Techweek Turns Spotlight on KC Startups



    The promise and potential of tech-related startup activity in the Kansas City area was on display Wednesday night with an event called the Pure Pitch Rally, sponsored by Techweek’s Tech Summit 2016.

    In a fast-paced series of pitches hosted at the Crossroads offices of Helix Architecture + Design, eight local entreprenuers each gave quick descriptions of their young companies’ missions, along with a brief status report on how they were positioning themselves to take products to the market, or to scale up early rollouts. Those presentations attracted a crowd of venture capitalists and angel investors, as well as other aspiring start-up owners trying to learn more about the region’s entrepreneurial infrastructure. Making their cases were:

  • John Thompson of PayIt, a company working to connect local governments to everyday tech users with mobile-friendly applications that can allow you to pay a parking ticket, for example, on the spot.
  • Gerg Smith of blooom, which has been recognized as the nation’s fastest-growing wealth-management robo-adviser. The service is focused on increasing the transparency of 401(k) plans by helping clients understand where their money is invested, and by reducing the fees associated with traditional advisory services for those plans.
  • Laura Steward of VideoFizz, an application that allows users to record video greetings, compiles multiple videos and blends with music and personalized animation to produce highly personalized messages for birthdays, anniversaries, retirement parties or other landmark life events.
  • Mark Williams of WorkView,  a cloud-based provider of work-management products for companies of all sizes. The feature that differentiates WorkView from traditional project-management programming, said the former executive for FishNet Security, was that it focused on how people use technology to manage projects, not on project-adminstration itself.
  • Davyeon Ross of ShotTracker, whose company is working with professional and collegiate sports teams on a system that provides automated tracking of basketball statistics–shooting percentages, assists, turnovers and the like–via sensors in shoes, balls and rims.
  • Nick Franano of Medactive Medical, who updated the crowd on the company’s efforts to create a stroke-management medical device that can quickly seal off blood leaking into the brain following rupture of an aneurysm.
  • Linda Van Horn of iShare Medical, which is taking on the herculean task of using tech to produce crade-to-grave medical records that can follow patients from one doctor’s office or hospital to another with a seamless medical history.
  • Stephen Hardy of mySidewalk, a company that helps policy-makers and public officials access more and better data to drive decisions about spending on local initiatives, and the returns on those public investments.

    This is the second Techweek event to be held in Kansas City, with officials from the organization hoping to top last year’s estimated attendance of more than 5,000.