Mayor Sly James Announces 2018 Cohort for Innovation Partnership Program


Kansas City, MO – Mayor Sly James today announced six partners for the 2018 Innovation Partnership Program. The program, in its fourth year, provides a unique opportunity for startups to develop a use case and allows City Hall to explore, at no cost, how new technologies may improve City services.  

“The Innovation Partnership Program asks the startup community and the City to work together to find sustainable solutions to improve services for our residents and visitors,” said Mayor Sly James. “This is the exact type of collaboration that will ensure Kansas City continues to build on its momentum and become the world class city we know it can be.”

The program committee selected a broad range of companies this year to work with several City departments. The partners include: Geospiza, DogSpot, Homebase, Gridics LLC, Snorkel, and Dynamhex.

The test program runs 13 weeks, from August 1 to October 30. Partners will meet with the Office of Innovation and receive 20 hours of office space in City Hall weekly throughout the program. In October, the partners will present their technology services and discuss their pilot progress in a pitch to Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte, among other attendees from city departments and the City Council.  

“This year’s IPP class will be testing innovative solutions to challenges ranging from crisis response to increasing efficiency in our sewage systems. I wish them good luck, and look forward to their presentations,” said Mayor James.

Partners were selected using several criteria including the ability to support economic development and operations strategies such as improving quality and efficiency of City services and operations, supporting environment quality efforts with the City, engaging neighborhoods, and improving economic vitality and social equity.

Brief descriptions from the companies about their technological solutions along with the assigned test case departments are included below:

Company: Geospiza, Sarah Tuneberg
City Department: Public Safety
Geospiza is a company that uses data to enable cities to better prepare for and respond to crises through assessment of multiple data streams. These allow communities to identify where more difficult rescue and recovery operations may occur, which allows for better deployment of public safety resources.

It provides emergency managers, city planners, and other key stakeholders with comprehensive insight into community vulnerability. Understanding population vulnerability allows officials to quantify risk, prioritize preparedness and risk-reduction interventions, and conduct effective and efficient response and recovery activities. Engaging in a pilot of Geospiza will enhance Kansas City’s emergency preparedness and reduce costs around data collection and analysis in emergency management.

Company: DogSpot, Chelsea Brownridge
City Department: Office of Innovation
DogSpot is a company with a network of high-tech dog houses in the community, which can be rented by the minute. This allows dog owners to run errands with their pet, without having to tie them up outside. DogSpot houses are temperature-controlled, sanitized, and equipped with a camera so that dog owners can monitor their pet. Placing several DogSpot dog houses in downtown Kansas City could make the city more dog-friendly and increase potential revenue of area businesses.

Company: Homebase, Blake Miller
City Department: Housing Services
Homebase is a Kansas City-based connected building solutions provider delivering connectivity, automation, and community management solutions for property owners and managers of apartment communities. The company that hosts a connected building management platform, which allows residents to experience modern and efficient living, while making property management more seamless. With the use of wifi and connected Smart Home devices, the platform allows users to pay rent, monitor utilities, report maintenance, and more.

Homebase would like to develop a solution for affordable housing that helps bridge the digital divide. This would work with property owners and managers of affordable housing to offer connectivity, a smart home package, smart appliances with greater energy efficiency, and metered utility usage.

Company: Gridics, LLC, Felipe Azenha
City Department: City Planning
Gridics is a real estate technology company that has developed a zoning code software management platform which cities across the country have adopted. It developed a site-specific zoning application that helps cities manage, update and visualize their zoning code in real time. This could help Kansas City write, test, and visualize rezonings more easily, and more effectively answer questions about land use and zoning.

Company: Snorkel, Luke Ismert
City Partner: Water Services/Sewer
Snorkel is a software tool that helps city staff better allocate the city’s fat, oil, and grease management resources and extend the life of its sewers. It allows city officials to identify which restaurants are equipped with grease traps, whether they maintain and pump their traps appropriately, and how poorly managed restaurant grease relate to broader systemic problems within the city’s sewer problems within the city’s sewer maintenance program.

With this data, the city can more efficiently allocate restaurant inspection resources, ensure better compliance with ordinances, and keep more fat, oil, and grease out of the sewers, which saves money on maintenance and repair and extends the life of the city’s sewers.

Company: Dynamhex, Sunny Sanwar
City Partner: General Services
Dynamhex is a data analytics software for municipal energy usage from both an economic cost and an environmental sustainability standpoint. Their technology product visualizes complex energy consumption patterns geographically on a dashboard for government officials. This allows municipal leaders to make data-driven decisions and target areas of energy waste and inefficiencies. The management of organizational level and regional level energy usage is helpful for measuring energy and emission performance and saving money.

For more information regarding the Innovation Partnership Program, visit:


Contact: Laura Swinford: 816-513-6579,