LaunchKC, a global grants competition for tech entrepreneurs, ignited its 2016 competition on Monday at the South-by-Southwest Festival.
It marked the second consecutive SxSW conference to feature a spotlight on LaunchKC and the innovation space in Kansas City. The program and reception was sponsored by two of LaunchKC sponsors and partners, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Techweek.
Drew Solomon, chairman of the LaunchKC competition, said they were searching for the best and brightest startups or early stage technology businesses to apply and compete for $500,000 in grants.
“We want to help these entrepreneurs make their business dreams come true in Kansas City,” he said.
Solomon said the 90-day application window for this year’s LaunchKC competition begins April 1. Applicants will be competing for 10 $50,000 grants; free office space in the KC innovation space for one year; industry-specific mentor teams; and professional services, i.e., legal, financial, marketing, and more benefits.
LaunchKC was introduced at SxSW just a year ago. It went on to award $500,000 in grants to 10 tech entrepreneurs, during the first Techweek Kansas City conference last September, including: Blooom, Health ID, Integrated Roadways, KC Drone Company, Nodal Security, PopBookings, Pycno, Square Offs, Vertisense and VideoFizz.
About 500 applicants – 20 percent more than projected – from across the U.S. and eight nations around the world competed for the 10 grants in 2015.