‘We Still Have Work to Do’: Measuring Progress for Kansas City’s VC-Backed StartupsDavid Cawthon
Startland News recently celebrated its latest list of VC-backed companies and the entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports them. First, congratulations to all the companies that have attained this honor, especially those that are repeat honorees.
Back in 2015, KCSourceLink took a deep dive into the state of capital for early stage companies, and it wasn’t very pretty. There were significant gaps in the capital continuum, and entrepreneurs were asking the wrong people for the wrong money at the wrong time.
Since then, the community has embraced the challenge of creating a stronger capital landscape in KC. About half of the latest Startland News top VC-backed companies received funding from the early-stage capital sources that have been put in place. That was true last year as well: Companies that get that early-stage help are more likely to survive and get early-stage funding.
KCSourceLink tracks investments, investors and deals, all along the funding continuum.
Here’s what we know. Investments less than $100,000 are dropping. That’s a warning signal because we need to fund companies at the earliest stages so they can grow and position themselves for bigger investments and more growth. We need to fill the pipeline and support companies early in the continuum so they can survive the “valley of death” to gain traction and prove viability for later-stage investors.
Programs like Digital Sandbox KC and LaunchKC play a key role in financing early-stage companies, but they need support and funding every year to help provide that critical funding entrepreneurs need to move their ideas forward.
We need to keep up the momentum. Kansas City can become the financial hub for early-stage funding in the Midwest. We just need to get a little better organized and continue connecting entrepreneurs to the funding they need.
How can you help? Support early-stage programs. Connect entrepreneurs. Shop local.
- Be the last mile. Know Kansas City’s resources and be prepared to make a referral to KCSourceLink.
- Keep your community’s startup process in your back pocket; give it to someone who needs it.
- Improve someone’s social network; introduce them to a mentor, customer or investor.
- Attend, sponsor or convene a meetup.
- Celebrate an entrepreneur in your communications.
- Invest in the ideas and early-stage programs that shape future innovations.
If you’re looking for other types of funding (like microloans) or any other type of help with your business, no matter if you’re testing the waters or looking to grow skyward, the folks at KCSourceLink can connect you to the right resources that’ll help you move forward. Just call 816-235-6500 or tell us a bit about what you need here, and we’ll whip up your (free) Personal Action Plan to help you you reach that next (or first) milestone.