The inaugural Techweek Kansas City, which organizers are billing as a weeklong celebration of technology and innovation, kicked off Monday and runs through the weekend. Techweek, run by a Chicago-based group, emerged in that city four years ago. It has since spread to Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and now Kansas City.
From Monday night’s official kickoff party through a hackathon and concert Saturday, the Techweek schedule is filled with events taking place across several different venues around downtown Kansas City.
Before heading out to any of them, brush up on some of the important names, faces and places to know at the first Techweek Kansas City.
Sporting Club, the group behind MLS franchise Sporting Kansas City, and Sporting Innovations, the stadium technology company founded by the same ownership group, will play a part in the week. Robb Heineman, the CEO of Sporting Club, Sporting Kansas City and Sporting Innovations, will deliver a talk Friday morning. Later that day, Sporting Innovations will join Kansas City architecture firm Populous in hosting an event on transforming the fan experience in sports.
The final round of the LaunchKC grant competition will feature 20 startups competing for 10 grants worth $50,000 apiece. Startups will deliver pitches on Friday morning and learn the winners of the $50,000 grants — which also come with office space, mentorship and other professional services – later that afternoon.
The Sprint Accelerator, home of the Sprint Mobile Accelerator powered by Techstars, will offer open coworking all week, serving as a base camp for conversation, brainstorming or to catch up on the day’s work.
KC Live! in the Power & Light District will play host to the Techweek hiring fair on Thursday and free concerts by The Joy Formidable and White Panda on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively.
Sly James has served as the mayor of Kansas City since 2011, and was re-elected to a second term in April. James, who among other contributions to the city’s tech scene was a leading proponent of bringing Google Fiber to the area, will deliver a keynote Thursday morning.
Jonathan Badeen, a native of the Kansas City area, is a co-founder of dating app Tinder. He is both a programmer and a designer, and the brains behind the “swipe right” feature made popular by Tinder. He will speak Thursday afternoon.
Jim McKelvey is a St. Louis native and the co-founder of Square, a mobile payments company he started with Twitter co-founder and fellow St. Louisan Jack Dorsey. McKelvey, who also founded programming apprenticeship LaunchCode, will give a keynote speech Thursday evening.
Tiffanie Stanard is a serial entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of We are MENT, which is a wearable technology that focuses on women’s lifestyle with the goal of keeping women healthy, safe and entertained. Stanard will participate in a wearable technology panel on Friday morning.