Digital Sandbox KC Kicked Off 2015 with a Bang

Five New Projects Will Receive Funding

The Digital Sandbox KC was designed to help companies validate new concepts leading to new business starts and follow-on funding — and they are definitely living their mission.

Launched in February 2013 with a U.S. Commerce Department i6 challenge grant, Digital Sandbox is a highly successful proof-of-concept program that has worked with more than 300 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies across the metro area.

Their impressive results include:

  • 37 proof-of-concept projects funded for area startups
  • 23 new KC-based companies created
  • 27 companies have secured follow-on investment
  • $10.2 million in follow-on funding
  • 156 new jobs created, primarily in IT sales and marketing

And that number recently increased to include five new companies, which are receiving support for early-stage commercialization. Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC, said they want to ensure their continued growth.

“We’re excited to get 2015 off to a great start with an additional five companies receiving Sandbox funding,” said Shackleford. “We want to continue to build on the success we’ve had in helping to start new companies and create new jobs throughout the Kansas City region.”

The most recent companies approved for projects are:

Acre Designs LLC builds homes using new technologies, processes and materials to make homes more efficient, comfortable, intelligent and affordable. The company has reconsidered homes from the ground up, from size and function to aesthetics. Acre homes are 60 percent faster to build and cost up to 60 percent less than the average new home. Digital Sandbox KC support will help develop and validate the performance of the PassiveGeoX system, a key technology that helps homes improve energy performance.

Passel LLC has developed a web and mobile app that allows an individual to “follow” a group, team or business calendar. Appointments on different calendars are sent to a mobile calendar and automatically updated. Passel allows user to replace the classic “Refrigerator Calendar” with a solution that is up-to-date, on the go and always accurate. The project supported by Digital Sandbox KC is the development of a website, iPhone app and Android app.

PatientsVoices LLC™ uses specific, actionable patient feedback to address an emerging healthcare problem: how to improve clinical and financial results while improving the patient experience. Currently, the federal government adjusts Medicare payments based on patient satisfaction and quality ratings. Local hospitals lost, on average, $600,000 in Medicare payments during fiscal year 2014. PatientsVoices™ delivers specific feedback on the problems that patients encounter, providing needed information to hospitals to improve the patient experience. Funding from Digital Sandbox will be used to build the company’s HIPPA secure infrastructure and an enhanced dashboard.

Royal Loyal LLC is building a universal mobile app service that promotes store products on a weekly basis at gas stations, convenience stores and other retail locations. The Royal Loyal app will allow these businesses to reach their customers more effectively and at a more reasonable cost. The Digital Sandbox project will result in a more streamlined user experience for primary customers.

The Swapping Company provides a platform for online fashion resale stores, consignment stores and individuals to buy and sell, and tumble out to social media and other selling sites. This provides a one-stop marketplace to view what is available regardless of the location. Digital Sandbox will support development of the platform and its mobile app.

Digital Sandbox serves new innovation in information technology, which can include mobile apps, big data, software platforms, tangible products, hardware and health care IT. The maximum for project financing is approximately $25,000.

The selection committee consists of individuals who routinely evaluate businesses including representatives from corporate partners, local and angel groups or other investors, accelerators and incubators. Technology and industry market specialists also assist in evaluating the submissions.

Digital Sandbox KC recently raised continued funding from the Missouri Technology Corporation and new funding from the Kauffman Foundation and the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC.

Applications are taken on a rolling basis with no deadline. Applicants, whether chosen for financing or not, receive a response, as well as recommendations of suggested organizations with the Digital Sandbox ecosystem for possible support and development.

The advisory team meets and announces project selections on a quarterly basis.

Digital Sandbox can cover expenses for project consultants, market research, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs. For more information, visit Digital Sandbox KC.


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