KC Entrepreneurship Community Secures Federal Award to Kick-Off $5 Million Pre-Seed Fund

Area organizations collaborated on bi-state economic development proposal to raise and run new, charitable source of early-stage capital

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FAIRWAY, Kan. – (October 2, 2017) – The Enterprise Center in Johnson County (ECJC) announced today that it has secured the Economic Development Administration’s  (EDA) Seed Fund Support grant with the cooperation of a bi-state consortium of entrepreneurial and civic leaders. The group, which includes representatives of the ECJC, the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, KCSourceLink, the OneKCforWomen Alliance, the Kauffman Foundation, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and area investors, will use administrative funds provided by the grant to staff and raise a $5 million pre-seed fund.

“The seed capital crunch is one of the pervasive resource gaps limiting Kansas City’s entrepreneurial growth,” said Melissa Roberts, Vice President of Communications and Outreach at the Enterprise Center. “In launching this pre-seed fund and closing that gap, we are taking an important step towards our civic goal of becoming the most entrepreneurial city in America. The fact that this project has been undertaken by groups from both sides of the state line goes to show that our regional goals of spurring economic development, driving job creation and improving business dynamism are better served by building bridges than by border wars.”

A lack of pre-seed funding (defined as a round size of between $50,000 and $300,000) was identified as a key entrepreneurial resource gap by KCSourceLink’s 2015 WeCreate capital report. The new fund will seek to bridge that gap by taking a lead position in investments of up to $150,000, contingent on the procurement of 1:1 matching funds from co-investment partners. The program will also require that entrepreneurs receiving investments participate in educational and mentoring programs provided by the ECJC. The fund is expected to begin deploying capital in the first half of 2018.

The Region Innovation Strategies (RIS) Seed Fund Support grant is allocated annually by the EDA, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Another branch of the Regional Innovation Strategies program, the i6 innovation grant, helped create Kansas City’s Digital Sandbox program in 2014. The ECJC proposal was one of the 41 RIS awardees selected this year from amongst 217 applicants nationwide. Funding from the $150,000 federal grant will be earmarked to cover administrative expenses, and will not be used to capitalize the fund.

“The Trump Administration is committed to strengthening U.S. production and exports, which are essential to our nation’s economic growth,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These projects will enable entrepreneurs in communities across the United states to start new businesses, manufacture innovative products, and export them throughout the world – increasing America’s global competitiveness.”

The ECJC will seek to raise $5 million to capitalize the fund over the coming months; the fund’s founding donor may receive naming rights and a seat on the investment committee in exchange for their early support. The fund’s charitable structure ensures that all donors will receive a charitable tax deduction for their donations to the fund. Rather than disbursing exit proceeds to investors, proceeds will be used to re-capitalize the fund, creating an evergreen source of pre-seed capital for the region. In addition to the short-term benefit of receiving a charitable tax deduction, prospective investors will see a long-term charitable and economic impact through improved dealflow, better educated early-stage entrepreneurs and a more vibrant economy in the metro area as a result of the fund’s activity.

About the Enterprise Center in Johnson County

The Enterprise Center in Johnson County is a non-profit organization, supported by funds from Johnson County, philanthropic partners and private donors that helps connect entrepreneurs to the resources they need to grow and scale early-stage businesses. In addition to offering affordable, flexible co-working space, the ECJC also offers a mentoring program, educational programs and connections to early-stage capital through the Mid-America Angels investment network. The ECJC estimates the regional economic impact of ECJC-assisted companies as $3.2 billion over the past ten years. For more information, visit www.ecjc.com.

 

Mid-America Angels invest in medical device startup Voxello

Voxello logo

Local angel investors inject $287,000 to help medical device startup grow, shortly prior to receiving news of FDA clearance

FAIRWAY, Kan. – (February 20, 2017) – The Mid-America Angels investment network (MAA) announced a $287,000 investment in Voxello, an Iowa-based medical device company. The company’s primary product, called the noddleTM, is a pioneering solution that detects voluntary gestures in hospitalized patients who would otherwise be unable to communicate. Today, the company also announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance of the noddleTM .

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Mid-America Angel investor network and Women’s Capital Connection celebrate exit of portfolio company EyeVerify

Angel Investor Capital Investment Portfolio Company Award

Angel investor groups’ history of investment in EyeVerify and CEO Toby Rush pays off

Mid-America Angel investor network (MAA) portfolio company EyeVerify closed a nine-figure deal with Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, Ltd. on Monday. This is Ant Financial’s first U.S. acquisition. Read more

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Could this opportunity be your big break? Apply to present at InvestMidwest

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5 things the world can learn from KC entrepreneurs

kauffman

This post originally appeared in Startland News.

This week, entrepreneurship is king in Kansas City.

As we welcome the world to our burgeoning tech hub during Techweek, it’s tempting to think that Kansas City’s startup community is a new phenomenon. But in fact, the names of the city fathers (and mothers) — the Kauffmans, Kempers, Blochs and Helzbergs — that adorn almost every public space in town have entrepreneurial roots that run deep.

The UMKC Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, where the Enterprise Center will be holding our next Venture Lounge event, seeks to highlight this heritage. The Techweek schedule offered a tour of the facility, but if you haven’t yet had a chance to visit, here’s an accounting of the important values that entrepreneurs around the world can look to learn from Kansas City’s most successful entrepreneurs. Read more

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entrepreneur coworking space

This post originally appeared on Silicon Prairie News.

I often get asked about the role of a board of directors by both entrepreneurs and angels. I believe good boards can significantly and positively impact the growth of an early stage company.

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Google Analytics can provide business owners with a lot of valuable information—but sometimes, it can feel like a little too much! Have you ever wondered what reports you should be looking at to get the best picture of how your business is performing? Perhaps you’re not sure how to tell if the SEO, social media, email, or digital advertising campaigns are actually succeeding. Or, maybe you are more ROI focused, and simply want to better understand revenues from marketing. Read more

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Entrepreneur Resources and Entrepreneurship Education Brand

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Statement on the appointment of CEO George Hansen to secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce

George Hansen

The following statement may be attributed to:

Melissa Roberts – Marketing Director, Enterprise Center in Johnson County

“The Enterprise Center in Johnson County is proud to congratulate CEO George Hansen on his appointment to secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce and urges the Kansas State Senate to undertake a speedy confirmation process.” Read more