4 Newest Digital Sandbox KC Companies Primed to Develop Kansas City’s Next InnovationsJake Slobe
In line with Digital Sandbox KC’s broader commitment to help accelerate innovations, we are proud to announce the four new companies joining our program that will receive up to $20,000 in project funding and additional support.
From making the college admissions process easier for students to summarizing books and podcasts using artificial intelligence, these startups are a great example of the creativity of this region’s entrepreneurs.
“Our team is thrilled to welcome this extraordinary group of startups into the Sandbox,” says Jill Meyer, senior director of Technology Venture Studio, which houses Digital Sandbox KC. “In a landscape where early-stage funding is scarce, Digital Sandbox KC takes pride in being able to fill that gap and offer crucial support to ignite and drive innovation. By providing initial backing, we enable these innovations to gain momentum and attract further funding down the line.”
These four companies will join the other 184 startups that have participated in the program since 2013. Read more about the impact of the Sandbox in the Digital Sandbox KC 2023 Impact Report.
In addition to receiving up to $20,000 in project funding, startups in the program gain access to the Technology Venture Studio community and technical project support. To submit your idea and pitch to the Sandbox, apply for the next quarter at techventurestudiokc.com/digital-sandbox.
We are honored to partner with this group of companies as we help them prime the pump for the future of their startup. Meet the four new companies joining the Sandbox.
Dropofwisdom (Kansas City, Missouri)
Dropofwisdom provides personal growth and self-help content summaries and uses artificial intelligence to give structure to people’s efforts to change.
“Digital Sandbox KC’s funding will allow us to run a beta trial to validate the market fit of our tools for higher education,” says Louis Pires, president and co-founder.
Duesy (Kansas City, Missouri)
Duesy makes registration and dues easy for youth sports teams.
Tony Caudill, founder and CEO of Duesy, is now a two-time Digital Sandbox KC awardee and says he knows how important early funding is to a company. With his first Sandbox-funded company, aware3, he used the Sandbox funds to integrate with a strategic partner. In 2018, aware3 had a successful exit and was acquired by Nelnet.
“That integration was one of the key reasons for our rapid growth and eventual exit,” Caudill says. “With Duesy, we’ll be using the funds to accelerate the build of our MVP so we can start our pilot and get to market faster. I’m so grateful for Digital Sandbox KC’s continued support of me and our broader entrepreneur community in KC. We’re lucky to have such an amazing resource in our city.”
Playhaus (Kansas City, Missouri)
Playhaus is a smart wallet for your digital identity. The company’s software platform centralizes and transforms user and organizational data stored in third-party software to power an artificial intelligence system built on the blockchain. The company then uses the data vaults to improve the efficiency of digital ad spend on AI-powered systems by 30%-90%.
“Winning the Sandbox grant will enable us to build the MVP of our ad– buying platform interface, allowing us to reduce the time it takes us to serve existing customers,” says Connor Borrego, founder and CEO.
VU Scholarships (Roeland Park, Kansas)
VU Scholarships is helping high school students see the immense potential they have by awarding them scholarships from colleges before they even apply, making the college admissions process more exciting, effective and transparent.
“VU Scholarships has received incredible feedback from colleges, high school administrators, students and parents on how VU is making the college admissions process easier,” says Andrew Marquez, founder and CEO. “With this funding from Digital Sandbox KC, we will be able to bring an even more powerful and accessible solution to the student and the parent.”