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Digital Sandbox KC receives renewed financial support

Digital Sandbox KC receives renewed financial support


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Recent investments lend proof that Digital Sandbox KC is working.

Digital Sandbox KC, a program providing proof-of-concept resources for new and existing businesses, received two recent grants totaling nearly $1 million.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation renewed its support for the program with $450,000, and the Missouri Technology Corp. awarded a $500,000 MOBEC grant.

“Digital Sandbox KC plays a pivotal role in the Kansas City entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Erin Jenkins, program officer at Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “Working together creates an excellent opportunity to reduce barriers for early-stage companies.”

Launched in 2013, Digital Sandbox KC’s mission is to help launch new businesses and assist them in securing add-on funding. The program helps businesses with market validation, prototyping and beta testing support for development of digital technologies.

To date, the Sandbox has worked with more than 600 entrepreneurs and helped create 46 new companies and 585 new jobs in Kansas City. Of the projects funded, 69 have secured more than $50 million in follow-on funding.

“We’ve found that the Sandbox fills a critical gap for early-stage companies in Kansas City,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “Support from the Kauffman Foundation, MTC and the surrounding communities allows us to continue to significantly increase the volume of high-growth potential startups, who in turn create more new jobs in the region.”

The program reviews applications on a rolling basis, and evaluation/selection cycles run eight weeks. Funding from the Sandbox may cover expenses for project consultants, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs up to $20,000.

The Sandbox has grown its footprint since launching — it now has partnerships with the cities of Olathe, Independence and St. Joseph. In addition, it partners with GXP Investments for its Energy Sandbox program, providing project funding to Kansas and Missouri entrepreneurs with energy-related concepts.

Results for Digital Sandbox KC as of February 2018 include:

  • $1.9 million in project funding for 100 early-stage startups
  • 46 new businesses created
  • More than 585 new jobs created with more than $14 million in payroll
  • $50 million in follow-on funding

Learn more and apply at DigitalSandboxKC.com.

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