Latest Survey Numbers for the Sandbox Companies

Latest Survey Numbers for the Sandbox Companies


We recently completed the semi-annual survey of companies and the results are impressive.

  • 85 proof-of-concept projects funded for area startups
  • $1.7 million in project development funding
  • $38,265,600 in follow-on funding
  • 53 of 85 (62 percent) receiving project funding have secured add-on investment
  • 480 jobs created with more than $12 million in payroll
  • $7,361,620 in sales for the prior six months.  Collectively $22,667,041 in sales since inception (8 companies have crossed the $1 million sales mark)
  • 130 products launched, 57 patent applications, 8 patents awarded

“When we launched the Sandbox, our stated goal was to improve the quantity and quality of early-stage startups in Kansas City to drive new business starts and create new jobs,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC.  “Our latest impact study shows we’re continuing to fulfill that mission. We couldn’t be prouder of our Digital Sandbox KC companies. The program is doing just what we hoped it would do and we’re ready to do more. We encourage everyone to bring their ideas to the Sandbox. ”
 Sandbox Poster 
Some other findings from the survey:

  • Digital Sandbox KC clients are a diverse group. Women are represented on 33 percent of the founding teams; 24 percent of founding teams have people of color and 6 percent have veterans.
  • Many clients (67 percent) have taken advantage of training and incubator services offered by entrepreneurial support organizations. Twenty-seven have taken some version of FastTrac, 13 were in SparkLab and 12 came from the UMKC Bloch School of Management E-Scholars program.
  • Sandbox clients are experienced and educated: 77 percent have previous experience in their industry; 48 percent have some college or a completed bachelor’s degree; 38 percent have graduate, medical or doctorate degrees.

“This program continues to bridge the gap for early-stage companies in the digital space,” said Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center (of which Digital Sandbox KC is a part) and founder of KCSourceLink. “Digital Sandbox KC provides connections and proof-of-concept support that are key to moving a concept to commercialization.”
Looking ahead, Shackelford noted the opportunities to do more. “We’ve tested our concept and I think the results indicate that the Sandbox program works,” Shackelford said. “Now, we’re looking to expand the reach of the program into other verticals, like what we’re doing with the Energy Sandbox, and in other local markets, like our partnerships with the cities of Olathe and Independence.  It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when we collaborate and combine resources to help early-stage entrepreneurs.”
In addition to i6 challenge grant funding, Digital Sandbox KC is supported by the Missouri Technology Corp. (MTC), the Kauffman Foundation, the UMKC Bloch School of Management, the city of Olathe, city of Independence Economic Development Council, Cobalt Ventures and GXP Investments (the Energy Sandbox).

Digital Sandbox KC serves entrepreneurs with innovative concepts in information technology, which can include mobile apps, big data, software platforms, tangible products, hardware and health care IT. The maximum for project financing is approximately $25,000. The average award is about $20,600. Innovators with ideas in the energy space can apply to the Energy Sandbox.
The selection committee consists of individuals who routinely evaluate businesses including representatives from corporate partners, local and angel groups or other investors, accelerators and incubators. Technology and industry market specialists also assist in evaluating the submissions.