Proof-of-concept program Digital Sandbox KC announced on Tuesday that the organization has been awarded a $450,000 grant from The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, signaling a renewal of support from the foundation.
“Digital Sandbox KC plays a pivotal role in the Kansas City entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Erin Jenkins, program officer at Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “Working together creates an excellent opportunity to reduce barriers for early-stage companies.”
Digital Sandbox KC was also recently awarded a $500,000 MOBEC grant from the Missouri Technology Corporation, bringing their recent awards to a total of $950,000.
“We are proud to continue our partnership with Digital Sandbox KC to help innovative startups in the Kansas City area create good paying jobs, raise capital to fuel their growth and generate new revenue,” said Bill Anderson, executive director of the Missouri Technology Corporation.
Digital Sandbox KC’s mission is to help launch new businesses and assist them in securing add-on funding. Launched in 2013, Digital Sandbox KC provides proof-of-concept resources for the development of digital technologies within new and existing businesses.
To date, the Sandbox has worked with more than 600 entrepreneurs and helped create 46 new companies and 585 new jobs in Kansas City. Of the projects funded, 69 have secured more than $50 million in follow-on funding.
The investments ensure the program will continue to be the region’s leading provider of proof-of-concept support for early-stage, high-growth entrepreneurs.
“We’ve found that the Sandbox fills a critical gap for early-stage companies in Kansas City,” said Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC. “Support from the Kauffman Foundation, MTC and the surrounding communities allows us to continue to significantly increase the volume of high-growth potential startups, who in turn create more new jobs in the region.”
As of a February 2018 impact survey, Digital Sandbox KC has given $1.9 million in project funding to 100 early-stage startups.
Funding from the Sandbox may cover expenses for project consultants, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs up to $20,000 (previously $25,000).
“Our success is a direct result of the quality and quantity of entrepreneurs in Kansas City,” said Shackelford. “By capping the Sandbox project size at $20,000 we can support even more early-stage ideas and keep the program’s momentum growing.”
Since startup, the Sandbox has expanded into new areas and markets through partnerships with the cities of Olathe, Independence and St. Joseph.
In 2016, Digital Sandbox KC partnered with GXP Investments to launch the Energy Sandbox which provides project funding to entrepreneurs in Kansas and Missouri with energy-related concepts.
Digital Sandbox KC reviews applications on a rolling basis, and evaluation/selection cycles run eight weeks. Visit www.digitalsandboxkc.com to submit an idea and learn more about Sandbox programs.