Kansas City Watch List 2019: Startups and Scaling Businesses

These are the ones to watch.

Why?  Because this group of growing Kansas City companies and startups are turning ideas, passions and dreams into great businesses.

Companies on the KCSourceLink Watch List received equity funding or grants in 2017 and 2018, or two investments or grants in 2018. For those of you playing along at home, we keep a rolling tally of companies that received funding in our monthly Show Me the Money series, along with other benchmarks that are helping Kansas City become America’s most entrepreneurial city.

New this year: We reached out to every company on this list for information about their biggest moves in 2018. (Note that the information comes straight from the companies.) Also, this list isn’t a ranking, but it does highlight some of KC’s stellar companies.

This list includes 14 new companies and 13 KCSourceLink Watch List veterans. One has appeared on our annual watch list six times in a row, and two others have been on five straight times—talk about a winning streak.

And, just FYI, many of these companies used the KCSourceLink network to help give them lift. They might’ve used the UMKC Small Business and Technology Development Center for help with SBIR grants. Several are alums of Digital Sandbox KC, ScaleUP! KC and Pipeline. Others worked with coaches and mentors in LEANLAB Education, UMKC Entrepreneurship Scholars, Kansas Small Business Development Center, Sprint Accelerator, Launch KC and the Missouri Technical Corporation.

And there are more organizations in Kansas City that helped these entrepreneurs and others. Explore the Resource Rail and see who can help you along your own entrepreneurial journey.

In Kansas City, the sky’s the limit, so when you see one of these KC companies take off, don’t say we didn’t tell you. They’re certainly going places.


Overland Park, Kansas

Founders and leadership: Ben Jackson; Harrison Proffitt

Bungii is an app that puts a pickup truck at your fingertips to help move, haul and deliver large items around town. The company has been compared to popular ridesharing apps, but instead of moving people, it moves people’s stuff.

In 2018, Bungii saw revenue grow over 500 percent over 2017. It opened four new markets: Atlanta, Baltimore, Miami and Washington, D.C. The company maintained a Net Promoter Score (that’s a fancy customer ranking) of 87; that’s 76 points above the industry average.

Cingulate Therapeutics LLC

Kansas City, Kansas

Founders and leadership: Shane J. Schaffer; Raul R. Silva; Matthew Brams; Louis G. Van Horn; Laurie A. Myers; Craig S. Gilgallon

Cingulate Therapeutics LLC is a privately held, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative new products with its proprietary Precision Timed Release™ platform technology that enables the formulation and manufacture of once-daily tablets with multi-modal drug release properties, with an initial focus on the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD. Cingulate is developing two proprietary, first-line stimulant medications for the treatment of ADHD intended to satisfy the unmet needs of children, adolescents and adults.

In July 2018, Cingulate secured a $7.5 million equity investment from Werth Family Investment Associates. The company has raised over $16 million. In 2018, it added several key members to its board of directors.

College Coaching Network

Overland Park, Kansas

Founders and leadership: Claude Harris; Aamir Peracha

College Coaching Network is an education technology company that focuses on helping students find scholarships for college. Its mobile platform trains student on three areas: scholarship searching, financial aid and college selection. The company says it wants to give students a social learning environment that teaches them how to navigate the college-planning process while avoiding excessive student loan debt.

College Coaching Network received $25,000 in project funding from Digital Sandbox KC and used it to develop its scholarship app. It has partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters, University Academy, AFL-CIO, Sallie Mae, Grandview C4 School District, Urban League, Urban Rangers and Youth Entrepreneurs, just to name a few.


Fast Democracy

Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Jill Kline; Anatolij Gelimson; Sara Baker

FastDemocracy empowers political professionals and newcomers alike to be informed and effective while advocating for policy change by providing advanced and actionable insights into state and federal legislation using data-driven analytics, legislative email updates, action alerts and collaborative communication tools.

In January 2018, the company launched a free, consumer-facing version of the FastDemocracy platform. Since then, the site has acquired more than 1,000 subscribers, including state legislators, large advocacy organizations, city governments and activists.

Also in 2018, FastDemocracy became part of Digital Sandbox KC and was a top prize winner at the Pure Pitch Rally.


Flow Forward Medical Inc.

Olathe, Kansas

Founders and leadership: F. Nicholas Franano; William P. Whitaker

Flow Forward Medical is a medical device company focused on enabling kidney failure patients to successfully receive life-saving hemodialysis treatment with fewer vascular access-related complications.

In 2018, the company raised $1.3 million in capital and won a $225,000 SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health. The company says it’s expecting the first human clinical trials in 2019.

Flow Forward Medical is no stranger to the KCSourceLink Watch List, making appearances in 2016 and 2018.

Genesis Systems LLC

Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: David J. Stuckenberg; Shannon B. Stuckenberg; Stephen M. Dupuis

Genesis Systems LLC is developing the next generation in unlimited sustainable water resource technology. The company says its product aims to transform the GDP of nations, while increasing economic, political and social stability where water is a constraining factor.


H3 Enterprise, Healthy Hip Hop

Kansas City, Missouri

Founder: Roy Scott

Healthy Hip Hop is an education technology platform powered by the arts and by social interaction. It produces educational programming with original music as a learning tool to help improve academic outcomes.

Healthy Hip Hop won the 2018 Regnier Institute Challenge and received a $20,000 first place prize. It also secured letters of intent with three school districts and raised half of a $500,000 seed round.

The company  appeared on the KCSourceLink Watch List in 2018.

> > > > The one thing these companies have in common is that they’ve leveraged resources to accelerate their growth: Digital Sandbox KC, Pipeline, LeanLab, ScaleUP! KC. What kind of help do you need to launch your idea or grow your business? Get your map for the journey here.


Heart To Heart Network LLC

Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Abhi Ray; Dr. Stan Edlavitch

Heart To Heart translates complex medical knowledge and pervasive mobile technology into a personalized, intelligent patient experience, easily managed by doctors and clinics. Its analytic engine tracks and provides targeted, engaging messages that have a real impact on the patient, while generating a wealth of data for the provider and researcher.


Lawrence, Kansas

Founders and leadership: Laird Forrest; Dr. Daniel Aires; Andrew Hansen

HylaPharm is a University of Kansas spinout developing innovative treatments for cancers in people and animals, including an injectable intra-tumor immunotherapy and an intra-tumor drug.

HylaPharm recently finished $750,000 in fundraising as a Kansas Angel Credit recipient. In its most recent six-dog pilot study, the first-generation immune depot drug induced responses in 67 percent of treated pet dogs with mast cell tumor, one of the most common canine cancers.

HylaPharm debuted on the KCSourceLink Watch List in 2015 has landed on the list every year since.

K12 Perform

Independence, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Brad MacLaughlin; Brett Simpson; Laura Gilchrist

Established in February of 2018, K12 Perform supports school districts to build leadership with human-centered innovations that yield growth in all areas of accountability.

In its first year, 17 different school districts and three education nonprofits engaged the company. The company says its first big break was Digital Sandbox KC funding for its tech. In 2018, K12 Perform was awarded a LEANLAB Education fellowship.


Olathe, Kansas

Founders and leadership: Andy Kallenbach; Chris Weber; Gavin Guest; Craig Hughey

LendingStandard’s commercial origination and underwriting platform offers a more efficient way to organize documentation and participants.

In 2018, the company closed an investment from Flyover Capital, strengthened its leadership team with successful startup talent and grew from 12 to 20 employees.

LendingStandard has landed on the KCSourceLink Watch List all six years.


Metactive Medical Inc.

Olathe, Kansas

Founders and leadership: F. Nicholas Franano; William P. Whitaker; Scott Wilson

Metactive Medical is a cardiovascular medical device company that develops novel products for prevention and treatment of stroke and life-threatening bleeding.

The company raised more than $2.6 million and won a $225,000 SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health. It expects a commercial launch of its first four peripheral vascular products in the first quarter of 2020.

Metactive Medical also appeared on the KCSourceLink Watch List in 2016 and 2018.

> > > > Want to explore more companies that’ve made past Watch Lists? Check out our lists for 2017 and 2018.


Mobility+Designed Inc.

Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Dan Alcazar; Max Younger; Liliana Younger

Mobility+Designed creates innovative crutches that deliver a radically improved end-user experience, among other benefits.

In 2018, the company had its initial closing of a Series A round, global sales in 49 states and over 20 countries. Mobility+Designed was even featured on the PBS TV show “Start Up.”

The company has appeared on the KCSourceLink Watch List every year since 2016.


Mycroft AI

Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Joshua Montgomery; Kris Adair; Steve Penrod; Nate Tomasi; Derick Schweppe

Mycroft AI is an open source, custom, private voice assistant. In 2018, the company closed a seed round and had its second Kickstarter success, among other milestones.

This is Mycroft’s third appearance on the KCSourceLink Watch List since 2017.


ORDP Powered by TicketRX LLC

Overland Park, Kansas

Founder: Bryan Shannon

ORDP Powered by TicketRX is a digital platform providing a one touch solution to connect attorneys with commercial motorists who have traffic violations. The brand is firmly focused on servicing the trucking industry and uses a mobile app and artificial intelligence to streamline the customer journey.

In early 2019, TicketRX was acquired by MSTS, a global payments and credit solutions provider, to disrupt the industry and offer a revolutionary approach to streamlining communications between attorneys and drivers, minimize pain points and innovate customer service within the industry. A new division ORDP Powered by TicketRX launched in 2019 with TicketRX CEO Bryan Shannon acting as managing director.


PatientsVoices LLC

North Kansas City, Missouri

Founder and leadership: Mary Kay O’Connor; Philip Duncan; Joseph St. Amand

PatientsVoices℠ is a data analytics company that derives metrics from what patients say about recent health care experiences, like survey comments, social media, etc. The company uses patients’ own words to identify improvement priorities. AI technology converts patient ideas into metrics and a road map for change—what problems to fix and the order in which to fix them. Three rounds of funding from the National Science Foundation have supported development of the company’s tech, the most recent being a Phase II SBIR; only 4 percent of all NSF applicants receive this award.

Children’s Mercy Hospitals renewed its contract with PatientsVoices for a third year, and the company completed its trial with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and started another with MedStar Health.

PatientsVoices also began scaling in the final quarter of 2018, received a $20,000 grant from the University of Kansas Medical Center and raised $150,000 in seed capital from the Jumpstart Foundry.


Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Scott Ford; David Bottoms; Steve Bosch

Pepper is a U.S.-based “internet of things” communications and service delivery platform focused on delivering custom-connected consumer services through enterprise partners. With its full-stack, end-to-end and turnkey approach, Pepper caters to global consumer electronics manufacturers, consumer brands and service providers that want to harness the benefits of IoT technology by delivering high-value and on-brand services to end-users. Pepper powers connected devices sold globally through 10,000 retail locations.

Pepper also appeared on the 2018 KCSourceLink Watch List.

PlanIT Impact Inc.

Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Dominique Davison; David Scheer

PlanIT Impact is a SaaS platform that uses machine learning to provide the most powerful, fast and easy-to-use building performance and cost assessments in the market.

In 2018, it hired key team members who are experts in the field, received two rounds of funding and achieved title of Most Innovative at the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo.

This is PlanIT Impact’s third year in a row on the KCSourceLink Watch List.


PowerPlus Cleaning Systems

Blue Springs, Missouri

Founder and leadership: Vince Barreto

PowerPlus Cleaning Systems developed a cleaning system that can improve heat transfer efficiency, reduce operational costs and minimize or eliminate costly unplanned outages on coal-fired, biomass and waste-to-energy boilers and other heat-transfer applications.

Founder Vince Barreto was accepted and successfully completed a comprehensive business management training program called ScaleUP! Kansas City. The company developed and filed for a patent for a new mobile pulse detonation cleaning system. It has also received project support from Digital Sandbox KC for a new and even more powerful design that’s expected to lead to another patent.



Merriam, Kansas

Founders and leadership: Bruce Ianni; Davyeon Ross

ShotTracker is a sensor-based technology that provides comprehensive real-time stats and analytics to players, coaches and fans in practice and live games. ShotTracker consists of a player sensor, a sensor integrated into the ball (Spalding, Wilson, Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, Baden and Molten) and court sensors placed in the arena. These sensors work together to provide data of the player and the ball in real time. ShotTracker also provides basketball statistics and analytics, including every stat in a box score in real time.

In 2018, ShotTracker partnered with the NCAA National Associations of Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame classic for the first-ever NCAA basketball games with tech on the bench. ShotTracker also has great customers, including the University of Kansas, Baylor University, Kansas State University, University of Kentucky, University of Oklahoma, Marquette University, University of Nebraska and many others.

ShotTracker has one of the longest streaks on the KCSourceLink Watch List, appearing five times in a row since 2015.


Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Graham Dodge; James Sajor; Michael Bel; Laurel Edelman

Sickweather is a global sickness forecasting platform that’s trusted by Fortune 500 companies in pharmaceutical industry, health care, human resources and advertising.

In 2018, the company raised nearly $1 million in crowdfunding, launched a pilot with Unum to predict sick days and hosted its first Cold Cough Flu Conference in Kansas City.


> > > > Wondering how you can advance entrepreneurship? See how We Create KC.

Site 1001

Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Cleve Adams; Pete Fiacco; Dipak Shah; Sage Osterfeld

Site 1001’s Skylight aims to create better places and smarter buildings by optimizing performance and operations through its AI-backed, big-data platform.

It was named one of BuiltWorld’s Top 50 Building Tech Companies, called one of the best tech startups of 2018 and won the 2019 High Tech Innovation Awards for Outstanding Emerging Technology Company in 2018.

Site 1001 returns to the KCSourceLink Watch List after it debuted on the list in 2018.


Slcket Inc.

Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Marquis Queen; Jeff Daniel; Gordon Snyder; Joy Broils; Lauren Robson

Slcket created a revolutionary technology company to give people complete control of their digital lives.

During the past two years, the company’s leadership team, employees and Slcket ambassadors have volunteered at over 200 events with many area nonprofit organizations. The company has raised funds for and built three makerspaces in local elementary schools in the Kansas City metro. It also opened its own development center.

Slcket first made the KCSourceLink Watch List in 2017.


Super Dispatch Inc.

Kansas City, Missouri

Founder and leadership: Bek Abdullayev; Far Chinberdiev; Ben Hubbard

Super Dispatch is an end-to-end technology platform for truckers and brokers to ship cars across the United States and the world.

In 2018, the company hired a COO, doubled its team, launched a new product (Electronic Logging Devices) to work in tandem with the existing product (Carrier Transportation Management System) and delivered 2 million cars through its system. In 2019, it plans to launch two new products.

Super Dispatch has been on the KCSourceLink Watch List three years in a row.


The TeleDentists

Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Maria Kunstadter; Michael Sigler; Gary Wald

The TeleDentists® is a 24/7/365 cloud-based dental consultation and referral system to treat and advise patients with urgent dental or oral care needs. The TeleDentists places virtual dentists in emergency rooms and health care clinics and connects them with essentially any internet-connected computer or mobile device, helping patients access a dentist and get immediate help for their dental care needs. The TeleDentists also adds virtual dentists in urgent-care centers, walk-in retail clinics, assisted living facilities, senior living centers, employer in-house health clinics and as an additional benefit for current telehealth companies.

Insights Magazine named The TeleDentists one of the 20 most disruptive health care companies of 2018. The company went national in July 2018.


Shawnee, Kansas

Founders and leadership: John Styers; Alan Fairless

Transportant provides school districts with the tools and technology to allow administrators, drivers, parents and students to better manage, measure and monitor their school bus experience.


Venture 360/LIQUIFI

Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Rachael Qualls; James Pierce; LeBraun Premo

LIQUIFI builds markets for trading private stock for companies of any size, including employee stock ownership plans, venture capital, real estate investment trusts and sports teams.

The company launched its custom enterprise solution for LIQUIFI, where it builds custom markets to suit the needs of large private companies.

The company also appeared on the KCSourceLink Watch List in 2014.

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