LaunchKC to introduce grants competition to SxSW tech festival

LaunchKC, the Downtown Kansas City-based grants competition for tech startup businesses, will kick off its 2017 application process at the annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW)  in Austin, Texas on Sunday.

This year, LaunchKC will provide the award for ‘Startup of the Year’ at Tech.Co Media’s annual startup night, which takes place after a presentation by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and company pitches at The KC Outpost event location in Downtown Austin. Husch Blackwell is the lead sponsor of this special kickoff event.

“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, chair of the LaunchKC grants competition and senior vice president of business development, Kansas City (Missouri) Economic Development Corporation. “We continue to demonstrate why we feel Kansas City is a great place to start and grow the next venture.”

Entrepreneurs can win up to $100,000 in funding and one year of free office space in Kansas City’s innovation district through LaunchKC.  Winners will be supported by LaunchKC’s coaching, mentoring and funding programs to help develop high growth, successful businesses in the Kansas City area. The deadline for applications is midnight, Friday, July 7, 2017.

“We are continuing to search for the best and brightest startups and early-stage technology businesses to apply and compete for grants and free office space,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council. “Our competition has drawn more than 400 applicants each year, and has funded successful startups that have gone on to raise millions in venture capital funding from Kansas City.”

The 2017 LaunchKC grant competition features a $500,000 grant pool awarded to the top nine applicants – one $100,000 grand prize grant recipient, and eight $50,000 grant winners. The top 20 finalists will attend the annual Techweek Kansas City conference on September 11-16, where a panel of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists will select the grant recipients on Sept. 15. Entrepreneurs can apply at

LaunchKC awarded grants in 2015 and 2016 to blooom, HealthID, Integrated Roadways, KC Drone Company, Nodal Security, PopBookings, IntelAg, Square Offs, Vertisense, VideoFizz, Big Bang, BLITAB, Consult US, FEWDM, Forest Devices, Labor Chart, Mobility Designed, Mycroft, Perfect Cube and Super Dispatch.

“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 start-up investment.”

LaunchKC focuses on business models in scalable, vertical sectors where Kansas City already has considerable expertise, including Advanced Manufacturing, Agriculture, Animal Health, Big Data, Cloud Services, Data Analytics, Financial Tech, Health Tech, Mobile and Real Estate.

LaunchKC is supported by public, private and philanthropic partners including the Missouri Technology Corporation, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the William T. Kemper Foundation, The Cordish Companies and UMB Bank. To learn more about LaunchKC sponsorships, visit