Four New Startups Added to the SandboxAmy Brost
Funding and coworking space for startups in Independence and St. Joseph
Digital Sandbox KC added four new companies, two in partnership with the Ennovation Center in Independence, Missouri, and two out of the Innovation Stockyard in St. Joseph, Missouri.
“We continue to see a high volume of creative, innovative business concepts from across the region,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “We have been fully booked with applicants the last three quarters and in St. Joseph. We now need to get more of our local communities involved so we can fully capture the entrepreneurial potential of this entire region. It’s great that we’ve funded 100 early-stage concepts in the last five years, but our results show that we could be doing even more to make Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city.”
The companies selected for support include:
Go Natural English helps adults who are learning to speak English improve their fluency and confidence with digital learning materials and a community of support.
“The Independence Sandbox program provides funding to improve the user experience on our platform and scale the business,” said Gabby Wallace, founder of Go Natural English.
K12 Perform is an innovative ed-tech company with software and services that enable school district superintendents and principals to access, model and control their accountability and performance data.
“The project funding from Digital Sandbox KC and support from the Ennovation Center will allow us to hit key milestones and reach new customers,” said Brett Simpson, co-founder of K12 Perform.
Go Natural English and K12 Perform received funding through Digital Sandbox KC’s partnership with the City of Independence. In addition to up to $20,000 in project development funds, the two startups will have access to professional workspace at the Ennovation Center, a business incubator in Independence, and specialized business support through the center’s iNTech Growth Program.
DocuLock helps businesses archive, index and digitize paper documents, protecting valuable business information from threats and making them accessible from any web-enabled device.
“The support from St. Joseph and the funding from the Digital Sandbox KC provides an important validation for our growing business,” said Paul Janicek, CEO of DocuLock.
WHETStone Devices developed an innovative brace to provide plumbing companies a secure and easy-to-install solution for water heater expansion tanks.
“Funding from Digital Sandbox KC allows us to move our product forward faster,” said Chad Raw, co-owner and manager of WHETStone Devices.
DocuLock and WHETStone Devices received funding from the Sandbox partnership with the Innovation Stockyard in St. Joseph. In addition to up to $15,000 in project development funds, the Innovation Stockyard, located inside the Kit Bond Incubator in St. Joseph, will offer the two startups coworking space for three to six months.
Launched in February 2013, Digital Sandbox KC has worked with more than 500 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies across the Kansas City metro.
Based on February 2018 impact surveys, results for Digital Sandbox KC thus far have included:
- More than $1.9 million in project funding
- 100 proof-of-concept projects funded
- More than 580 new jobs created with more than $14 million in payroll
- $50.8 million in follow-on funding
Seeing the success of the program in Kansas City, the Sandbox has expanded into new areas and markets through partnerships with the cities of Olathe, Independence and St. Joseph. In 2016, Digital Sandbox KC partnered with GXP Investments to launch the Energy Sandbox which provides project funding to entrepreneurs in Kansas and Missouri with energy-related concepts.
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