From Press Releases

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.

 

Voxello logo

Mid-America Angels invest in medical device startup Voxello

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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Angel Investor Capital Investment Portfolio Company Award

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

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

George Hansen

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

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

In its 20th year, ECJC makes big changes–inside and out

New brand identity, website and office location will help non-profit enhance capability to serve Kansas City’s entrepreneurial community

FAIRWAY, Kan. – (April 30, 2015) – The Enterprise Center in Johnson County (ECJC) revealed its new, updated brand identity and website this morning, following the organization’s relocation to 4220 Shawnee Mission Parkway. The ECJC is a non-profit organization, supported by funds from Johnson County, the State of Kansas 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 advisory services, a mentoring program, educational programs and connections to capital.

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Mid-America Angels investment network sets record pace in 2015

LENEXA, Kan. – (April 1, 2015) – The Mid-America Angels investment network (MAA) deployed over $870,000 in commercialization funding in Q1 of 2015. This puts MAA on pace to exceed the $2.3 million members of the network invested in six deals last year. MAA’s Q1 activity included a $696,000 investment in Olathe, Kan.-based TVAX Animal Health and a $178,000 investment, led by the Women’s Capital Connection, in Kansas City, Mo.-based Rawxies, a raw, vegan food product company.

“We’re proud to welcome two additional companies to our MAA portfolio, and look forward to working with the management teams of TVAX Animal Health and Rawxies to ensure both their continued growth and job growth in our region,” said George Hansen, President and CEO of the Enterprise Center of Johnson County (ECJC). The ECJC manages the Mid-America Angels network.

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Mid-America Angels investment network recaps 2014 success

LENEXA, Kan. – (January 26, 2015) – The Mid-America Angels (MAA) marked a successful year in 2014, closing a total of six investments. Since the beginning of last year, the MAA network has provided over $2.3 million in commercialization funding to area startups and high-growth businesses.
“We’re consistently thrilled to welcome companies to the MAA portfolio. We look forward to working with our newest additions, ClaimKit and Core23 BioBank, to continue growing revenue and creating quality jobs in the region,” said George Hansen, President and CEO of the Enterprise Center of Johnson County (ECJC). The ECJC manages the Mid-America Angels network. Read more

Mid-America Angels announces 57th investment

Lenexa, Kan. – (August 26, 2014) – The Mid-America Angels (MAA) recently closed a $360,000 investment in ClaimKit LLC, an Overland Park-based claim document management and review software company. The deal was syndicated, with an additional $200,000 investment coming from SeedStep Angels in Oklahoma and included participation from the Women’s Capital Connection. This puts ClaimKit within striking distance of meeting their $1 million objective. Read more

Angel Investor Capital Investment Portfolio Company Award

Mid-America Angels portfolio company EyeVerify selected as a winner of the 2014 Angel Capital Association Luis Villalobos Award

Lenexa, KS and Washington, D.C. – (March 28, 2014) – Mid-America Angels (MAA) is pleased to announce EyeVerify, a portfolio company since 2012, has received the 2014 Luis Villalobos Award, presented by the Angel Capital Association (ACA). The winner was announced at an awards dinner during the national ACA Summit in Washington, DC on Thursday, March 27th. Read more

ECJC client ImmunoGenetix announces Richard Ogden, PhD, as new head of Scientific Advisory Board

Lenexa Kan. Dr. Ogden joined Agouron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as a founding scientist at its inception in 1984, where he held positions of Group Leader of Medicinal Chemistry, Principal Scientist, and Senior Director of Scientific Development. He was a team member in the HIV project which led to the discovery and development of Nelfinavir (Viracept®).

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