Kansas City, MO – Last night Mayor Sly James held the City’s second annual Innovation Partnership Program Demo Day, hosted at WeWork Corrigan Station. Five local startups working with the City demoed their products to an audience of City staff, elected officials, fellow entrepreneurs and potential investors. Demo Day was a culmination of the City’s summer long Innovation Partnership Program, as well as one of the first events kicking off this week’s Techweek KC.
“Being a part of Techweek allows us to take the Innovation Partnership Program into the ecosystem of innovators, funders, and entrepreneurs in order to highlight the commitment the City is making to fostering success and collaboration among the start-up community in Kansas City.” said Mayor James. “Our IPP partners have done a fantastic job working on innovative solutions aimed at tackling challenges our City faces and improving services to residents. Now, they have an opportunity to present those solutions to the community, and get exposure and connections that can help them build their businesses into the future.”
The Innovation Partnership Program connects entrepreneurs to City resources. The program, in its third year, provides a unique opportunity for start-ups to develop a use case and allows City Hall to explore, at no cost, how new technologies may improve City services. Beginning in June, startups worked closely with the Office of Innovation and multiple City Departments to develop their products. The partners include MPiR LLC, 1773, KC Crew, MySidewalk, and Onward Financial, LLC.
Partners were selected, following an open application period, 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: MPiR LLC, Scott Smith
City Department: Parks & Rec, City Planning
MPiR (M-Pi-R) LLC was founded on the simple belief that the best of Capitalism and a responsible and sustainable business model provides resiliency and measurable value to the communities we are honored to serve. At MPiR, we Grow Together.
Over the next 40 years, humans will need to produce more food than the previous 10,000 years combined. The MPiR vision is to build an urban farming business that will provide fresh and organic produce to feed entire communities using re-purposed shipping containers equipped with the latest technology.
Company: KC Crew, Luke Wade
City Department: Parks and Rec
KC Crew was created to connect adults through sports and events and succeeded in partnering with the Parks and Rec department to activate unused parks. League Ally is a software that was created to automate sports leagues and connect individuals through sports. Park Ally is currently being created to help parks and arenas manage, monetize and automate the booking and maintenance of assets such as fields and courts. Working with the KCMO Parks and Recreation Department has allowed KC Crew to build a model that can be scaled to other Parks and Rec Departments across the country.
Company: mySidewalk, Stephen Hardy
City Department: Office of Performance Management
mySidewalk is a city intelligence tool that makes it easy to track, analyze, and communicate progress on department and citywide goals. A Kansas City company since 2014, mySidewalk has worked with more than 200 clients across the country and locally with Kansas City, Missouri; Kansas City, KS; Olathe, KS; and Gladstone, MO. mySidewalk’s mission is to empower city leaders and the public with the most complete, clear, and real-time understanding of their communities so they can improve and innovate together.
For the 2017 Innovation Partnership Program Cohort, mySidewalk focused on helping the City of Kansas City streamline their process for reporting on KPIs, and amplify their analytic capabilities, particularly from a geospatial perspective. mySidewalk provides the City with insights and a method to track progress that will help stakeholders integrate data into decision making about strategic priorities and resource allocation.
Company: 1773, Conner Hazelrigg
City Department: Office of the City Manager
The Sunshine Box was created based on the solution process explained in the book “White Man’s Burden” by William Easterly. The solution is designed specifically to narrow the gap for ‘mobile-first’ technology users and access to reliable electricity. The system supports charging 10 devices simultaneously, is completely portable, and 100% waterproof. The UL Certification guarantees safety when using the product in all circumstances.
The local owner(s) can sell charge to individuals for mobile technologies, lights, and other DC devices. This creates a stable income source. The portability of the box allows it to easily travel by motorcycle to reach more villages.
Company: Onward Financial, LLC, Ben White and Ronnie Washington
City Partner: Kansas City Credit Union
Onward Financial Inc., is a non-profit financial wellness platform that helps working people build a financial safety net. We provide access to easy savings tools, financial education, and community resources that help workers build financial fortitude and avoid expensive emergencies. As part of the IPP, Onward has worked with the Kansas City Credit Union to deliver innovative resources to help their members reach financial goals.
For more information regarding the Innovation Partnership Program, visit: http://kcmo.gov/ippkc/
For more information regarding Techweek KC, visit www.techweek.com/kansas-city/