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Nearly $500K in renewed MTC funding for LaunchKC expected to empower early-stage tech startups for years 

DATE POSTED:February 7, 2024

A popular entrepreneur support program is getting fresh funding from the State of Missouri to continue its competition for non-dilutive grants, along with offering winning companies office space, educational programs, and access to mentors.

LaunchKC, the non-profit initiative founded by the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri, (EDCKC) and Downtown Council is set to receive close to a half-million dollars ($165,000 per year) over the next three years from the Missouri Technology Corporation through its MOBEC (Missouri Building Entrepreneurial Capacity) grant program.

“This investment will help us propel the next generation of great brands and companies in Kansas City,” said Tommy Wilson, director of business development for the Downtown Council.

More than 110 tech companies have participated in LaunchKC since its founding in 2015, including such startups as Super Dispatch and Bungii, with the most recent winners announced in November during Global Entrepreneurship Week-Kansas City.

RELATED: LaunchKC awards $300K: Six new startups enter the winners’ circle with KC investments

“LaunchKC has been successful in attracting and keeping startups in the area, which has had a significant impact on the economy, including creating jobs and securing additional funding,” said Becca Castro, strategic initiatives manager for EDCKC and a key organizer of LaunchKC. “Entrepreneurship is truly a winning strategy for economic development and community vibrancy.” 

The nearly $500,000 grant award is part of more than $3 million in funding announced this week by MTC, including funds slated for Digital Sandbox KC at the UMKC Innovation Center, and Digital Health KC, an initiative launched by Bionexus KC.

RELATED: Digital Health KC awarded $311K grant with goal to add 70+ jobs, $6M+ in wages across region

Five other Missouri organizations — 39 North AgTech Innovation District (St. Louis); Missouri Innovation Center (Columbia); Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation (Cape Girardeau); Cortex (St. Louis);  Missouri State University’s efactory (Springfield) — also received grants through this week’s funding tranche. 

MTC also this week announced equity investments in seven Missouri startups through its IDEA Fund, including funds for a trio of Kansas City companies: backstitch, Foresight, and Likarda.

RELATED: MTC grant puts ‘cherry on top’ for KC startup closing its seed round; two more local companies earn MO funding

Tracey Lewis, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City (EDCKC), speaks in October 2023 at the Downtown KC Office Summit; photo by Taylor Wilmore, Startland News

Drawing from across LaunchKC’s programs, participating companies have created more than 950 jobs in Missouri and attracted more than $420 million in follow-on capital, according to organizers. In addition, 67 percent of all companies who have participated in LaunchKC programming are women and/or minority-led. 

“At EDCKC, we believe that today’s startups are tomorrow’s job creators and economic engines,” said Tracey Lewis, president and CEO of EDCKC. “It’s why one of our organization’s three main focus areas is dedicated to entrepreneurism.” 

RELATED: EDCKC boasts right team at the right time, CEO says as agency rebuilds its reputation

The EDCKC is a 501c4 agency that works to retain and grow local businesses, attract high-growth opportunity companies, support a vibrant entrepreneur ecosystem, and create real estate development opportunities, all to ensure a vibrant community and growing, self-sustaining economy.

The post Nearly $500K in renewed MTC funding for LaunchKC expected to empower early-stage tech startups for years  appeared first on Startland News.