As the first city to receive access to Google Fiber and home to companies like Cerner, Sprint, Garmin and DST, Kansas City’s stock as a cost-effective potential tech hub has risen dramatically. The city hosts The Kauffman Foundation, focused on supporting U.S. entrepreneurship, but with a special emphasis on its hometown. The presence of universities with strong health programs has been recognized as a major advantage for health startups. Techstars, for instance, has partnered with Sprint to launch a mobile health accelerator. Capital access, however, remains an issue, with investors lacking the confidence and expertise to fund young startups.
These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.
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Herb Sih is an entrepreneur, investor and the co-founder of Think Big Partners, which provides startup acceleration, co-working spaces and capital for Kansas City’s startups. Herb’s experience leading Think Big has given him unique insight into success in the region’s startup ecosystem.
Brittain Kovac is Co-Leader at the KC Startup Village centered on the Hanover Heights and Spring Valley neighborhoods. Though the first companies to relocate were lured by the installation of Google Fiber, the Village has since evolved into a space for startup collaboration, innovation and the growth of the entrepreneurial community.
Diana Kander is an entrepreneur and current Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation. She actively supports the Kansas City startup community at the Kauffman Foundation, as an instructor at the University of Missouri, and as a frequent speaker. Diana is also the author of the New York Times bestseller All In Startup.
Lesa Mitchell is a former vice president of the Kauffman Foundation and leader in the healthcare sector. She currently leads Network for Scale, an organization that provides mentorship and support to grow startups. Her contributions to the entrepreneurial community include supporting women entrepreneurs and universities as hubs of innovation among many other efforts.
John Fein is well versed in how technology and health care intersect, with prior experience in both sectors. As Managing Director of Techstars’ Kansas City based Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator, he leads a partnership with Sprint to develop and scale promising health tech startups.
Kevin Lockett is a longtime player in the Kansas City entrepreneurial community. Prior to his current role leading the Kansas Bioscience Authority, a life-science focused VC firm, he worked at the Kauffman Foundation, where he helped grow Kansas City startups by encouraging angel investment and providing mentorship.
Regan Carrizales leads Silicon Prairie News, a popular site for journalism on tech startups in and around Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa. Regan frequently writes on events and developments in the ecosystem, and her role gives her a bird’s eye view of entrepreneurship in Kansas and the broader region.
Marty Bicknell leads Mariner Holdings, which provides a range of investment and wealth management services. Marty’s engagement with the Kansas City startup community includes his own experience founding Mariner as well as his role investing in and providing guidance to local entrepreneurs.
Fred Coulson is a seasoned investor committed to growing entrepreneurial innovation in the Kansas City area through Five Elms Capital, which he founded in 2006 and leads as Managing Partner. Fred also serves as founder and Chair of RIA Financial and Spring Venture Group.
Ron LeMay is a veteran business executive and currently leads Farmlink, which provides data-driven analysis for agriculture optimization. Ron previously served as CEO of Sprint. He contributes his investment expertise as Managing Director of Open Air Equity, a VC firm that invests in Kansas City startups.
The Kauffman Foundation has become a world renown NGO wholly focused on innovation and entrepreneurship.1966
Garmin goes public and brings positive attention to Kansas City, along with an influx of capital.December 2000
One of Kansas City's first coworking spaces, Think Big has been continuously expanding since its founding and has recently moved to a larger location to accommodate increased demand.August 2010
A push by the Chamber of Commerce to make the city more entrepreneurial by hosting a World’s Symposium on Animal Health, the creation of the Kansas City Regional Translational Research Institute, a UMKC Downtown Conservatory, and the Urban Core Neighborhood Initiative.September 2011
Google Fiber in Kansas City has served as a magnet for startups to relocate to the city by offering the fastest internet in the country at an affordable rate.July 2012
The Kansas City Startup Village (KCSV) is an entrepreneur-led "village" created to foster the growing startup ecosystem in Kansas City through access to Google Fiber and its tight-knit community. Numerous startups have already relocated to the KCSV.September 2012
The Kansas City Startup Village (KCSV) launches its Homes for Hackers initiative, which offers three months of free rent, utilities, and Google Fiber to entrepreneurs at the heart of startup village.November 2012
With the move of Leap2 and other up and coming startups to the Kansas City Startup Village (KCSV), a growing cluster of startups has begun to emerge in the heart of Kansas City.October 2012
The Sprint Accelerator, powered by Techstars, provides a three-month, mentorship-driven experience for mobile health IT startups in Kansas City.September 2013
Up Global brought 150 community leaders from across the nation to KC to see the scene and bring awareness to the city.October 2014