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Ten Silicon Prairie startups to watch in 2012

In 2011, we did our best to keep a close eye on Silicon Prairie startups, covering entrepreneurs who dared to disrupt the established local marketplace, aimed to make the online shopping experience more social and dreamed of virtual town-halls that increased citizen participation.

Among the startups we covered, there were a few in each city that popped up more and more for either hitting a milestone or progressing on their business model. These include Xuba, MindMixer and SkyVu Entertainment in Omaha; Hudl in Lincoln, Neb.; T8 Webware in Cedar Falls, Iowa; Dwolla and Hatchlings in Des Moines; and Zaarly and Kickanotch in the Kanas City area.

As we prepare for the 12 months ahead and aim to keep an even closer eye on the action, we have posted in our office a long list of entrepreneurs and startups that are due coverage.

Today, I’ve distilled that list down to 10 that I predict will be the ones to watch most closely in 2012. My reasons for choosing 10 range from experienced entrepreneurs as founders to noteworthy investors behind them, or just an interesting product that could possibly disrupt an industry.

Here are 10 Silicon Prairie-based startups to watch in 2012 (all descriptions are from company websites):


Kansas City, Kan.

“Leap2 Navigator creates direct-to-web results for your search. It provides instant tabbed browsing, related terms and a wheel of category filters.”

Founders: Mike Farmer (co-founder)

Links: leap2.comCrunchBase, @Leap2Net, Facebook Page and SPN coverage



Marion, Iowa

“Syncbak is an internet TV company that delivers live, local programming as well as national and regional content.”

Founders: Jack Perry (@JackPerry_TV)

Links: syncbak.com, CrunchBase@SyncbakFacebook Page and SPN coverage



Iowa City, Iowa

“ActiveGrade is a standards-based gradebook [focused] on helping teachers provide their students with meaningful, effective feedback.”

Founders: Michal Eynon-Lynch (@AGMichal), Riley Lark (@RileyLark) and Dan Sweeney (@FloatingBoxes)

Links: activegrade.com@ActiveGrade and Facebook Page



Kansas City, Mo.

“Cognovant is a consumer informatics company specializing in mobile, personal health record technology.”

Founders: Joe Ketcherside, MD (@joeketch) and Stanley L. Pestotnik, MS, RPH

Links: cognovant.com and @Cognovant



Des Moines, Iowa

“Locusic is an internet radio service that lets you discover local music and gives bands free airplay in their community.”

Founders: Jake Kerber (@JakeKerber)

Links: locusic.com, @LocusicFacebook Page and SPN coverage



Omaha, Neb.

“VoterTide collects relevant, real-time data across the social and new media spectrum to measure how candidates are rising online.”

Founders: Jimmy Winter (@JimmyWinter), Gordon Whitten (@AceMan101) and Shannon Schlappi (@DramaClub)

Links: votertide.com, @VoterTideFacebook Page and SPN coverage



Columbia, Mo.

“Zapier is the simplest way to transfer data between the web applications you use every day.”

Founders: Bryan Helmig (@ByranHelmig), Wade Foster (@WadeFoster) and Mike Knoop (@MikeKnoop)

Links: zapier.com, @Zapier and Facebook Page


Front Flip

Overland Park, Kan.

“The Front Flip Customer Engagement Platform combines web and mobile technologies to help businesses connect with their customers in-store and out.”

Founders: Sean Beckner (@SeanBeckner), Matt Beckner (@MatthewBeckner), Bart Janssen (@BartJ78) and Chris Horsefield

Links: frontflip.com, @FrontFlipNews, Facebook Page and SPN coverage



Kansas City, Mo.

“LiveOn enables you to capture your life and share it with the ones you love.”

Founders: Jonathan Whistman (@JWhistman)

Links: liveon.com and SPN coverage


Sporting Innovations

Kansas City, Mo.

“Sporting Innovations, LP is focused on developing and deploying next-generation technology to support the sports and entertainment industry, as well as its patrons.”

Founders: Sporting Club

Links: sporting-innovations.com@SportingInnov, Facebook Page and SPN Coverage


Also, keep an eye on these five …


Silicon Prairie Map – For more startups based in the Silicon Praire, check out our Silicon Prairie Map (submission form).

*Disclosure: Silicon Prairie News co-founder Dusty Davidson is also involved with Layeredi.

Image credit: Photo by Josh More via Flickr.

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