Two New Companies Added to the Sandbox

Two New Companies Added to the Sandbox

Digital Sandbox KC added two new companies, both part of the Sandbox’s program with City of Independence, Missouri
“The partnership with Independence is doing exactly what we’d hoped it would,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “We are continuing to feed the funnel and drive both the quality and quantity of entrepreneurs entering the market. In a short time, we’ve found three high-growth Independence businesses to support and I know there are many more to come.”
Digital Sandbox KC is a proof-of-concept program that significantly and rapidly moves early-stage entrepreneurs from concept to commercialization. It is a unique collaboration among private, public, university/research and philanthropic organizations.  
The companies selected for support include:

Drones4Hire provides a quick and easy way for businesses and individuals to hire a licensed FAA drone pilot. The Drones4Hire platform makes it easy to request and a hire drone pilot to fit the need.
“Funding from Digital Sandbox KC will help us move forward,” said Cory Mullins, founder and CEO of Drones4Hire. “The co-working space and support at the Ennovation Center will be a fantastic resource as we expand our company’s platforms to provide a truly exceptional drone hiring service for our clients.”
Hidden Abilities is developing an innovative tool for the millions of people struggling with dyslexia. The Hidden Abilities Read ‘n Style pen is a discreet, handheld device that scans text and reads it aloud for students with dyslexia; effectively turning any book into an audiobook. 
“This grant from the Sandbox is a tremendous boost for Hidden Abilities,” said Payden Miller, president and co-founder of Hidden Abilities. “With funding from the Sandbox and help from the experts at the Ennovation Center, we’ll be able to start building an intellectual property portfolio that will protect our invention and add great value to our company. We are so grateful for this support.”
Drones4Hire and Hidden Abilities are funded through the Sandbox’s partnership with the City of Independence and the Independence Economic Development Council. In addition to up to $20,000 in project development funds from the Digital Sandbox KC, both companies will have access to professional workspace at WerksLab and specialized business support through the iNTech Growth Program at the Ennovation Center, a business incubator located in Independence. 
“The Independence EDC is pleased to work with Hidden Abilities and Drones4Hire and help the founders take their ideas to market,” said Lee Langerock, executive director of the Ennovation Center. “Both companies are great iNtech growth program clients and with the help of our experts, will have the support and resources needed to realize their business goals. We appreciate the investment that the Sandbox Independence program is making in these early-stage, technology companies.”
Launched in February 2013, Digital Sandbox KC has worked with more than 350 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies across the metro area. 
Results for Digital Sandbox KC thus far have included:
•          90 proof-of-concept projects funded for area startups
•          35 new businesses created
•          More than 480 new jobs created with more than $12 million in payroll
•          $38.2 million in follow-on funding
Digital Sandbox KC reviews application on a rolling basis and evaluation/selection cycles run eight weeks. Sandbox funding may cover expenses for project consultants, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs.

About Digital Sandbox
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.  


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