Our 10 favorite Kansas startup stories of 2015


Wichita, Kansas.

Silicon Prairie News covers the tech startup scene across Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. Here are some of our favorite Kansas stories from this year:

1. Mycroft becomes Kansas’ “most successful Kickstarter campaign ever” (Lawrence)

Mycroft has positioned itself as “AI for Everyone,” an open source, Raspberry Pi 2 and Arduino alternative to devices like the Amazon Echo. They launched a Kickstarter campaign this summer to raise $99,000. They ended up raising over $127,000 in 30 days, by all accounts the most successful Kickstarter to date out of Kansas.

2. Fireshark’s immersive game theater is like laser tag—only way, way better (Wichita)

On April 15th, Fireshark Gaming opened to the public in Wichita. Kent Johnson, the founder, had to develop an entirely new gaming platform, which includes 10 Android tablets and 18 projectors all within a 32’x19′ room. Games last for 30 minutes, with up to 10 players.

3. C2FO’s $40 million raise will go to global expansion (Fairway)

Companies need access to cash in order to operate their business, but when banks are less willing to lend money, that can be a problem. Fairway-based C2FO provides a marketplace for invoices to be paid early, which is a win-win for buyers and suppliers. With their massive capital raise in 2015, C2FO is looking to take their billion-dollar marketplace global.

4. Recurrency operates in San Francisco and Wichita. Here’s why that’s an advantage. (Wichita)

Why choose between the Great Plains and the coast? Recurrency founders Johnathan George and Brian Alvey discuss the benefits of having operations in two different cities and how they are taking advantage of a truly global talent pool.

5. How Jack Wagnon launched ctel3 using partnerships, not capital (Topeka)

One of our favorite interviews of the year, Wagnon explains how he started his business management consulting company in Topeka after years away. “What I’m selling is what’s between my ears. My geography is irrelevant, quite frankly. No one cares about where we reside; they only care about solving problems.”

6. eDepoze secures $2.8 million in seed financing (Lawrence)

Law practice has seen major disruptions in recent years, as new technology has shortened the time and effort for traditional legal work. eDepoze, out of Lawrence, is another software platform that saves a lot of time during the “discovery” phase of legal cases. With veteran entrepreneur Thadd Hale as CEO, we think this is a company to watch.

7. Kickstarter Staff Pick: Wichita-based Filimin (Wichita)

Of all the products we’ve seen this year, Filimin is perhaps the most endearing. The Filimin lights are Internet-connected devices that you can share with people you love. With just a tap you can let people know you’re thinking about them. They raised over $50,000 on their successful Kickstarter campaign this spring, and the first batch is scheduled to ship in early 2016.

8. Django Birthday celebrates the popular framework that started in Lawrence (Lawrence)

Popular development framework Django celebrated its 10th year this year–and it all started in Lawrence, Kansas. Now used by brands like Pinterest and Instagram, the project was originally started by Simon Willison and Adrian Holovaty at the local Lawrence newspaper in 2005.

9. Athlete Network wants to revolutionize how you hire employees (Lenexa)

To call Athlete Network “LinkedIn for athletes” doesn’t really do justice to a revolutionary concept: hiring based on traits rather than skills. We may be looking at the future for how companies hire their best talent.

10. blooom raises $4 million in Series A, led by QED (Leawood)

Leawood-based blooom is leading a new trend in automated 401(k) management tools. After launching in 2014, the company has been gaining attention across the country. With a $50,000 Launch KC grant in September and a $4 million Series A in October, blooom is currently one of the most watched startups in the KC area.

Ryan Pendell is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.


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