LaunchKC finalists: Meet 13 tech startups vying for six $50K grants in rebooted competition

LaunchKC’s programming aims to create a stronger entrepreneurial framework in Kansas City by providing grants, networking opportunities, and business support to early-stage tech companies, according to organizers.

Markus Winkler/Unsplash
LaunchKC’s 2022 competitors: Jon Ruiz, EB Systems; Adam Roush, Jeff Wigh, and Justin Farrell, Bryght Labs; Risa Stein, SeeInMe; Dr. Shelley Cooper, Come On Now; Nikil Ragav, Invent XYZ; Jeff Blackwood, New Frontiers Mobile Diagnostics; Eliot Arnold, Moodspark; Chris Jones, MatchRite Care; and Dr. Brandy Archie, AskSAMIE; not pictured Air Traffic Awareness, DataAppraisal, Cios, and Glow Healthcare Staffing

A revived LaunchKC grants competition is set to return in mid-November with more than a dozen companies vying for $300,000 in non-dilutive funding. Finalists were announced Friday.

The 13 Kansas City companies selected to compete Nov. 15 were narrowed from more than 90 applicants, said Becca Castro, strategic initiatives manager at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri, which founded LaunchKC with the Downtown Council.

Finalists are next expected to participate in face-to-face interviews, which ultimately will lead to the selection of LaunchKC’s six winners for 2022. A reveal event is planned for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15 at J. Rieger & Co., as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week Kansas City.

RELATED: Here are 10 can’t-miss GEWKC events to add to your calendar, including LaunchKC’s grant celebration.

In addition to $50,000 each in grant funding for the six startups, winners are set to receive office space in downtown Kansas City for a year, quarterly programming, and other perks, Castro said.

Click here to register for the LaunchKC reveal event at J. Rieger.

Finalists for the LaunchKC competition include:

  • Air Traffic Awareness (Kashif Hasnie, Tonderai Kambarami, Merwan Abdelmajeed, Cameron Knight), Kansas City, Missouri — Provides an in-flight streamlined user-interface for pilots to prevent any risk of collision. Its app uses patent pending technology, combined with the newly mandated ADS-B technology to display aircraft in real-time on your mobile device — all without wifi, radar, or expensive equipment.
  • Ask SAMIE (Dr. Brandy Archie), Kansas City, Missouri — The app builds a curated digital cart of adaptive equipment for patients recovering from significant health events or medical procedures, taking into account their specific physical needs and environmental constraints. (Click here to read more about AskSAMIE’s recent success at the Pure Pitch Rally.)
  • Bryght Labs (Jeff Wigh, Adam Roush, Justin Farrell), Olathe, Kansas — A connected gaming startup led by a team of tech-enthusiasts and innovators with 48 combined years of experience in consumer tech. Its mission is to make STEM-focused games more approachable. Its first product is ChessUp.
  • Cios (Terry Wang), Toronto — An online platform that makes renting easy by matching renters with their ideal rental based on their budget, needs, and preferences — no work required.
  • DataAppraisal (Tam Tran, Roger Ngo), Overland Park, Kansas — Unlocking enterprise data’s monetary value — using an automated proprietary approach — to allow companies to monetize their enterprise data assets.
  • Diversity Telehealth (Dr. Shelley Cooper), Kansas City, Missouri — Uses its core product, Come On Now, to connect patients to doctors in a safe and convenient way. This gives consumers access to the right information, resources and tools to help them make the best medical and financial decisions for themselves and their families in a simplified, seamless experience. (Click here to learn about Come On Now’s recent appearance on stage with LaunchKC’s Social Venture Studio.)
  • EB Systems (Brendan Waters, Jon Ruiz), Kansas City, Missouri — An industry leader in mobile apps, Bluetooth technology, and proprietary Beacon Reader technology that help to drive the “Internet of Things” (IoT) industry for a range of industries and clients. 
  • Glow Healthcare Staffing Inc. (Rebecca Potucek, Rachel Potucek), North Kansas City, Missouri — On a mission to help healthcare workers and facilities partner together for outstanding patient care, Glow Healthcare Staffing is ready to walk with you every step of the way for better schedule options and flexible terms.
  • Invent XYZ (Nikil Ragav), Kansas City, Missouri — Helps high schools and architects prepare students with cutting-edge hands-on skills for the future by integrating real-world STEM and CS into every core high school course. (Click here to read more about Ragav’s reasons for relocating Invent XYC from Pennsylvania to KCMO.)
  • MatchRite Care (Christopher Jones), Kansas City, Missouri — An integrated app built using FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) standards to allow and promote accessibility (mobile and cloud), medical device integration and custom workflow in addition to streamlining patient care while significantly reducing the cost to patients and providers.
  • Moodspark (Eliot Arnold), Kansas City, Kansas — The world’s first mood-improving digital companion. Its product detects sadness and uplifts with conversation, memories and video visits from friends and family.
  • New Frontiers Mobile Diagnostics (Jeff Blackwood), Kansas City, Missouri — Works in local communities with diagnostic medical services designed specifically for rural, senior, and patients with disabilities. (Click here to check out Startland News’ 2022 Kansas City Venture Capital-Backed Companies Report, which newly features New Frontiers Mobile Diagnostics this year.)
  • SeeInMe (Risa Stein), Lee’s Summit, Missouri — A digital platform intended to ensure those who love, serve, and work with individuals with disabilities can advocate for and relate to them on a personal level.

2018 LaunchKC winners

The Nov. 15 LaunchKC grants event marks the popular program’s return after a four-year hiatus. Its most recent competition was organized at Union Station during Techweek 2018, although LaunchKC has since powered numerous accelerator programs — across a variety of industry verticals — throughout the community.

RELATED: LaunchKC shines spotlight on founders as first social venture studio cohort takes the stage

LaunchKC’s programming aims to create a stronger entrepreneurial framework in Kansas City by providing grants, networking opportunities, and business support to early-stage tech companies, according to organizers.

“We know that a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem is vital to any successful city,” said Jim Erickson, director of strategic initiatives for EDCKC, in a summer announcement of the grants competition’s return. “Right now Kansas City needs to do more in this space and that is why LaunchKC is happy to take a leading role to provide much needed support to grow today’s early stage companies into the next  generation of major employers for KC.”

The relaunch is powered, in part, by unspecified funding from the Missouri Technology Corporation, first announced in March.

RELATED: Federal funds will power MTC investments in Missouri companies for the next 8 years; here’s how your startup can apply


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