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Digital Sandbox KC wraps up 2018 investments by funding 3 new projects

Digital Sandbox KC, a proof-of-concept program, wrapped up 2018 by adding three new companies selected for Sandbox project funding, including one from the Energy Sandbox, sponsored by Evergy Ventures (formerly GXP Investments). Digital Sandbox KC is a proof-of-concept program that significantly and rapidly moves early-stage entrepreneurs from concept to commercialization. It is a unique collaboration…

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Digital Sandbox KC, a proof-of-concept program, wrapped up 2018 by adding three new companies selected for Sandbox project funding, including one from the Energy Sandbox, sponsored by Evergy Ventures (formerly GXP Investments).

Digital Sandbox KC is a proof-of-concept program that significantly and rapidly moves early-stage entrepreneurs from concept to commercialization. It is a unique collaboration among private, public, university/research and philanthropic organizations.

“It’s hard to believe we finished our fifth year for the program and have provided project funding to 111 regional startups,” said Jeff Shackelford, executive director of Digital Sandbox KC. “Our initial goal was to find 10 early-stage concepts that had high-growth potential and help them secure follow-on funding. We’ve now had 76 sandbox companies secure over $68 million in funding and have created more than 600 area jobs.”

The companies selected for support include:

Üdo is the only employee benefits platform that lets employers give employees more time in the day. Through app and web-based portals, members access a live 1:1 personal assistant who takes care of everyday tasks and urgent needs. Üdo assistants will find a contractor, doctor or salon, plan what’s for dinner, fill out school forms, call the cable company and more, giving employees more time to focus on what’s most important.

“Digital Sandbox KC funding and support will allow Üdo to build the mobile user interface that is essential to offering greater ease of use for our customers’ employees,” said founder Rhonda Dolan. “In the on-demand personal assistant space, ease of use and quality is everything.”

Erkios Systems has developed the first patented physical security ecosystem for network hardware. Fortifi, from Erkios Systems, is designed to prevent data theft by limiting port access from internal sources.

“This Digital Sandbox KC award is a major benefit, not just for Erkios Systems, but for the world,” said Ryan Sylvia, CTO, Erkios Systems “This will facilitate Erkios Systems to enhance and streamline its product offering to secure the Internet of Things devices that, until now, had no viable solutions.”

Blockchain Water is developing a single platform to manage the world’s water through artificial intelligence and blockchain technology. Currently, no computer platform can simulate every aspect of water management that includes drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and groundwater.

“Digital Sandbox KC funding is a very important validation and will help us move our platform to market at a much faster rate,” said founder, Elangovan Thevar. “Digital Sandbox KC provides great local support and other resources to propel our venture to the next stage and reach our goals. We are very excited to start our entrepreneurial journey.”

Growing a region of creative entrepreneurs

Shackleford said this latest group of Sandbox companies is a great example of the region’s creative entrepreneurs.

“From a personal assistant platform for employers to managing the world’s water supplies to network security, the range of concepts we continue to see presented to the Sandbox is incredible,” he said.

Digital Sandbox KC has worked with more than 575 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies across the Kansas City and St. Joseph region.

Based on August 2018 impact surveys, results for Digital Sandbox KC thus far have included:

  • more than $2 million in project funding
  • 111 proof-of-concept projects funded
  • more than 600 new jobs created with more than $14 million in payroll
  • $68.8 million in follow-on funding

Digital Sandbox KC reviews applications on a rolling basis, and evaluation/selection cycles run eight weeks. Funding may cover expenses for project consultants, legal support, equipment and other market validation, prototyping and beta testing needs.

Visit www.digitalsandboxkc.com to submit an idea and learn more about Sandbox programs.

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