“What’s going on in Kansas City this weekend?”
That’s the simple and core question that spawned Local Ruckus, a Kansas City, Kan., startup and the first nationally viable, local events platform.
“Local Ruckus’ shift to a business-to-business model positions them well to capitalize on what they’ve built and developed,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of the Digital Sandbox KC. “They’ve already made great strides in positioning the company for rapid growth.”
Doing the Local Thing
Local Ruckus was founded in January 2011, launched with its current platform in August 2012 and will release the next version this fall. A web-based tool for discovering and sharing local events, Local Ruckus cuts to the entertainment chase, helping users who are hunting for local events find and share them faster and easier than the newspaper trawl or overly complicated event sites.
“Being a part of the Digital Sandbox will help us acquire the appropriate resources to elevate our platform to the next level,” said co-founder Adam Arredondo. “With our new business-to-business platform, which aims to be the ‘Associated Press’ for local events, we’re looking to enhance our system for efficient, mass distribution of our local events content. Support by the Digital Sandbox will be instrumental in helping us achieve our immediate objectives.”
Trellie’s first product, a wireless device disguised as a women’s fashion accessory, aims to help keep women better connected. As one of the first six companies ready for funding in Digital Sandbox KC, founders Claude Aldridge and Jason Reid hope the Sandbox will help them do the same.
“Our goal for the sandbox is twofold. First, we want to make connections inside local corporations that will give Trellie the best chance for success,” says Aldridge. These include retail distribution, strategic partnerships, marketing and product development. “Second, Trellie would like to use the Digital Sandbox to ideate, prototype and market validate Trellie 2.0.”
The ultimate goal is to leverage their first product into a company that will revolutionize hardware-based technology solutions for families by creating a range of products for women that help them save time, provide peace of mind and enable better communication with those people they care about most.
A Missed Call, A Bright Idea
Nothing is more frustrating than when you need to reach your mom, wife, daughter, sister, right now—and her cellphone is lost to in the swallowing abyss of a large handbag.
Aldridge and Reid knew the pain of unreachable spouses—and understood the possible implications of missing an important call from your boss, husband, babysitter, aging parents or your kid’s school. Personal pain points aside, they also had a market: 80% of all women carry their phone in their purse and consequently miss more than half of their incoming calls.
In 2012, they created Trellie, a Bluetooth-enabled, patent-pending solution to missing important calls from those who depend on you. Worn as a fashion accessory on the outside of a handbag, Trellie visually notifies the user of an incoming call to a mobile phone through a flashing LED light.
The first prototype for Trellie was funded with the help of Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding platform for creative projects. Aldridge and Reid attracted more than 515 backers, who in turn raised $33,168 for the Kansas City startup, 110 percent of their published goal. A week later, Trellie closed a $500,000 financing round.
“Trellie is a great example of how the Digital Sandbox KC can help local entrepreneurs make meaningful and valuable connections with some of KC’s largest companies,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “As Trellie continues to refine and develop new products, the ability to reach for meaningful market data or assistance in product distribution is critical to their rapid growth.”
With the help and connections of Digital Sandbox KC, LimeLight Technologies, LLC is providing the visibility to secure the safety of meat production across the food supply chain, from rancher to retailer.
Improve Tracking, Improve Safety
Founded in 2009, LimeLight captures and exchanges key information on each animal as it moves through the meat production / food supply chain. Built off a licensed and proprietary software platform that is currently used to track patient healthcare information, LimeLight’s cloud-enabled mobile technology (SmartTraak) simplifies data capture using off-the-shelf devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. LimeLight and its SmartTraak software platform are compliant with the global traceability standards from GS1-EPCIS providing the interoperability to secure the safety of meat production across the food supply chain.
Ranchers and retailers can trace animals throughout the food chain, read VID and RFID ear tags, simplify data capture on their smartphones, exchange essential data in real-time—all leading to improved traceability, visibility of food safety data and consumer confidence.
Playing in the Digital Sandbox
“Marv Jahde has many years of experience in the animal health space and through his real world experience has developed a more efficient and thorough process for tracking an animal’s origins throughout the food production process,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC.
With its corporate partnership and connections, Digital Sandbox KC will help LimeLight take the next steps to commercialization.
“Our goal is to raise seed round capital investment,” says CEO Marv Jahde. “Digital Sandbox KC’s resources can help us achieve that goal by funding market research and legal expenses and connecting us with accredited investors.”
LimeLight will use the Sandbox’s resources and connections to validate market conditions, determine their positioning and finalize the private offering, USPTO trademark application and intellectual property agreements.