How I Spent My Summer in the Digital Sandbox
This summer, Digital Sandbox KC and Hallmark joined forces to present entrepreneurs with another round of Summer in the Sand.
We asked a couple of attendees to share their key takeaways from each session—and what that gleaned from their Summer in the Sand. Here’s what they had to say.
About the Series
Throughout July, August, and a smidge of September, five fun and educational sessions dug deep into the issues facing early-stage startups.
“Having been under the bubble of a large corporate environment for basically my entire career [35 years], I have to say that the Digital Sandbox “Summer in the Sand” series has been a real eye-opener for me on many levels. I had no concept of how vast and broad the landscape of entrepreneurial ventures and grassroot startups was in Kansas City.” - Eric Disney, LittleHoots
A panel of entrepreneurs from a variety of industries shared successful crowd funding experiences.
“Great to hear from actual recipients! It made me realize I do NOT have time at this moment for crowd funding. It was a good opportunity to meet the companies and pick their brains for suggestions.” - Jennifer Taylor, The Swapping Company
Early Funding Mechanisms
Angel investors, federal and state representatives talked about the types of funding available for qualified, young companies.
“How can it get any better? A seminar on funding from the funders themselves. Not many seminars offer the chance to meet and greet the people that are funding programs in KC, and you get one-on-one attention to speak to them after for individual questions.” - Jennifer Taylor, The Swapping Company
The Hallmark Innovation Team reported on industry trends and their findings from big tech conferences. Below, the slide deck.
Owned, Earned and Paid Media
Hallmark’s top marketing executive showed entrepreneurs how to balance media types and opportunities to get companies noticed.
“My favorite class! Amazing PowerPoint they showed that I am adding to my pitch deck. The way the three departments pitched on how they work together and the tools they use was very insightful. Not only did I learn some new ideas and how to manage and measure my media, but got some tools that are free that even Hallmark uses. Media can be complicated and they made it easy to understand and simplified their strategies for us to implement ourselves.” - Jennifer Taylor, The Swapping Company
Sandbox Evaluation Team Unplugged
The final session turned its shovels on the Digital Sandbox itself to discuss the types of projects that fit the Digital Sandbox KC funding criteria and what works (and doesn’t work) in presentation pitches.
“Another favorite....as I realized how much I have grown since I did my practice pitch in January. I have grown as person in my management skills and added confidence and irritated my company so much that I feel almost complete and ready to grow my business. I did not realize how much growth I have had since January with the help of Jeff, Rebecca, Jill, Denise and others. I am like a whole new company and a baby bird that is finally taking off from its nest after all these guys have pushed me out and given me help. It's amazing how much they all reach out to companies for advice, referrals and help if they don't fund you, if they fund you or after they fund you. The companies that I see that have been funded have a certain confidence and expertise and it’s a delight to watch them grow. It’s a great community! - Jennifer Taylor, The Swapping Company
“I feel like now I can truly offer a more educated and strategic point of view to the rest of the team as we move forward, putting on “new hats” as the need arises. I see it as a way of “rounding out” my own personal “re-branding” process from being an order-filling illustrator to becoming what my ‘new’ title describes—a Creative Strategist.” - Eric Disney, LittleHoots