LaunchKC on Wednesday announced the 20 tech entrepreneurs, including a dozen from the area, in the running for half a million dollars in grants. They will be in Kansas City in mid-September to compete for the grants during the Techweek KC conference.
The other finalists are from seven U.S. states and Santiago, Chile. Half will each get a $50,000 grant, awarded toward the end of the Sept. 14-20 tech conference. More than 20 local business and financial leaders had volunteered to narrow the field of nearly 500 applicants.
“We were looking for the best and brightest to compete in the LaunchKC grants competition,” said Drew Solomon, vice president of business and job development at the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City, who leads the LaunchKC grants competition. “We were very fortunate to have outstanding applicants who exceeded even our high expectations.”
Besides the $50,000 grants, the 10 winners will get 12 months of free office space in downtown Kansas City, mentors in their specific fields and opportunities to learn from business and entrepreneurship leaders in the region.
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The finalists, in alphabetical order, with principals and home cities:
▪ Alcohoot: Christopher Ayala, New York
▪ Appbase: Siddharth Kothari, Pittsburgh
▪ Blooom: Chris Costello, Overland Park
▪ CBG Technologies: Ben Rao, Lee’s Summit
▪ Edge Up Sports: Ilya Tabakh, Kansas City
▪ HealthID: Angelo Pitassi Jr., Cranston, R.I.
▪ Integrated Roadways: Tim Sylvester, Kansas City
▪ KC Drone Co.: Casey Adams, Kansas City
▪ LaborChart: Ben Schultz, Overland Park
▪ Loadlytics: Rashad Sanders, Boston
▪ Mobility Designed LLC: Liliana Younger, Roeland Park
▪ Nodal Security: Marcus Eagan, Detroit
▪ Ovatemp: Daniel Graf, Kansas City
▪ PopBookings: Erika Klotz, Kansas City
▪ Pycno: Nikita Gulin, Santiago, Chile
▪ SkillGravity: Alina Kharina, San Francisco
▪ SquareOffs: Jeffrey Rohr, Kansas City
▪ Ulytic: William Martin, Columbia
▪ Video Fizz: Laura Steward, Kearney
▪ Virtutecture: Tracy Ford, Lee’s Summit
LaunchKC, part of Mayor Sly James’ and the city’s efforts to promote entrepreneurship, has received support from the Missouri Technology Corp., the William T. Kemper Foundation, Burns & McDonnell, the Cordish Cos., DSI, the Downtown Council, the Economic Development Corp., Lead Bank, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, UMB Bank, J.E. Dunn Construction, DST Systems, Husch Blackwell, Kansas City Power & Light, Lathrop & Gage, Polsinelli LLC and other partners.