Digital Sandbox KC, a highly successful proof-of-concept program, and the City of Olathe are teaming up to help early-stage entrepreneurs in Olathe.

Digital Sandbox KC’s mission is to help launch new businesses and assist them in securing add-on funding.  The partnership with the City of Olathe will focus on continuing the City’s efforts to drive entrepreneurship and new business starts.

“Digital Sandbox has done a phenomenal job helping early-stage entrepreneurs move from concept to business start,” said Michael Wilkes, Olathe city manager. “We know that we have many creative entrepreneurs in Olathe who can use Digital Sandbox to turn their idea into a growing Olathe business that creates new jobs in our city.”

Launched in February 2013, the Digital Sandbox KC has worked with more than 300 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies across the metro area.  This is the first time the program will be used to drive increased entrepreneurship for a specific city. 

“As one of the area’s largest suburbs, I’m confident that there are many entrepreneurs with great ideas in Olathe,” said Jeff Shackelford, director, Digital Sandbox KC.  “What we intend to do with this partnership is quickly turn concepts into business startups that create new jobs for Olathe.  And, in the long run, we hope to find the next Garmin that benefits the entire metro area.”

The first company in Olathe to receive Digital Sandbox KC program support is PerfectCube, founded by Mark Calhoun and Jim Starcev.  PerfectCube provides business analytics tools – typically available only to large retailers – for small retail business owners. The tools show important trends, comparisons and predicative information so the business owner can anticipate and make more informed decisions by collecting POS and other relevant information.  It’s almost like a crystal ball for small business owners. With Digital Sandbox KC support, the company plans to add additional functionality to help small retailers grow and flourish. 

“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.” 

Results for Digital Sandbox KC thus far have included:

  • 52 proof-of-concept funded for area start-ups
  • 23 new businesses created
  • 181 jobs created
  • $17.8 million in follow-on funding

Applications for Digital Sandbox KC are taken on a rolling basis and evaluation/selection cycles run eight weeks.  The Sandbox funding may cover expenses for project consultants, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs.  Olathe entrepreneurs are encouraged to visit for more information. 

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.