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Training For REAL

Training For REAL is a hospitality consulting company that believes in changing simple training into engaged-learning to reduce attrition and increase sales. REAL stands for relevant effective affordable learning. The Digital Sandbox KC project will help Training for REAL move forward with a cloud-based training platform that allows for broader reach and scale.

High attrition in the hospitality industry, combined with ineffective training and structure, lead to increase cost, lower revenue and smaller margins. Other emerging pain points are minimum wage and service included pricing.

  • Attrition – Industry Average 87% @ $500 per Front Of House (FOH) employee
  • Ineffective Training Program – Poor Leadership & Service/Lost Sales/Less Repeat Guests
  • Increased Competition – Not many 2nd chances
  • 6 out of 10 restaurants close within the first three years

REAL addresses the industry pain points straight on by filling the gap between the status quo that has been in place for decades and the astronomically expensive customized program that may or may not be digital. REAL’s Cloud-based Training Platform allows for the delivery of a consistent product, message and culture.

REAL uses adult learning methods and questions based on clinical insights to create what we call 360º testing – full circle understanding.  The company also tracks results that have been tied into the restaurant’s point of sale system to monitor and measure.  This allows for accurate and quick analysis to drive performance and profitability.

“Digital Sandbox KC has connected me with amazing people that provide the 'honest support' an entrepreneur needs,” said founder Tonya Round. “The funding will allow for a vision to be turned into a REALity.”

UpDown NightLife

The UpDown NightLife app lets clubs and bars improve customer satisfaction rates with bottle service. With just a few clicks of a button, a customer can reserve a table, pick mixers and put together a guest list. With help from Digital Sandbox KC, UpDown NightLife will complete app development and launch the project.

Bottle service is not always a seamless process. It can be stressful, from not knowing who to call or when to call to trying to create reservations, pick mixers, and get a guest list together. Some nights, it can be hard just getting into a hot joint.

Whether a customer comes to “Turn Up” the night or are out to “Get Down”, the UpDown Nightlife app makes the journey a lot easier. The UpDown NightLife app is developed to make the night a success; with just one click a customer can reserve a table, pick mixers, and put together a guest list.

The app allows customers to follow all the clubs of their choice. When a user clicks into the app, that person’s timeline pops up. The customer can scroll to look at these clubs to check out specials.

 “With this new funding, we will launch and become a true social media platform for the nightlife,” said Joshua Lewis, CEO.

TeraCrunch

TeraCrunch is helping customers all over the world unlock the full potential of data. Top fortune 100 companies have selected TeraCrunch solutions to make important and mission-critical business decisions by applying data insights to inform and influence products, branding, customer engagement and experiences.  

"Our mission is to support enterprises in key and novel decision making opportunities via actionable intelligence and insights over “big data," says Tapan Bhatt, founder and CEO.  "We do this using our Unified Big Data Analytics platform (UBA) to aggregate, synthesize, analyze and distribute large volumes of data (“Big Data”) and content that provide actionable intelligence and meaningful insights to enterprises. Through these insights, CMO's can make advanced marketing decisions and CIO's accelerate their efforts to manage challenges and opportunities across various functions."

From healthcare to marketing to optimizing operational processes TeraCrunch's system helps identify early indicators, trends, gaps and helps solve business problems. 


Lazser Down

If you watch football games on TV, you have likely noticed the technology deployed to make the broadcast more viewer-friendly. But why isn’t that available for in-stadium viewing? L​azser Down has developed a solution that could improve the in-stadium experience for fans.  

Every football play begins with the official spotting the ball with a down marker and chain. We see the down and then guess at the exact distance. TV technology has addressed this through a number of innovations available to the home viewer while the in-stadium method is a technological dinosaur, virtually unchanged in more than 100 years. 

Enter former football coach, Michael Foster, who invented a solution.

“Lazser Down provides real-time down and distance that is digitally displayed on the field and synchronized with the stadium scoreboard,” says J. Michael Foster, CEO. Measurements are read out by the yard, foot and, when necessary, by the inch. Foster says, “It is frustrating because the determination of distance can be subjective. Placements can be different based on angle or a misread of the ball.”

The patent approved Lazser Down technology is synchronized with the stadium scoreboard through electronic, laser, and RF (radio frequency) technology. 

The value of this advanced in-stadium system technology will improve strategy of coaches and players while enhancing the on-field administration by officials.  

“There is a lot of interest in integrating technology into the ‘in-stadium’ experience,” says Jeff Shackelford, executive director, Digital Sandbox KC. “And Lazser Down's unique real-time technology improves the in-stadium experience.” 

pHLOGISTIX

While athletes are battling it out on a football, soccer or other athletic field, head injuries are stealing the headlines. Effective diagnosis of concussions is limited to observing symptoms typical of head trauma. But now, pHLOGISTIX has a blood test for concussions in development for point-of-injury diagnosis.

Repetitive concussions can lead to dementia and other neurological conditions if untreated.  Given the remarkable explosion in youth participation in contact sports, concussive rates in girls are exceeding those of boys.  

“Sandbox money will allow us to integrate the analyte and clinimetric data in order to have proof-of-concept,” says Barry Festoff, M.D., founder and CEO of pHLOGISTIX. “This can significantly change the way concussion and mild traumatic brain injury are diagnosed and treated. Current methods are all subjective.”

“As a father with a son playing football, anything we can do to better recognize and diagnose concussions is an important advancement,” says Shackelford, noting that no other solution like this exists. “pHLOGISTIX’s platform includes a digital component and software allowing for point-of-injury diagnostics that are objective.” 

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.

Heart To Heart Network

A family health crisis led to the creation of Heart To Heart Network, a company focused on improving the effectiveness of monitoring patients. As one of the first six companies ready for funding in Digital Sandbox KC, founder Abhi Ray hopes to change the way Type 1 diabetes patients are able to manage their health care.

“We see the Digital Sandbox as a great opportunity to take our technology to the next level,” said Ray. “Support for market research will help us prove the effectiveness in terms of acceptability to care providers, patients and families, resulting in better health.”

A Personal Story, A Public Benefit

The story of Heart To Heart Network begins with Ray’s wife, who had heart surgery at within a year of having her first baby. The surgery and rehabilitation were successful; but that was just the start. With a new heart valve in place, Ray’s wife was required to take anticoagulation therapy to prevent clots from forming. Medication compliance required constant monitoring of the INR level to ensure the blood is within therapeutic range.

Ray could find no good way to monitor the INR on a daily basis, and no easy way to communicate with her primary care physician in a timely manner. This gave Ray the motivation to look at ways to improve everyday monitoring of healthcare. With a background and experience as a software programmer, Ray started looking at approaches to help patients and care givers safely monitor health in their home environments.

After several ideas, Ray focused on a remote monitoring system that can be chronic disease specific, and funding from Digital Sandbox allows for specialization and testing of system for Type 1 diabetes pediatric patients. With the help of the Digital Sandbox, Heart To Heart Network will look at proving the product:

  • Is acceptable by patients and family members
  • Increases communication between providers and patients
  • Improves adherence behavior leading to overall wellness

Playing in the Digital Sandbox

Heart To Heart Network 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.

“Heart To Heart is a great example of an entrepreneur using today’s technology and applying to a real world problem,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “Abhi’s firsthand experience with his wife’s condition and his understanding of information technology led him to finding a more timely and efficient way to handle patient needs.”

ClaimJockey

ClaimJockey files and manages long term care insurance claims for families and care providers, helping them access funds for needed care. ClaimJockey has a 90% success rate in having claims accepted after the first filing.

Here’s how it works:

1. The consumer, their family member or referral partner contacts ClaimJockey via a submission through the ClaimJockey website. The lead is electronically fed into ClaimJockey’s HIPAA compliant database system.

2. ClaimJockey’s experienced long term care insurance professionals meet with families to assess their needs and claim viability at no charge.

3. Highly trained case management staff then review the case, gather the required medical records, prepare and file the initial claims in the manor required by the various insurance companies.

4. After the initial filing and payment, additional claims must be filed on a monthly basis which can continue for years. The duration of ClaimJockey’s involvement ranges from three months to multiple years.

A highly experienced management team leads this effort, beginning with founder and president Wendy Rinehart. Rinehart is a nationally recognized long term care industry specialist and co-founder of the Long Term Care Guild, an industry association. She is joined by CEO David Rinehart, divisional vice president at LTC Financial Partners, General Electric and John Hancock; CFO Michael Briggs, president of INFINEDI, Inc., a top  medical claims processor; and Bob Miller, senior vice president of business development and sales, formerly with Amex Life, Genworth, CUNA and LTC Financial Partners.

With the help of Digital Sandbox KC, ClaimJockey will build a new website that can be linked to their HIPAA-compliant database.

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.

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.  



Mobility Designed

Mobility Designed creates mobility devices to improve quality of life for those with mobility challenges. Their first product, the M+D™ Crutch, solves the problem of pain and potential damage to armpits, hands and wrists caused by the use of standard crutches. M+D™ Crutches are designed to provide pain free support and a custom ergonomic fit. 

“We are very excited to have gotten this funding from the Digital Sandbox.  It is incredibly rewarding to have an organization like the Sandbox believe in what we are trying to accomplish because it validates all the work we have done,” said Liliana Younger, CEO, Mobility Designed.  “This grant will get us so much closer to making our product a reality."

People who have to use crutches know how incredibly uncomfortable it can be.  "Honestly, it can be downright painful," says Digital Sandbox KC executive director, Jeff Shackelford.  "Liliana and team recognized this problem and created a patent-pending product which includes a high level of IP innovation."   Pain-free mobility is just a step away.  

Liliana Younger 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.  

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."