A plaque commemorates the first round of LaunchKC grants, given out in September 2015 at TechWeek Kansas City. | Courtesy of LaunchKC/Facebook

SXSW event to showcase Kansas City startups, tech



Kansas City’s technology startup scene will be on display Sunday at the annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. The “KC Outpost” will showcase emerging Kansas City companies, trends and brands for a national and international audience.

The showcase is being organized by LaunchKC, a Kansas City-based nonprofit seeking to attract tech entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses to Kansas City, with sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Kansas City foundation focused on entrepreneurship and education. The interactive festival at South by Southwest, or SXSW, started Friday and runs through Tuesday.

“The KC Outpost and partnership with TechCo provides the platform to not only promote LaunchKC, but also the Kansas City community and all we have to offer a business,” said Drew Solomon, senior vice president of business development at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City. “We continue to demonstrate why we feel Kansas City is a great place to start and grow the next venture.”

The event will kick off with a presentation on the state of entrepreneurship and venture capital by Arnobio Morelix, a research analyst at the Kauffman Foundation. Later, Tech Co. Media, a media and events organization, will host a startup pitch competition.

The day will mark the official kickoff of the application process for LaunchKC’s 2017 grant competition.

Through a competitive application process that culminates at Techweek Kansas City in September, LaunchKC will award eight grants worth $50,000 and one worth $100,000 to tech startups that are based in or willing to relocate to Kansas City. The winners also receive free office space for a year in downtown Kansas City. 

“The entrepreneurial culture in Kansas City is the strongest I’ve seen in nearly two decades,” said Tim Cowden, president and CEO, Kansas City Area Development Council. “The work that LaunchKC is doing to bring in entrepreneurial talent from around the world is one reason our region has become a draw for innovation and startup investment.”

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