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Kansas City

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.

In This Market

These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.

Opportunities

  • Google Fiber has given startups access to super high-speed internet at relatively affordable prices, which has brought significant attention to Kansas City amongst the greater US startup community.
  • The presence of a mature and enormous human and animal health tech scene means that startups that focus on these verticals should perform well.
  • Affordable cost of living with a high quality of life is a boon for bootstrapping startups.
  • Large companies like Cerner, Sprint, and Garmin provide a diverse and skilled tech talent pool to draw from.
  • The presence of the Kauffman Foundation, a major NGO for entrepreneurship, reinforces Kansas City’s role in the national startup conversation.

Risk Factors

  • As more and more cities across the nation get access to fiber, Kansas City will lose this competitive edge.
  • Lack of a feeder system between startups and universities. Young entrepreneurs lack resources to start business while they are in school, which makes it tempting for students to join major companies rather than startups.
  • The city suffers from bad PR due to its location in a “fly-over” state, making it difficult to convince startups to make the move to Kansas City.
  • Despite the presence of many sources of capital, Series A funding is challenging to get as investors aren’t familiar with the risks of the tech sector.
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