Digital Sandbox KC, a public/private partnership created to support high-potential business development of technology startups, said it has helped 19 early-stage companies raise $7 million in investments in its first year of operation.
The organization, developed by KCSourceLink and the UMKC Innovation Center, channels funds to startups to help with such needs as special projects, consulting fees or coding assistance, for example, rather than providing loans or equity investment in the startups.
“We can help lots of very early-stage businesses that may have a great idea but need specific resources to launch,” said Jeff Shackelford, Digital Sandbox director. “And our region’s largest companies like Sprint, Hallmark and Cerner are part of our program, giving our entrepreneurs access to invaluable knowledge and contacts.”
Digital Sandbox records show that it worked with more than 160 companies and funded projects for 37 area technology startups in its first year. Of those, 19 received continued funds. The companies now provide 125 jobs in the metro area.
Funding for Digital Sandbox came from a $1 million federal grant matched by $500,000 from the Missouri Technology Corp. and local corporations, including Sprint, Hallmark, UMB, VML, Cerner, RareWire and SparkLabKC. It collaborates with a range of universities, economic development organizations, nonprofits and foundations.
The 37 companies receiving project funding in the first year were:
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