KC Digital Sandbox off to big start


Kansas City’s Digital Sandbox has helped establish 23 new companies in less than two years, officials reported Tuesday.

Its role is to help those with concepts and ideas turn them into working operations.

And while Kansas City is no Silicon Valley, it does have advantages like high-speed Google fiber and a much lower cost of living and of business startup, officials reported to the mayor and city manager.

Jeff Shackleford, director of the sandbox that started 18 months ago, said it has provided some funding to help 37 potential startups.

Of those, 23 new companies were created, including 10 founded or co-founded by women-technology innovators, he said.

The sandbox funds some aspects of projects or helps them make connections that move them toward business creation.

It has helped 26 companies secure investment funding and raised $10.2 million in new, add-on investment, he reported.

The entire effort has created 154 new jobs and $1.6 million in sales from sandbox funded companies, he said.

Mayor Sly James asked, “how can we make it better?’

Shackleford said we need more technically skilled resources in the area, “that’s people who can write code.”

He added, “If we don’t feed the pipeline, we won’t have the deals.”

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