The Newest Startups to Net Early-Stage Project Funding from Digital Sandbox KC

The Newest Startups to Net Early-Stage Project Funding from Digital Sandbox KC

Digital Sandbox KC completed its fourth-quarter application cycle by adding three new companies to its roster, continuing its commitment to bring innovative ideas in the Kansas City region to life by providing vital early-stage funding to help startups pioneer new solutions and create opportunities.

“After a year marked by a unique set of circumstances, we are honored to have been able to provide a much-needed boost to three early-stage companies,” said Jill Meyer, senior director of the Technology Venture Studio at the UMKC Innovation Center.

Since its inception in 2013, the Sandbox has provided project development funding for 140 area startups, which has spurred an astounding $123,270,821 in total follow-on funding.

“In 2021 and beyond, startups with high-growth potential will play a critical role in driving our economy forward,” Meyer said. “Kansas City is in need of even more innovative ideas and solutions to combat the many challenges in our current environment. Providing funding at this critical stage ensures that early-stage companies can test their ideas, generate revenue and begin to scale—leading to job creation and a more vibrant economy.”

Digital Sandbox KC is a proof-of-concept program that significantly and rapidly moves early-stage entrepreneurs from concept to commercialization. It is a unique collaboration among private, public, university/research and philanthropic organizations.

Two companies based in Kansas City, Missouri, as well as one based in Olathe, Kansas, were selected for funding support this quarter. Together, they reflect the brilliance and innovation that’s typical of Sandbox companies.

“The latest additions to the Sandbox are building technologies ranging from an automatic bill-splitting solution to AI-powered media processing technology to a sales-tech platform that creates revenue-generating conversations for businesses—showcasing the breadth of technologies that will drive the Kansas City region forward,” Meyer said.

3 newest companies selected for Digital Sandbox KC support

Digital Sandbox Kansas City Q4 2021 Awardees 

Olathe, Kansas

Founders and leadership: Brad Starnes, Joe Allen, Nolan McMichael

Splitsy is a patent-pending mobile application that allows users to automatically split large shared bills without the need for P2P transferring services. Splitsy solves this problem through intuitive software unlike any other available on the market today.

“Digital Sandbox KC is exactly what we needed to jump-start our business,” said Splitsy President and co-founder Brad Starnes. “We could not thank the Sandbox enough for the opportunity to be in a position to dominate our market quickly and efficiently.”

Audo AI

Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Matthew Scholefield, Michael Nguyen

Audo AI is bringing state-of-the-art artificial intelligence to the media processing industry through simple-to-use, powerful, developer-facing application programming interfaces. Audo AI APIs will radically improve every stage in digital media processing, from capturing and enhancing to editing and distribution, empowering businesses to create amazing new experiences.

“With funding from Digital Sandbox Kansas City, we’ll be able to drastically reduce our time to market by offloading front-end development work for our MVP,” said Michael Nguyen, CEO of Audo AI.


Kansas City, Missouri

Founders and leadership: Scott Hansen, Grayson Kuhns, John Moses, Landon Young

LeadSigma is a sales-tech platform that plugs leaky sales funnels by connecting online forms (websites, landing pages and/or digital lead forms) to business phones. By giving the business an actionable game plan for future follow-up activities, LeadSigma creates revenue-generating conversations with new customers in a matter of seconds and ensures that businesses know exactly when and how each sales follow-up action happens.

“LeadSigma is relentlessly pursuing its mission to drive revenue growth and create incredible customer experiences by empowering SME’s with powerful, useful and turn-key tools,” said Scott Hansen, LeadSigma CEO. “To accomplish this, our LeadSigma team has built a suite of popular integrations and connections for existing digital platforms and CRMs. With Digital Sandbox KC’s help, LeadSigma will continue expanding our list of integration partners, which will open previously untapped markets and fuel our continued growth.”

Digital Sandbox KC is honored to support these new awardees and is ready for new applications for its first-quarter cycle and virtual presentationsVisit for more information and to submit your idea.

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