Sprint Accelerator powered by Techstars wants more regional startups

The Kansas City accelerator hopes its wider scope will attract more Silicon Prairie startups beyond Kansas City. In 2016 the Kansas City Sprint Accelerator powered by Techstars will be expanding its niche from mobile health to mobile. But it doesn’t end there. “Not only are we looking for any startups with a strong mobile component, we’re also open…

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Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure joins colleagues Kevin McGinnis and Doug Dresslaer, Techstars' John Fein, Alisha Templeton, and the Sprint Accelerator class of 2015 at demo day June 4, 2015.

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure joins colleagues Kevin McGinnis and Doug Dresslaer, Techstars’ John Fein, Alisha Templeton, and the Sprint Accelerator class of 2015 at demo day June 4, 2015.

The Kansas City accelerator hopes its wider scope will attract more Silicon Prairie startups beyond Kansas City.

In 2016 the Kansas City Sprint Accelerator powered by Techstars will be expanding its niche from mobile health to mobile. But it doesn’t end there.

“Not only are we looking for any startups with a strong mobile component, we’re also open to hardware startups, IoT, wearables–and we’re also open to data analytics,” said John Fein, Managing Director of Techstars in Kansas City. “So it’s pretty much anything.”

In their first two years the program had startups from Kansas City and outside the region, but nothing from the Silicon Prairie at large.

“That was largely a function of the mobile health focus,” said Fein. “But this time around we’re so wide open. We’re really making an effort to reach out to not just Kansas City but Lincoln, Omaha, Des Moines as well.”

What Sprint wants

If Techstars is open for anything, what’s a good fit for them?

“Anything on the mobile side that Sprint is interested in,” said Fein. “They’re interested in digital services, in-home delivery of content, ecommerce, productivity apps, either consumer or enterprise,” said Fein.

There’s also a potential bonus for products that fit Sprint’s customer base.

“Sprint’s CEO wants to put startup products that come through Techstars programs into Sprint stores,” said Fein. “A really innovative IoT product is something Sprint is very interested in.”

More generally, Fein also sees animal health as a particular specialty for Kansas City area.

“One of the things we’ve got really good at as a region is animal health and ag. In both of our last two programs we had an animal health startup that relocated to Kansas City, specifically because of the amazing animal health network here,” said Fein.

Startups like Rex Animal Health and FitBark are two examples of Sprint Accelerator animal health startups that are gaining significant customer traction and investor interest.

Advice to applicants: Apply as soon as possible

The Sprint Accelerator is now halfway through its application cycle, and Fein says they are receiving significantly more applications than before. He expects that by the end of this round they will have 2-3 times more applicants than last year.

“We strongly recommend that anyone interested in applying applies now,” said Fein. “We get a crush of applications toward the deadline, and that means we can’t spend as much time with startups at the end.”

Applications for the Sprint Accelerator close on November 22nd. You can fill out the application here.

Ryan Pendell is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.

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