FAQs ABOUT SparkLabKC
What is SparkLabKC?
We are a business accelerator. Our mission is to support early-stage technology business startups using a proven seed-stage, mentorship-driven accelerator program that is adapted to the Kansas City region. SparkLabKC also builds on public-private partnerships and the strengths of the region’s vast entrepreneurial community to bridge the experience gap and capital gap for early-stage startup companies.
How is SparkLabKC different from other business incubators in the region? It seems there are a lot of similar initiatives in our region.
Our key point of difference is our focus on early-stage technology business startups working in industries that are driving the Kansas City region’s economy. Our accelerator uses a seed-stage, mentorship-driven accelerator program adapted to the Kansas City region.
The program provides: an in-residence, 90-day boot camp; up to $18,000 in seed capital; legal, accounting, financial and human resources advisory services; free workspace; and a pool of more than 80 mentors who are seasoned entrepreneurs and successful business leaders. The 10 startups selected for the program also present their prototypes to investors during a formal demo day.
What sorts of companies does SparkLabKC fund?
We focus on early-stage technology startups working in industries that are driving the Kansas City region’s economy such as telecommunications, engineering, health care, agriculture and energy. Technology startups include Internet-based companies, as well as technology companies with tangible products. Our goal is to attract promising startups from across the region – from Columbia to Manhattan and from Springfield to Omaha.
How does the SparkLabKC program work?
We’ll accept applications a www.SparkLabKC.com from October 7 until December 1, 2013, and then we’ll select 10 startup companies to participate:
- We focus on early-stage Internet startup companies.
- Company size is limited to 2-4 founders.
- Each company must have one experienced coder.
- Each company gets seed capital of $6,000 per founder with a maximum investment of $18,000.
SparkLabKC earns a 6% interest in each participating company in return for the program services.
SparkLabKC companies will go to work on January 13, 2014:
- Month one is heavy mentoring to help refine business and product strategy.
- Month two is product focused with work on prototype development.
- Month three focuses on refining the prototype pitch for Demo Day.
- April 11, 2014 is Demo Day when each company presents its prototype product to angel investors and venture capitalists.
Who are the SparkLabKC mentors?
Startups chosen for our program will have access to more than 80 mentors from virtually every industry. These are some of the most experienced business mentors in the Kansas City region – mentors with Internet startup experience; mentors from major corporations; and mentors from universities including the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the University of Kansas, and the University of Missouri.
Throughout the program, we will have presentations from successful entrepreneurs from Kansas City and across the country.
SparkLabKC mentors will also go deep into each company and will leverage their knowledge and connections to open doors that will accelerate success.
Who is working with SparkLabKC?
We are working with the following sponsors and partners. They are providing services that are key to the program’s success and will help create companies and jobs, and contribute to the Kansas City region’s vibrant startup community.
- DST Systems, Inc.
- Polsinelli Shughart
- Meara. Welch. Browne.
- Mid-America Angels Investments, LLC
- Missouri Bank
- OpenAir Equity Partners
- HR On-Call Solutions
- Rockhurst University
- University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center
- University of Kansas
- University of Missouri
Who is behind SparkLabKC?
Our founders include five experienced entrepreneurs, four from Kansas City and one from Silicon Valley:
- Kevin Fryer is the Managing Director of SparkLabKC. He is from Kansas City and has extensive experience in the management of growing businesses, from startups to Fortune 100 companies.
- Don Hutchison is an advisor and angel investor from Silicon Valley. His specialties include: product marketing, distribution strategies, revenue generation, financing, organizational structure and leadership guidance.
- Vincent “Ace” Wagner is from Kansas City. He is an experienced investor and mentor/coach to late-stage startup businesses. Current engagements include: large-scale electricity storage; advanced carburetion systems; organic farming; and electronic process technology.
- Mike Laddin is CEO and founder of LeaderPoint in Kansas City. His company provides general management and leadership development courses to more than 700 firms.
- Al Eidson is from Kansas City and has founded and led two marketing companies, including his current firm, Eidson & Partners, Inc., which focuses on new product strategies and introductions.