MIT Innovation Competition

KCMO announces 2018 Innovation Partnership Program cohort

Kansas City, Mo., announced six partners for the 2018 Innovation Partnership Program in late July.

The program is in its fourth year and provides startups with the opportunity to develop a use case while allowing the city to explore, at no cost, how new technologies could improve city services.  

“The Innovation Partnership Program asks the startup community and the city to work together to find sustainable solutions to improve services for our residents and visitors,” Mayor Sly James said. “This is the exact type of collaboration that will ensure Kansas City continues to build on its momentum and become the world-class city we know it can be.”

Selected partners include Geospiza, DogSpot, Homebase, Gridics LLC, Snorkel and Dynamhex, which will work with a variety of city departments.

The test program runs 13 weeks, from Aug. 1 to Oct. 30. Partners will meet with the Office of Innovation and receive 20 hours of office space at City Hall weekly throughout the program. In October, the partners will present their technology services and discuss their pilot progress in a pitch to James and City Manager Troy Schulte, among others from city departments and the Kansas City Council.

Partners were selected based on criteria including the ability to support economic development and operations strategies.

About the partners

These are the IPP partners:

DogSpot, Chelsea Brownridge

City Department: Office of Innovation

DogSpot has a network of high-tech dog houses in the community, which can be rented by the minute. This allows dog owners to run errands with their pet, without having to tie them up outside. DogSpot houses are temperature-controlled, sanitized and equipped with a camera so that dog owners can monitor their pet. Placing DogSpot dog houses in downtown Kansas City could make the city more dog-friendly and increase the potential revenue of area businesses.

Dynamhex, Sunny Sanwar

City Partner: General Services

Dynamhex is a data analytics software for municipal energy usage from both an economic cost and an environmental sustainability standpoint. Its technology product visualizes complex energy consumption patterns geographically on a dashboard for government officials. This allows municipal leaders to make data-driven decisions and target areas of energy waste and inefficiencies. The management of organizational level and regional level energy usage is helpful for measuring energy and emission performance and saving money.

Geospiza, Sarah Tuneberg

City Department: Public Safety

Geospiza is a company that uses data to enable cities to better prepare for and respond to crises through assessment of multiple data streams. These allow communities to identify where more difficult rescue and recovery operations may occur, which allows for better deployment of public safety resources.

It provides emergency managers, city planners, and other key stakeholders with comprehensive insight into community vulnerability. Engaging in a pilot of Geospiza will enhance Kansas City’s emergency preparedness and reduce costs around data collection and analysis in emergency management.

Gridics, LLC, Felipe Azenha

City Department: City Planning

Gridics is a real estate technology company that has developed a zoning code software management platform that cities across the country have adopted. It developed a site-specific zoning application that helps cities manage, update and visualize zoning code in real time. This could help Kansas City write, test and visualize rezonings more easily and more effectively answer questions about land use and zoning.

Homebase, Blake Miller

City Department: Housing Services

Homebase is a Kansas City-based connected building solutions provider delivering connectivity, automation and community management solutions for property owners and managers of apartment communities. The company hosts a connected building management platform, which allows residents to experience modern and efficient living while making property management more seamless. With the use of WiFi and connected Smart Home devices, the platform allows users to pay rent, monitor utilities, report maintenance and more.

Homebase aims to develop a solution for affordable housing that helps bridge the digital divide.

Snorkel, Luke Ismert

City Partner: Water Services/Sewer

Snorkel is a software tool that helps city staff better allocate the city’s fat, oil and grease management resources and extend the life of its sewers. It allows city officials to identify which restaurants are equipped with grease traps, whether they maintain and pump their traps appropriately, and how poorly managed restaurant grease relates to broader systemic problems within the city’s sewer problems and maintenance program.

With this data, the city can more efficiently allocate restaurant inspection resources, ensure better compliance with ordinances and keep more fat, oil and grease out of the sewers, which saves money on maintenance and repair and extends the life of the city’s sewers.

Visit the city’s page to learn more about the Innovation Partnership Program.