LaunchKC has announced its selection of 20 tech entrepreneurs as finalists for the $500K Kansas City-based grants competition on Sept. 16 at Union Station.
The finalists include 11 from the bi-state metropolitan area, seven from other U.S. states and two international applicants from Austria and Portugal. They will be in KC in three weeks to compete for one of 10 grand prizes, including a $50,000 grant; 12 months of free office space in the heart of Downtown; and professional mentoring support – that will be awarded to the 10 top at Techweek Kansas City Sept. 12-18.
The 20 finalists were selected from a pool of more than 400 contenders who applied to LaunchKC during a 90-day application window that closed in early July.
“This is an outstanding group of finalists. We were looking for the best and brightest applicants for the LaunchKC competition, and we were not disappointed,” said Drew Solomon, vice president of business and job development at the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of Kansas City, M0., and leader of the grants competition. “They exceeded our already high expectations.”
LaunchKC is a global grants competition designed to attract tech entrepreneurs to build their new and emerging tech businesses in Downtown Kansas City. It is an initiative of the Downtown Council (DTC) of Kansas City, Missouri, working in collaboration with the EDC. This is the second year for the LaunchKC grants competition.
This announcement marks the completion of weeks of application reviews and scoring by a panel of more than 25 local business and financial leaders. They volunteered their time to narrow the field from more than 400 applicants from 19 states and seven nations to the 20 finalists announced this week.
“This was a rewarding, but strenuous, process for the selection committee,” Solomon said. “We are grateful for the time and careful deliberation that they gave to this important job.”
The 20 finalists (listed alphabetically, by company name, current location and business sector) for the LaunchKC grants competition include:
The 20 finalists advance to Techweek Kansas City – home to the final round of judging and the selection of the eventual 10 grant recipients – on Sept. 16 at Union Station.
“LaunchKC will take center stage at the Techweek Kansas City conference on Friday, Sept. 16,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for the Downtown Council and LaunchKC. “Each of the finalists will get to make their sales pitches to the Techweek audience, followed by questions from the LaunchKC judges, that morning.
“Upon completion of the pitches by each finalist, we will reconvene mid-afternoon on Sept. 16th to learn the judges’ selections for the 10 grant recipients. It will mark the climax of the Techweek conference, and we can’t wait!”