Entrepreneurs in the Kansas City area will soon have a new way to fund a prototype — if they are in the energy sector.
Digital Sandbox KC is launching what it calls the Energy Sandbox, which aims to provide resources to early-stage entrepreneurs with ideas related to energy.
Energy Sandbox is backed by GXP Investments, affiliated with Great Plains Energy, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light.
The new incubator will follow the Digital Sandbox model. Launched in 2013, Digital Sandbox provides project funding for startup businesses so entrepreneurs can build a prototype. Digital Sandbox has funded 73 projects over the last three years.
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But Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC, is defining energy broadly to see what kind and how many ideas they receive. He hopes Energy Sandbox will attract a different group of entrepreneurs.
Applications open online on Friday.
The website says concepts might revolve around custom energy solutions, a microgrid, renewable energy, energy infrastructure and cybersecurity. Anyone in the Great Plains Energy service area, which encompasses western Missouri and eastern Kansas, can apply.
Shackelford said the idea for Energy Sandbox came from GXP Investments and the company then provided the capital needed for the launch. Energy Sandbox will fund projects up to $25,000.
“We believe the Energy Sandbox can drive innovative thinking in the energy space and further establish the Kansas City region as an entrepreneurial hub,” Dennis Odell, senior director at GXP Investments, said in a news release.
Shackelford hopes to see more corporations that have a stake in the energy sector get involved with Energy Sandbox.
Funding from Energy Sandbox could be applied to project consultants, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs, according to the news release.