Digital Sandbox KC Announces Round 2 of Funding

Digital Sandbox KC Announces Round 2 of Funding

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Sept 16, 2014) — Digital Sandbox KC will once again offer proof-of-concept support to entrepreneurs, thanks to assistance from the Missouri Technology Corp., the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Henry W. Bloch School of Business at University of Missouri – Kansas City and other local corporations. Digital Sandbox KC will kick off the relaunch and celebrate two years of helping startup companies with proof-of-concept projects on Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 5-7 p.m., hosted by UMB. The event will be at UMB headquarters on Grand Boulevard.

“We’re pleased to announce Digital Sandbox KC 2.0,” said Jeff Shackelford, executive director.  “We set out to fill a known gap in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and prove that you can drive economic growth by helping early-stage entrepreneurs move their ideas into new business starts that create new jobs.”

Digital Sandbox KC is a unique collaboration among public, academic, philanthropic and corporate partners.  Kansas City corporate partners include Sprint, Hallmark, VML, UMB, Rarewire and others.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with the Digital Sandbox to bring jobs and opportunities to the Kansas City area,” said Mike Downing, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “Missouri will continue to help homegrown entrepreneurs bring products and services to market while attracting startups from across the country create jobs in the Show-Me State.”

Started with a September 2012 U.S. Commerce Department i6 challenge grant, Digital Sandbox KC was designed to help launch new business starts and help at least 10 new start-ups secure add-on funding.  The proof of concept program has worked with more than 200 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies across the metro area.  Results so far:

  • 37 proof-of-concept projects funded for area startups
  • 23 new KC-based companies created
  • 26 companies have secured follow-on investment
  • $10.2 million in follow-on funding
  • 154 new jobs created

These companies represent a range of industries, including health care IT, data security, creative mobile apps, big data, consumer products, technology platforms and more. 

“What Digital Sandbox has been able to accomplish in a short period of time is great for Kansas City,” said Peter deSilva, President and COO of UMB.  “UMB is pleased to be a part of the Sandbox team and I look forward to even more success in the future.”

With the i6 grant cycle concluding in September, Digital Sandbox KC has secured commitments for continued funding from the Missouri Technology Corporation and new funding from the Kauffman Foundation. The UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management has pledged monetary support as well as spots in its E-Scholars Program, which includes incubator space. Several area corporations are planning to continue their support as well.

Entrepreneurs and early-stage companies can submit requests for project funding at Committee reviews will begin in mid-October.

Read the DSB Report 2014

About Digital Sandbox KC

Digital Sandbox KC is an unprecedented partnership among private companies, universities, entrepreneurial support organizations and government agencies across the Kansas City region designed to spur the creation of high growth companies.  Digital Sandbox KC provides proof of concept resources including market validation, prototyping and beta testing support for development of digital technologies within new and existing businesses. Initial funding came through a $1 million federal i6 Challenge Grant sponsored by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, matched by $500,000 from the Missouri Technology Corporation and in-kind from local corporate partners.

The Sandbox was developed by KCSourceLink through the collaboration of partners such as: corporate (Sprint, Hallmark, UMB, VML, Cerner, RareWire, SparkLabKC), academic (UMKC, University of Kansas), nonprofit (Enterprise Center of Johnson County; Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute; Union Station, Inc.; KCNext), public (Missouri Technology Corporation, Mayors’ Bistate Innovation Team, Economic Development Corp. of KC) and philanthropic (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation).