Kansas City is rising to become one of the most entrepreneurial cities in America

The Fountain Innovation Fund will increase the number and pace of investable, scalable firms by investing in the most promising early-stage firms, and providing them an accelerated pathway to success. The fund leverages tax-deductible donations to make those investments, and reinvests earnings back into this effort.

This approach creates a perpetual source of early-stage funding and an economic growth engine producing more scalable firms and quality jobs.

This is how we position Kansas City, and the region, to compete in the changing economy.

JOB CREATION WITH YOUR DONATION

The Fountain Innovation Fund accepts tax-deductible donations to make equity investments in promising early-stage companies across the region that are between proof of concept and commercialization.

While creating opportunities for donors to catalyze innovation and create jobs, the fund strengthens the investment pipeline across the region. Investment returns go back to the fund to be reinvested creating evergreen sustainability over time.


 

THE MODEL

The Midwest Seed Consortium, a bi-state economic development initiative, has secured federal dollars for fund administration and startup costs. The consortium includes the Enterprise Center in Johnson County, the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, KCSourceLink, OneKC for Women Alliance, The Kauffman Foundation, and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Built by the Consortium, the Fountain Innovation Fund’s goals are clear: to create jobs, to grow the regional economy, and to catalyze the success of other early-stage programs and funds. 

THE FOUNTAIN INNOVATION FUND

  • Capitalized with at least $5M in tax-deductible donations
  • Invests annually in 6-10 promising, early-stage
    companies
  • Provides portfolio companies operational assistance through existing Enterprise Center programs plus access to the networks and resources of the full
    consortium
  • Housed and managed at the Enterprise Center, where it will benefit from the expertise of Mid-America
    Angels and the Women’s Capital Connection.
    Accepts charitable donations via The Enterprise
    Center’s 501(c)(3) structure
  • Reinvests earnings and returns from investments, creating a sustainable “evergreen” source of funds for new ventures
  • Leverages successful models in Ohio, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin

 

THE PROBLEM

Kansas City, and the extended region, is falling behind peer cities in firm innovation, job growth, and other early-stage innovation metrics. Though the local early-stage capital market has evolved rapidly in the last few years, there is a notable gap in capital available for entrepreneurs between proof of concept and angel and institutional investors. 

At the far end of the continuum, you have experienced and robust angel networks, and several new venture funds just beyond that. At the beginning of the continuum, you have active proof-of-concept programs identifying promising high-potential, newly formed companies. But, between those points, very little funding exists to support market validation and customer acquisition. 

Many of Kansas City’s peer cities benefit from state and local government funding, corporate engagement, and private support which targets early-stage firm formation and job growth.

Our region, which lacks in large-scale government funding to support innovation, has no mechanism to bridge high potential companies from a proven concept through commercial viability. 

It is at this stage where a disproportionate number of companies entering the investment funnel see their development stall, or fail, due to a lack of capital. 

THE SOLUTION

The Fountain Innovation Fund provides promising startups a critical funding bridge between proof of concept and market validation, filling an investment void that regional governments and much of the current investment community, have not addressed. 

Using charitable donations and a model that has been successful in other regions, we invest in the most promising firms. This provides them critical time and resources to demonstrate commercial viability, and establish revenue. 

This new pathway will provide capital and wrap-around services to 6 to 10 companies each year, with an initial investment in the range of $50-100K. This injection of capital, plus mentoring guidance and education, will provide critical support, and accelerate the number of successful startups in the region. 

The Fountain Innovation Fund serves as a precursor to institutional and angel investment, providing line-of-sight and de-risking investment capital for regional angels and venture funds waiting to invest further along the continuum. 

The Fund positions Kansas City to compete, prosper and thrive in the ever-changing economy. 


 

YOU CAN GET INVOLVED TODAY

The Fountain Innovation Fund is an efficient philanthropic conduit for organizations, foundations, family offices and individuals who want to be part of seeding innovation and catalyzing job growth. 

 

For more information:

Maggie Kenefake
Managing Director
Fountain Innovation Fund
Office: 913-438-2282
mkenefake@ecjc.com


A community-wide effort powered by the Enterprise Center in Johnson County


 

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