SparkLabKC‘s first class of 10 startups will have 10 minutes to impress investors at its inaugural demo day August 23 at the National World War I Museum. It’ll also have the chance to hear from the leader of one of Missouri’s fastest-growing startups.
Launched May 29, the Kansas City-based early-stage accelerator provides up to $18,000 in seed capital, mentoring, free workspace and other advisory services during a 90-day program. For its demo day, SparkLabKC has gotten sponsorship support from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI), part of the University of Missouri. Kevin Fryer, SparkLabKC’s managing director, said the relationship will help bring investment opportunities to the table. It also helped bring Jim Spencer, founder of video news service Newsy, on as the keynote speaker. The journalism school works closely with Newsy, including having a number of students work part time for the startup. More and more, RJI sees the value technology can bring to journalism—it recently brought on a fellows class that was hard at work on a number of applications.
Fryer and his team are hoping to bring 150 to 200 investors into town, with a largely regional pull. Startups will present for 10 minutes, answer questions from the crowd, then have time afterward at tables to interact more with investors. He said the first year’s been a learning process, but a number of the startups have significant momentum. He couldn’t give specifics on deals, but mentioned several are in talks for deals.
“It’s been a lot more work than any of us had thought it would be,” Fryer told Silicon Prairie News. “But it’s also been a lot of fun.”
He said the accelerator is in the process of working through funding for year two of the program, but no dates have been set for its start. Investors interested in more information about demo day or attending should head to the “contact us” page on SparkLabKC’s website.
Credits: Fryer photo from LinkedIn.