Leap and Found
Mike Farmer, Tyler VanWinkle, Andrew Lee, Mike Marley, Reza Heidari, Jaime Bellmeyer, Travis Williams + Brittain Kovan | Kansas City, KS | Innovation-Led
Leap.it is focused on literally reinventing Search. Visual results, curated search and sociability are helping it sculpt a new paradigm.
Folks are taking notice. LeapIt launched its latest and greatest search platform, http://leap.it, bringing forth its latest vision for search. And earlier this year, Leap2 closed a $1.1 million round with investors Brad Feld and AngelList syndicate, which followed last year’s $1.6 million round of funding led by Omaha’s Dundee Venture Capital.
Below, the team shares their origin story and why they choose to set up shop in Kansas City.
So how did it all begin?
Our story starts on the east coast in 2001 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Mike Farmer was pursuing a master’s degree in radical innovation. Graduating from that program brought Mike home to Kansas where he played a large role in developing the Kansas Economic Growth Act, and eventually landing him at a small search startup in Kansas City.
Mike met Tyler VanWinkle at that company and put Voice Search on a mobile device about 18 months before Google was able to launch it. That started a hunger that was hard to satisfy.
Fast forward to 2010. Mike was cultivating ideas in a co-working office in the River Market when he came across the idea that search, at its core, was due for serious innovation. Working on a limited amount of funding from family and friend, Mike assembled a team, and after buying in on the vision, they worked nights and weekends for almost a year and a half before getting a product to a point that they were able to raise their first round of real funding.
Bringing the team on full-time, and working through countless release cycles, Leap2 continued to see huge response both locally and nationally, from the front-page of the New York Times in 2012 to countless product reviews, a new product launch of http://leap.it at SXSW in 2014 and an investment from Brad Feld.
This small team of seasoned veterans from Kansas City continues to charge forward in its pursuit of innovation. We work tirelessly, our motivation comes from the hope of building amazing tech that can potentially make a difference and have an impact.
Who is helping you build your business?
Great people like: Brad Feld, Richard Chino and many locals have helped us forge our path.
What makes Kansas City a great place to start and grow a business?
Kansas City is our home. This is where we choose to be. The advantages of Kansas City for innovation is the lack of an echo chamber. There is no “Me Too” here. The team has been focused and turning out technology at an incredible rate.
How do YOU create Kansas City?
Tell us over at www.wecreatekc.com.