A couple weeks ago, some of Kansas City’s biggest companies, its hometown university and favorite football team took the stage at KCnext‘s Reverse Pitch to woo entrepreneurs and startups with offers to collaborate. The year before, many of them had been on the same stage, selling their companies. This time, they were selling opportunities.
Now it’s up to entrepreneurs to take advantage.
H&R Block, DST, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Sprint and the Kansas City Chiefs each pitched for 10 minutes then took questions on products and services they solicited help for from tech entrepreneurs. Some of the pitches included the Chiefs wanting a solution to improve the parking experience—and more efficiently move 22,000 cars—at Arrowhead Stadium, DST wanting to understand how to tap into the new crowdfunding possibilities for businesses in relation to their work on mutual funds and Sprint (Pinsight Media+) looking for elegant solutions to mobile advertising.
“You’re getting to know exactly what it is they want,” KCnext president Ryan Weber told Silicon Prairie News. “Eight have responded to the pitches already, and one meeting has already happened.”
He said one of the applicants had previously worked for one of the pitch companies and had no idea it was open to working with startups.
Weber and all of the presenters expressed the same sentiments before and after the event: They want to be involved with the community and engage in productive conversations to can help both sides. After last year’s event, they realized the need to focus on tangible ways entrepreneurs could work with them, rather than marketing what they do.
With that, though, they say entrepreneurs should make sure to do all they can to come prepared for meetings and opportunities. Corporations hear from entrepreneurs with ideas all the time, but it’s possible to stick out from the masses.
“They need to have their story straight,” Kevin McGinnis told Silicon Prairie News. “And know what the corporation is looking for. Do the due diligence.”
For startups and entrepreneurs interested, the chance to respond to the pitches remains open, but Weber recommends doing so sooner than later. The companies will want to move forward quickly when an opportunity arrives.