SparkLabKC Launches Accelerator for Kansas City Startups

A new accelerator called SparkLabKC is launching in Kansas City to help early stage Internet startups get off the ground. The program will provide 10 early stage companies across the region each year with seed capital, workspace, networking opportunities, and mentoring.

The full announcement is below:

New Kansas City Business Accelerator Targets Early-Stage Internet Startups

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Early-stage Internet startup companies will be able to get their ideas off the ground faster with a better chance to succeed going forward through a new business accelerator launched today in the Kansas City region.

SparkLabKC will support early-stage Internet startups using a proven business accelerator program adapted to the Kansas City region. The program also builds on public-private partnerships and the strengths of the region’s vast entrepreneurial community.

“Our accelerator solves the two fundamental problems for early-stage startup companies—the experience gap and the capital gap,” said Kevin Fryer, SparkLabKC managing director and Kansas City entrepreneur. “We provide a deep pool of mentors who are seasoned entrepreneurs as well as seed capital and access to investors. Startups that have been through this kind of program have a superior track record of generating new companies, new jobs and achieving a significant impact in their communities.”

SparkLabKC will select 10 early-stage Internet startup companies from across the region each year for a 90-day accelerator program that provides:

Seed capital of up to $18,000
More than 80 mentors with deep experience across virtually every industry
Free workspace
Legal, accounting, financial and human resources advisory services
A formal prototype demonstration day for potential investors
The program will focus on early-stage Internet startups working in industries that are driving the Kansas City regional economy such as telecommunications, engineering, health care, agriculture and energy.

“I have seen this approach generate some remarkable startup companies including Dropbox and Airbnb,” said Evan Conway president of OneLouder, a mobile app developer and SparkLabKC sponsor. “As an entrepreneur in the Internet space, I genuinely wish the many startups I have known could have had this advantage. This is a good day for startup companies in Kansas City.”

SparkLabKC’s mentors, sponsors and partners come from the public and private sectors, and provide the depth of resources, experience and knowledge needed to help startups on their path to success.

SparkLabKC sponsors and partners include:

Polsinelli Shughart
Meara. Welch. Browne.
Mid-America Angels
Missouri Bank
OneLouder
HR On-Call Solutions
MRIGlobal
University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center
University of Kansas Center for Technology Commercialization
University of Missouri

“Like many Kansas City corporations, MRIGlobal cultivates and celebrates an innovative spirit,” said Thomas M. Sack, Ph.D., senior vice president and director, Technical Operations, MRIGlobal. “We believe our organization and the Kansas City region will be enriched by associating with these promising technology startups and supporting their development.”

SparkLabKC is also intent on supporting and enhancing the region’s reputation as one of the fastest growing startup cities in the world (source: StartupDigest.com). Graduating SparkLabKC companies will be well equipped as they move into the market for the first time to benefit from organizations such as the Kauffman Foundation, the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program and the region’s many private and university programs.

“We are pleased to partner with SparkLabKC to accelerate the success of early-stage businesses through a proven accelerator model,” said Maria Meyers, Director KCSourceLink at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center. “It’s good to see another strong group has stepped forward to help make Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city by providing both funding and support to young companies.”

How the Program Works:

SparkLabKC will take applications at www.SparkLabKC.comfrom Feb.1 through March 31.

SparkLabKC will select 10 companies and the accelerator program will begin May 29.

SparkLabKC program timeline:

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.
Aug. 23 is Demo Day when each company presents its prototype product to Angel investors and venture capitalists.

About SparkLabKC: We are an early-stage Internet business accelerator based in Kanas City, Mo., created to help driven Midwestern entrepreneurs forge their ideas into successful companies. SparkLabKC selects 10 promising startups each year for a 90-day intense, in-residence, mentor-driven program that provides up to $18,000 in seed capital, business advisory services, free workspace and a formal demonstration day with potential investors. This is a proven accelerator program adapted to the Kansas City region. Our program builds on public-private partnerships and the strengths of the region’s vast entrepreneurial community. Startups that have been through this kind of program have a superior track record of generating new companies, new jobs and achieving a significant impact in their communities. For more information go to www.SparkLabKC.com.

About OneLouder: OneLouder is a leading mobile app developer focused on simplifying and organizing social content on mobile and tablet devices. The company has had more than 20 million downloads across its suite of apps including, TweetCaster, FriendCaster, 1Weather, CBS SportCaster, ChannelCaster, Slices, POWOW, BaconReader, Live 140, and Explore 140. For more information visit www.onelouder.com; follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

About MRIGlobal: MRIGlobal, a not-for-profit research and development organization, delivers global solutions in national security and defense, energy and environment, life and animal sciences, agriculture and food safety, and transportation. The organization performs scientific research, advanced engineering and program integration and management for clients in government, industry and academia.  Established in 1944 as Midwest Research Institute, MRIGlobal is based in Kansas City, Mo., operates in nine states and Washington, D.C., and manages more than 3,300 employees.

MRIGlobal is one of two partners in the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC, which manages and operates the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., for the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, visit www.mriglobal.org.

About the UMKC Innovation Center: From whiteboard to boardroom, the UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country. With a suite of high-impact programs, the center helps emerging and existing business owners hone their business basics, evaluate commercialization opportunities, and connect with the right resources at the right time. Innovation Center programs include the Small Business & Technology Development Center, Procurement Technical Assistance Center, U.S.SourceLink,  KCSourceLink, KCArtistLink, and MOSourceLink.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City: The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit www.umkc.edu. You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

CONTACT: Jennifer Fettchenhauer, Eidson & Partners, Inc., +1-816-474-0747, jennifer@eidsonandpartners.com

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