Destiny is a debt management platform that helps financial institutions increase customer retention and uncover unforeseen opportunities with banking’s most crucial demographic; young and debt-laden customers.
B!TLab Innovations’ Smart Resume allows job seekers to optimize their resume automatically for each specific job in one click. It analyzes resumes, compares them to a job description, gives you a score, and then tailors your resume.
iSocial (Nascent Stage Development)
iSocial is a virtual learning environment that lets children with autism learn and practice pro-social behavior in a safe, controlled space. iSocial is a research and evidence-based program focused on improving student interactions and was developed in conjunction with the University of Missouri and the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurological Disorders.
H3TV (H3 Enterprises)
H3TV is an EduTech company powered by the arts, entertainment and social interaction. With a focus on education and health & wellness, our innovative online programming carries a mission to empower young audiences to make positive changes to their everyday lives. The Founders, Reggie “Regg” Gray and Rappin’ Roy Scott created H3, “Healthy Hip Hop,” a new genre of children’s music. H3TV is successfully using this culturally responsive music as a learning tool to help children improve academic outcomes, physical health and social emotional development.
The goal is to change a generation through music, movement and a message! Reggie Regg and Rappin’ Roy are connecting with their fans on a personal level and sharing their message across the globe.
IFTA Plus (Windsor Trucking Solutions)
Windsor Trucking Solutions creates SaaS compliance solutions for the trucking industry. Their IFTA Plus product is an online quarterly fuel tax preparation site that makes it fast and easy for truckers to prepare International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) returns.
Owner operators and small fleets make up the vast majority of the 1.2 million trucking companies in the United States. However, they are greatly underserved with accessible and simple to use solutions in order to remain compliant with state and federal regulations. Many of the solutions available today are made for large fleets, are not user-friendly and are not affordable for the trucker.
IFTA Plus automatically calculates taxes owed or the amount a company will be credited. The solution automatically fills in actual state forms so the company/trucker needs only to sign and send. A mobile app tied into the SaaS solution is scheduled to launch in the next few weeks.
“I’m extremely excited to be part of Digital Sandbox,” said Jason Read, CEO of Windsor Trucking Solutions. “The funding is key for the development of our Partner Integration Platform, which is foundational to the company’s growth and the continuing integration demands from partner organizations.”
The Agreeable Company
The Agreeable Company is developing a mobile app (Agreeable) that allows individuals planning meetings (especially those with strangers such as through Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist) to do so in a safer and more reliable manner. The in-app messaging and agreements function allows both parties to work out details, including a no-show fee.
One setting particularly dense with no-shows is online classifieds, with more than a billion ads posted annual. Initial target customers are grouped by frequency of online classifieds use, including super sellers (buy or sell weekly); smart shoppers (buy or sell monthly); and spring cleaners (casual users of online classifieds).
The app not only allows for meeting details to be set with both parties, but the app also detects whether either party is present at the time of the meeting using the users’ phone location technology. The app then automatically compensates the user when there is a no show. Additional features include a rating system on users and suggested safe meeting locations.
“We’re excited to have been selected for Digital Sandbox KC,” said Ian Hoffman, co-founder and CEO. “It’s great to see others believe in our vision as much as we do, and this will allow Agreeable to grow our website features, giving our customers a more comfortable and full-featured tool for their meetings.”
Super Dispatch is an app and web platform that helps trucking companies reduce paperwork; more quickly and efficiently invoice; and receive and process customer payments more quickly. Super Dispatch’s platform replaces traditional paper forms with a web platform that allows trucking companies to assign and exchange order data with their fleet in real time. By integrating the web platform with the Super Dispatch mobile app running on the driver’s phones, the company gains access to real time data on their fleet and each job status.
“It’s an honor being a part of Digital Sandbox. Being selected is a huge validation of the work we’ve done so far,” said founder Bek Abdullayev. “The funding will allow us to enter the market eight months early with a product our customers have been asking for.”
Lending Standard (FormZapper)
With funding for product development, Digital Sandbox KC will help startup FormZapper take commercial mortgage documents digital. A software provider for commercial real-estate lending, FormZapper’s product LendingStandard is a web-based document management application for commercial lenders dissatisfied with the current imaging and homebrewed document management systems that now exist as alternatives to paper.
Founded in January 2012 by CEO Andy Kallenbach, FormZapper officially launched the summer of 2012 after COO Danielle Stine was brought on to the team. After generating a steady stream of business automating the paper processes of clients in healthcare, education and staffing, Matthew Marsaglia was brought on to the team as the product development lead.
Together, Kallenbach, Stine and Marsaglia pivoted the company in early 2013 and steered it toward a new, ideal market, bringing on Jan Valencia to assist with business development. Initially, FormZapper was a web-based document management solution for all types of small businesses. The company has since evolved into a web-based platform designed specifically for commercial real estate lenders.
Unlike alternative solutions in the marketplace that only assist lenders with parts of their loan origination process, FormZapper’s product LendingStandard is a soup-to-nuts solution that takes lenders through the entire loan process, from collecting borrower information, to generating legal documents for closing. FormZapper’s secure, compliant system increases loan production efficiency by automating redundant data entry, enhancing accuracy and enabling collaboration between all participating parties.
FormZapper is rethinking document management for commercial lenders.
Playing in the Sandbox
“With FormZapper, we saw the opportunity for the Digital Sandbox to help Andy and his team build a viable solution for an existing problem in today’s small business world,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of the Digital Sandbox KC.
Digital Sandbox KC provides proof-of-concept resources to support early-stage commercialization processes. Support for each Sandbox participant is customized based on the unique needs of the project as well as the resources required to move the product or service forward.
With funds from the Digital Sandbox, FormZapper will fund product development, creating a web-based checklist builder to help internal lending staff create customized checklists for implementing loan applications and processing checklists per bank.
E-Beacon (EB Systems)
The resources, connections and funding of Digital Sandbox KC will help startup e-beacons launch its public safety solution, which will send out the first “beacon” in the event of an emergency, over web and mobile applications.
For the web, e-beacons shows public safety dispatches location and incident data in real time, filtering emergencies so trained staff can focus on the greatest need. For mobile apps, e-beacons allows users to report when they need help instantly.
The fully customizable system will serve designated population areas.
“e-beacons is one of those straight forward companies that focuses on a filling a very real need in the public safety arena,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of the Digital Sandbox KC. “John and Hieu are developing a highly integrated system that is easy for the user and provides real-time alert and data for public safety groups.”
Lighting the First Beacon
There’s a scene in Two Towers, the second book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, where beacons on the seven peaks of Gondor’s White Mountains are kindled one by one to warn neighboring Middle Earth that Minas Tirith has been besieged by the enemy’s armies.
That scene was an epiphany for John Ruiz, CEO and co-founder of e-beacons.
“Watching that scene gave me the idea to apply that ‘beacon’ system to real- life situations. I figured something similar could be effective using web and mobile applications,” said Ruiz, who had recently moved back to his hometown of Kansas City after attending Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, hot on the heels and opportunities of Google Fiber’s presence in Kansas City.
He began building out the application, using his newly developed programming skills gleaned from a free RareWire coding class at Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, a program of the Kauffman Foundation that helps the next generation of innovative firms learn how to start and grow their businesses.
Ruiz quickly realized he needed an extensive backend system that could receive and organize the alerts. Exhausting his own development skills, he decided to pitch his idea at Startup Weekend Kansas City. His idea garnered positive responses, and Hieu Truong joined the team. Truong, who had recently graduated with a computer science degree from University of Arkansas, had driven to Kansas City on the off chance he would find a project to work on after graduating from the University of Arkansas.
e-beacons didn’t win the weekend, although Ruiz and Truong both saw the potential and decided to join forces and pursue it. Ruiz started networking, pitching and building his connections. That naturally led to a presentation at 1 Million Cups.
“It was an event that truly changed our lives. After the 1MC presentation things went from 0 to 60, and it took us to where we are now. We became well connected within the community and started taking advantage of any and every resource offered to us,” said Ruiz.
Those resources included the E-Scholars Program at UMKC, LaunchKC, OfficePort, and other programs through the Kauffman Foundation and around Kansas City. With the help of some key community members, mentors and a couple of beta clients willing to take a chance on the startup, e-beacons is now on the verge of successfully entering the market.
Lighting the Path
Ruiz and Truong will use the resources of the Digital Sandbox KC to take the next critical steps to move their startup toward commercialization. Funding and industry connections will help them cover initial startup costs and projects so they can continue to expand.
“Our ultimate goal is to achieve at least 1 percent market penetration, which would result in nearly $1 million in yearly revenue,” said Ruiz.
“The Digital Sandbox has helped e-beacons continue to build out its product set and get it tested and ready for the market,” said Shackelford.
Grant Company is an entrepreneurial communications and marketing company based in St. Joseph. Established in 2017, Grant Company offers a unique marketing and advertising model for agribusiness clientele in the KC Animal Health Corridor and across North America and Europe.