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TrackTi

When selling a home, the seller can often get little consideration. Real estate veterans Liz Zimmerman and Jaimie Macoubrie noticed that problem, and created a solution that’s on its way to becoming a thriving company.

TrackTi came as a result of brainstorming a solution for eliminating the scheduling chaos associated with selling a home.  Digital Sandbox KC provided additional resources that streamlined the steps needed to complete their product in order to successfully launch.

The #1 complaint from home sellers is the time lost waiting for scheduled showings. A buyer’s agent schedules showings for several homes in one day. The showing service allows for 1 – 2 hour windows for each home, which gives the buyer plenty of time to travel between homes. The burden is then placed on the seller to leave the home for a specific window of time, not knowing if the agent either arrived or left during the scheduled time. TrackTi constantly updates the seller as to the estimated arrival and departure time of the showing agent.

The patent and application not only covers real estate, but also other markets where waiting for a service call is an issue. Think cable company, refrigerator repair or package delivery.

DivvyHQ

DivvyHQ (Alluresoft, LLC) has received funding from Digital Sandbox KC and Dundee Venture Capital of Omaha, Neb., to ramp up marketing and operations for the cloud-based content planning platform.

DivvyHQ was initially launched as the content marketing industry’s first spreadsheet-free editorial calendar application built specifically for professional content producers. Today, DivvyHQ helps organizations plan and facilitate their marketing and social media initiatives, and communicate more efficiently than ever. Within one easy application, customers can manage content ideas, their editorial team, production workflows and deadlines.

Dundee’s investment follows proof-of-concept funding from the Digital Sandbox that helped fill the IT management void in the company. Digital Sandbox support also provided resources to develop the proper corporate structure for the company, better positioning DivvyHQ for follow on funding.

“We are very excited about how these partnerships will allow us to build a rock-star team that will accelerate the development of our application and provide your content team with a more robust and customizable set of tools,” said Brody Dorland, co-founder.

DivvyHQ was launched in September 2011 at the first Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio.

“We were so excited to see our tool fill a big need and eliminate much of the pain that has been tolerated by so many content practitioners,” Dorland said.

Funding Match

DivvyHQ was a great fit for Dundee Venture Capital, given its focus on Midwest-based companies with a SaaS solution in a rapidly growing market. “We are excited to invest in Brock and Brody to help push DivvyHQ into the mainstream,” said Michael Wetta, principal at Dundee Venture Capital. “DivvyHQ’s unique approach to planning and executing sophisticated content marketing strategies combined with the team’s expertise in the increasingly complex and growing market created an attractive investment. ” 

The company also fit the Digital Sandbox profile of a company on the cusp of something big. “DivvyHQ is a great example of how the Digital Sandbox KC can help fill a gap and get a company fully prepared for their first real round of equity funding,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox KC.  

Digital Sandbox funding for DivvyHQ was made possible by the Missouri Technology Corporation through a matching grant to the Digital Sandbox program.

The Next Chapter of DivvyHQ

With a solid foundation and a notable customer base in place, the company looks forward to introducing customers to the new DivvyHQ, a fast-growing company with a targeted focus on building the best tool for big brands, agencies, publishers and media companies who produce high-volumes of content. 

Founders will head back to Content Marketing World in September to give attendees the first introduction to the new DivvyHQ. Friends of DivvyHQ can use the promo code “DIVVYHQ” and get a $100 discount on registration.

FormZapper (Lending Standard)

With funding for product development, Digital Sandbox KC will help startup FormZapper take commercial mortgage documents digital.  A software provider for commercial real-estate lending, FormZapper’s product LendingStandard is a web-based document management application for commercial lenders dissatisfied with the current imaging and homebrewed document management systems that now exist as alternatives to paper.

Founded in January 2012 by CEO Andy Kallenbach, FormZapper officially launched the summer of 2012 after COO Danielle Stine was brought on to the team. After generating a steady stream of business automating the paper processes of clients in healthcare, education and staffing, Matthew Marsaglia was brought on to the team as the product development lead.

Together, Kallenbach, Stine and Marsaglia pivoted the company in early 2013 and steered it toward a new, ideal market, bringing on Jan Valencia to assist with business development. Initially, FormZapper was a web-based document management solution for all types of small businesses. The company has since evolved into a web-based platform designed specifically for commercial real estate lenders.

Unlike alternative solutions in the marketplace that only assist lenders with parts of their loan origination process, FormZapper’s product LendingStandard is a soup-to-nuts solution that takes lenders through the entire loan process, from collecting borrower information, to generating legal documents for closing. FormZapper’s secure, compliant system increases loan production efficiency by automating redundant data entry, enhancing accuracy and enabling collaboration between all participating parties.

FormZapper is rethinking document management for commercial lenders.

Playing in the Sandbox

“With FormZapper, we saw the opportunity for the Digital Sandbox to help Andy and his team build a viable solution for an existing problem in today’s small business world,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of the Digital Sandbox KC.

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. 

With funds from the Digital Sandbox, FormZapper will fund product development, creating a web-based checklist builder to help internal lending staff create customized checklists for implementing loan applications and processing checklists per bank.

EB Systems

The resources, connections and funding of Digital Sandbox KC will help startup e-beacons launch its public safety solution, which will send out the first “beacon” in the event of an emergency, over web and mobile applications.

For the web, ​e-beacons shows public safety dispatches location and incident data in real time, filtering emergencies so trained staff can focus on the greatest need. For mobile apps, ​e-beacons allows users to report when they need help instantly.

The fully customizable system will serve designated population areas.

“​e-beacons is one of those straight forward companies that focuses on a filling a very real need in the public safety arena,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of the Digital Sandbox KC. “John and Hieu are developing a highly integrated system that is easy for the user and provides real-time alert and data for public safety groups.”

Lighting the First Beacon

There’s a scene in Two Towers, the second book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, where beacons on the seven peaks of Gondor’s White Mountains are kindled one by one to warn neighboring Middle Earth that Minas Tirith has been besieged by the enemy’s armies.

That scene was an epiphany for John Ruiz, CEO and co-founder of ​e-beacons.

“Watching that scene gave me the idea to apply that ‘beacon’ system to real- life situations. I figured something similar could be effective using web and mobile applications,” said Ruiz, who had recently moved back to his hometown of Kansas City after attending Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, hot on the heels and opportunities of Google Fiber’s presence in Kansas City.

He began building out the application, using his newly developed programming skills gleaned from a free RareWire coding class at Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, a program of the Kauffman Foundation that helps the next generation of innovative firms learn how to start and grow their businesses. 

Ruiz quickly realized he needed an extensive backend system that could receive and organize the alerts. Exhausting his own development skills, he decided to pitch his idea at Startup Weekend Kansas City. His idea garnered positive responses, and Hieu Truong joined the team. Truong, who had recently graduated with a computer science degree from University of Arkansas, had driven to Kansas City on the off chance he would find a project to work on after graduating from the University of Arkansas.

​e-beacons didn’t win the weekend, although Ruiz and Truong both saw the potential and decided to join forces and pursue it. Ruiz started networking, pitching and building his connections. That naturally led to a presentation at 1 Million Cups.

“It was an event that truly changed our lives. After the 1MC presentation things went from 0 to 60, and it took us to where we are now. We became well connected within the community and started taking advantage of any and every resource offered to us,” said Ruiz.

Those resources included the E-Scholars Program at UMKC, LaunchKC, OfficePort, and other programs through the Kauffman Foundation and around Kansas City. With the help of some key community members, mentors and a couple of beta clients willing to take a chance on the startup, ​e-beacons is now on the verge of successfully entering the market.

Lighting the Path

Ruiz and Truong will use the resources of the Digital Sandbox KC to take the next critical steps to move their startup toward commercialization. Funding and industry connections will help them cover initial startup costs and projects so they can continue to expand.

“Our ultimate goal is to achieve at least 1 percent market penetration, which would result in nearly $1 million in yearly revenue,” said Ruiz.

“The Digital Sandbox has helped ​e-beacons continue to build out its product set and get it tested and ready for the market,” said Shackelford.

SportsPhotos.com

It all started with a great name for a great website. Brandon Schatz of SportsPhotos.com figured out he had a winner when he grabbed www.sportsphotos.com and launched a platform and marketplace for sports photographers to store and sell their sports photos.

The Digital Sandbox KC is helping Schatz develop a business model and set up a beta service with local high schools. “Some companies in the Sandbox don’t really require an investment of dollars,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “Brandon needed some coaching, guidance and connections to the right people.”

One connection was to TechStars Patriot Boot Camp, a competitive program held this summer in Washington, D.C.  "I really appreciate the Digital Sandbox folks letting me know about this opportunity," Schatz said. "They also connected me with Dan Strattman (Airport Life) who went through the boot camp last year so I could figure out the best way to use my time there."

TechStars Patriot Boot Camp is an intense three-day program under the RisingStars umbrella. The program works with a selected group of veterans and service member founders to build technology companies. Participation in the Patriot Boot Camp may be the catalyst for Veterans and Service Members to kickstart a company, find cofounders and advance as entrepreneurs. 

The RisingStars program was created to spur interest from some demographic groups that are underrepresented among technology startup founders, with the goal of extending technology company startup opportunities to these target groups. 

Brandon also made news recently when his photo of The Color Run in Brooklyn was featured on the cover of New York City’s Metro newspaper.

 

Local Ruckus

"What’s going on in Kansas City this weekend?”

That’s the simple and core question that spawned Local Ruckus, a Kansas City, Kan., startup and the first nationally viable, local events platform.

“Local Ruckus’ shift to a business-to-business model positions them well to capitalize on what they’ve built and developed,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of the Digital Sandbox KC.  “They’ve already made great strides in positioning the company for rapid growth.”

Doing the Local Thing

Local Ruckus was founded in January 2011, launched with its current platform in August 2012 and will release the next version this fall. A web-based tool for discovering and sharing local events, Local Ruckus cuts to the entertainment chase, helping users who are hunting for local events find and share them faster and easier than the newspaper trawl or overly complicated event sites.

“Being a part of the Digital Sandbox will help us acquire the appropriate resources to elevate our platform to the next level,” said co-founder Adam Arredondo. “With our new business-to-business platform, which aims to be the ‘Associated Press’ for local events, we're looking to enhance our system for efficient, mass distribution of our local events content.  Support by the Digital Sandbox will be instrumental in helping us achieve our immediate objectives.”

 

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.”

PlanetReuse Marketplace

PlanetReuse Marketplace is built on a simple but powerful concept: give homeowners instant access to reclaimed and surplus building materials.

Access to resources: Digital Sandbox KC is feeding the same need for PlanetReuse Marketplace, helping them find the resources—funding and mentors—to diversify its revenue model and build a better experience for their customers.

Building on a Solid Foundation

Nathan Benjamin founded PlanetReuse in 2008 to make reusing reclaimed materials easier, so that more people would do it. After spending nearly five years building a reclaimed building materials network to serve the commercial building industry, Benjamin founded a spinoff to serve residential customers: PlanetReuse Marketplace.

PlanetReuse Marketplace is an online platform that helps reuse centers make reclaimed and surplus building materials instantly accessible to homeowners nationwide.  Imagine CraigsList, but better looking, easier to use and updated in real time. PlanetReuse Marketplace enables reuse centers to attract new customers while keeping their loyal treasure hunters happy by displaying exactly what is in store at any given time. 

“Our aim is to make reuse as easy as buying new, increasing awareness for the reuse industry and decreasing the ever-growing amount of usable building materials in our landfills,” said Benjamin. 

Using proprietary InvenQuery technology and mobile app, reuse centers can populate their site and Facebook with their inventories, instantly, and in a single workflow. Items are removed automatically at point-of-sale.

“Everything we do is influenced by our triple bottom line approach to business: we take our people, our profits and the planet into account when making decisions,” added Benjamin. “Our partnership with Digital Sandbox KC will allow us to expand our capabilities and enable us to grow both as an organization and as a champion of the reuse economy. We have ambitious goals, innovative solutions and passionate people. We’re just getting started.” 

Playing in the Digital Sandbox

“PlanetReuse Marketplace is one of those terrific businesses that helps solve a real world problem, in this case, the amount of reusable building materials that end up in landfills, by using technology to make items visible and available to the marketplace,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “It’s just not a great business concept but also a helping to recycle usable materials.”

PlanetReuse Marketplace 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. 

 

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.”

Trellie

Trellie’s first product, a wireless device disguised as a women’s fashion accessory, aims to help keep women better connected. As one of the first six companies ready for funding in Digital Sandbox KC, founders Claude Aldridge and Jason Reid hope the Sandbox will help them do the same.

“Our goal for the sandbox is twofold. First, we want to make connections inside local corporations that will give Trellie the best chance for success,” says Aldridge. These include retail distribution, strategic partnerships, marketing and product development. “Second, Trellie would like to use the Digital Sandbox to ideate, prototype and market validate Trellie 2.0.”

The ultimate goal is to leverage their first product into a company that will revolutionize hardware-based technology solutions for families by creating a range of products for women that help them save time, provide peace of mind and enable better communication with those people they care about most.

A Missed Call, A Bright Idea

Nothing is more frustrating than when you need to reach your mom, wife, daughter, sister, right now—and her cellphone is lost to in the swallowing abyss of a large handbag.

Aldridge and Reid knew the pain of unreachable spouses—and understood the possible implications of missing an important call from your boss, husband, babysitter, aging parents or your kid’s school. Personal pain points aside, they also had a market: 80% of all women carry their phone in their purse and consequently miss more than half of their incoming calls.

In 2012, they created Trellie, a Bluetooth-enabled, patent-pending solution to missing important calls from those who depend on you. Worn as a fashion accessory on the outside of a handbag, Trellie visually notifies the user of an incoming call to a mobile phone through a flashing LED light.

The first prototype for Trellie was funded with the help of Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding platform for creative projects. Aldridge and Reid attracted more than 515 backers, who in turn raised $33,168 for the Kansas City startup, 110 percent of their published goal. A week later, Trellie closed a $500,000 financing round.

“Trellie is a great example of how the Digital Sandbox KC can help local entrepreneurs make meaningful and valuable connections with some of KC’s largest companies,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC.  “As Trellie continues to refine and develop new products, the ability to reach for meaningful market data or assistance in product distribution is critical to their rapid growth.”

LimeLight Technologies

With the help and connections of Digital Sandbox KC, LimeLight Technologies, LLC is providing the visibility to secure the safety of meat production across the food supply chain, from rancher to retailer.

Improve Tracking, Improve Safety

Founded in 2009, LimeLight captures and exchanges key information on each animal as it moves through the meat production / food supply chain. Built off a licensed and proprietary software platform that is currently used to track patient healthcare information, LimeLight’s cloud-enabled mobile technology (SmartTraak) simplifies data capture using off-the-shelf devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. LimeLight and its SmartTraak software platform are compliant with the global traceability standards from GS1-EPCIS providing the interoperability to secure the safety of meat production across the food supply chain.

Ranchers and retailers can trace animals throughout the food chain, read VID and RFID ear tags, simplify data capture on their smartphones, exchange essential data in real-time—all leading to improved traceability, visibility of food safety data and consumer confidence.

Playing in the Digital Sandbox

 “Marv Jahde has many years of experience in the animal health space and through his real world experience has developed a more efficient and thorough process for tracking an animal’s origins throughout the food production process,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC.

With its corporate partnership and connections, Digital Sandbox KC will help LimeLight take the next steps to commercialization.

“Our goal is to raise seed round capital investment,” says CEO Marv Jahde. “Digital Sandbox KC’s  resources can help us achieve that goal by funding market research and legal expenses and connecting us with accredited investors.”

LimeLight will use the Sandbox’s resources and connections to validate market conditions, determine their positioning and finalize the private offering, USPTO trademark application and intellectual property agreements.