Digital Sandbox KC Kicks Off 2015 with 5 New Companies-Amy Brost
Five new companies have jumped into the Sandbox for 2015 and are receiving support for early-stage commercialization. The Digital Sandbox KC advisory team recently approved proof-of-concept projects for Acre Designs LLC, Passel LLC, PatientsVoices LLC, Royal Loyal LLC and The Swapping Company.
Launched in February, 2013 with a U.S. Commerce Department i6 challenge grant, Digital Sandbox KC was designed to help companies validate new concepts leading to new business starts and follow-on funding. This highly successful proof-of-concept program has worked with more than 300 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies across the metro area. Results so far:
- 42 proof-of-concept projects funded for area startups
- 23 new KC-based companies created
- 27 companies have secured follow-on investment
- $12M million in follow-on funding
- 156 new jobs created
“We’re excited to get 2015 off to a great start with an additional five companies receiving Sandbox funding,” said Jeff Shackelford, director. “We want to continue to build on the success we’ve had in helping to start new companies and create new jobs throughout the Kansas City region.”
The most recent five companies approved for projects are:
- Acre Designs LLC builds homes for the next generations, embracing new technologies, processes and materials to make homes more efficient, comfortable, intelligent and affordable. The company has reconsidered home from the ground up, from size and function to aesthetics. Acre homes are 60% faster to build and cost up to 60% less than the average new home. Digital Sandbox KC support will help Acre develop and validate the performance of the PassiveGeoX system, a key technology that helps homes advance in energy performance.
- Passel LLC has developed a web and mobile app that allows someone to “follow” a group, team or business calendar. Appointments on different calendars are sent to a mobile calendar and automatically updated. Passel allows user to replace the classic “Refrigerator Calendar” with a solution that is up-to-date, on the go and always accurate. The project supported by Digital Sandbox KC is the development of a website, iPhone app and Android app.
- PatientsVoices LLC™ uses specific, actionable patient feedback to address an emerging healthcare problem: how to improve clinical and financial results while improving the patient experience. Currently the federal government adjusts Medicare payments based on patient satisfaction and quality ratings. Local hospitals (96%) lost, on average, $600,000 in Medicare payments during FY14. PatientsVoices™ delivers specific feedback on the problems that patients encounter, so hospitals know exactly how to improve the patient experience. Funding from Digital Sandbox KC will be used to build the company’s HIPPA secure infrastructure and an enhanced dashboard.
- Royal Loyal LLC 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 more reasonable cost. The app also includes a loyalty reward component. The Digital Sandbox project will result in a more streamlined user experience for primary customers.
- The Swapping Company provides online fashion resale stores, consignment stores and individuals an aggregating platform for the resale industry to buy and sell and tumble out to social media and other selling sites. The Swapping Company allows for a one stop marketplace to view everything that is available, regardless of the location. Digital Sandbox KC will support development of the platform and its mobile app.
Digital Sandbox KC recently raised 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.
Applications are taken on a rolling basis. The Sandbox may cover expenses for project consultants, market research, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs. For more information about Digital Sandbox KC, go to www.digitalsandboxkc.com.
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.