or safety issues in the surrounding area…those things that can severely impact the livability after you move in.”

Chris and his team came to Digital Sandbox KC looking for direction and connections that could help them move forward with their concept.  

“I liked the Revaluate idea from the first time I heard Chris explain the concept,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC.  “They’re unique ability to procure very detailed and pertinent data points at the address level is unique and valuable.”

After accepting a Digital Sandbox scholarship to Kauffman’s FastTrac Tech Venture course, the Revaluate team built a a more complete business plan and go-to market strategy.

“The Kauffman FastTrac course was so beneficial”, said Drayer, “not only for driving us to do a more complete business model but also for the connections we made.”

Revaluate has released its beta version to a limited audience in the Manhattan, NY real estate market.

Genneo

Genneo gives people the tools to convert their own natural movement into battery charge for phones and other electronic devices. A new kind of generator that moves with the person, Genneo allows users to be less dependent on the power grid when using mobile electronics.

According to the company, people are spending more and more time away from the power grid while connected wirelessly for communication and entertainment so they need better options for remote and mobile charging. Mobile power generation products currently on the market are limited in application and complicated.

The Genneo captures energy from natural movements. Just carry it in a backpack or pocket and it turns energy from movement into battery charge. The products are also complete auxiliary batteries. They charge both from movement and from pre-charging, and have integrated high capacity batteries. They fast charge any device that charges from a USB port.

The company is targeting three markets: electronics retail, OEM (original equipment manufacturer) wholesale and military. Retail target consumers include backpackers, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. As the technology improves and the product size decreases, the company will also target mass market consumers who now buy auxiliary battery products. Genneo’s early revenue has come from OEM customers who need a generator element integrated into their products. OEM applications so far include personal asset tracking and wearable technology. The strategy for the military market involves securing research grants and working through SBIR phases.

The company was founded in January of 2011 with Blake Isaacs as CEO. The leadership team is rounded out by Chief Creative Officer Daniel Mota Veiga and Vice President Nicholas McLean. Together, the group has extensive experience in product design and development.

The Digital Sandbox KC project will support a beta test build of up to 50 model G3000 units for field testing as a final step before launching Genneo branded products later this year.

 

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.”